When one thinks about the entertainment business, they usually get stars in their eyes. They imagine becoming famous, standing on a stage and making millions laugh, recording a record-breaking and culture-defining album, or scoring the game-winning goal in front of a packed crowd.
But the fact of the matter is that the entertainment business is exactly that – a business. To operate, it involves not just the stars who get all the glory. Behind the scenes is a bevy of professionals, including producers, agents, accountants, and more.
One of the most important positions in the field is a lawyer. To work in the sports and entertainment fields, lawyers need more than just the standards of the profession. Sure, they need to have an understanding of rhetorical principles and an academic mind. But they also need to know the often complicated and always changing laws governing the industries.
For that reason, sports and entertainment law isn’t all fun and games. Students who want to go into the career field need to study hard at an accredited school.
Here are 10 of the best sports and entertainment law schools in the US.
Loyola Law School (Los Angeles, CA)
If you want to see evidence of Loyola Law School’s success, all you need to do is turn on your television. There, you can see people like Natale LeVeck and Jessica Kantor. Both LaVeck and Kantor have negotiated and drafted contracts that make blockbuster movies and hit television shows.
They learned how to do this complicated work while studying at Loyola Law.
Outlets such as the Hollywood Reporter and Variety have recognized Loyola Law for its ability to give students everything they need to succeed in the entertainment field. Thanks to a faculty of academics and legal experts, all of whom have real experience working in the entertainment industry, Loyola Law equips students with tools and experience.
Students leave ready to work in nearly every sector of the entertainment industry, including sports, music, and more.
Boston University School of Law (Boston, MA)
At the School of Law at Boston University, students have access to a wide array of courses for entertainment law and sports law.
Students in the program take courses covering the many fields encompassed by entertainment and sports law. They must gain an understanding of everything from intellectual property law to contract law to tax law and more.
Classes include topics such as free speech and the internet, contract drafting, and antitrust law.
Students do most of their work in the 100,000 square-foot Redstone Building, which includes a 17-story law tower. Within the tower, students will find Barristers Hall, Pappas Law Library, law journal offices, courtrooms, and more.
These buildings serve as the backdrop for students to learn from experts and academics filled with knowledge.
Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law (Malibu, CA)
At Pepperdine University’s Caruso School of Law, students gain the knowledge and training needed to work in the many aspects of entertainment law. The program encompasses all of the usual issues dealt with by entertainment lawyers, such as intellectual property law, labor and employment, bankruptcy, and more.
But it also gives students experience in more specialized issues, unique to 21st-century concerns.
Students meet these challenges while working in the Entertainment, Media & Sports Law (EMS) initiative. A forum for law students going into the sports, media, and entertainment field, the EMS initiative brings students into contact with experienced professionals. Together, they can address some of the most pressing concerns in the industry.
Students develop their education from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. Straus provides special speakers, externships, and conferences to increase their education.
UCLA School of Law (Los Angeles, CA)
As you would expect from a school located in the heart of the entertainment industry, the Ziffren Institute at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law gives students the unique training needed to become entertainment lawyers.
At the center of the program is a rich and varied curriculum. During their first year, students attend talks and meetings with executives from some of the biggest companies, including Microsoft and Warner Brothers. These meetings outline the challenges and opportunities of the field.
In year two, students take foundational classes covering the core elements of the subject, including entertainment law, patent law, film finance, and copyright. The second year also allows students to participate in externships with local talent agencies and production companies.
Students build on that experience in their third year. That’s when they gain hands-on experience working in campus programs, including the Documentary Film Legal Clinic, the Music Industry Clinic, and the Sports Law Federation.
With this multifaceted program, students gain access to every part of the entertainment law industry.
Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law (Villanova, PA)
Created thanks to a $5 million gift, the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, located within the Charles Widger School of Law at Villanova University, is one of the only American institutes focused on sports law.
With a combination of academic study, internship opportunities, and participation in an innovative program, the Center prepares graduates to meet the legal needs of amateur and professional sports organizations.
A key part of the Moorad Sports Law program is the law journal it houses. Within its pages, the journal examines some of the most essential questions about sports law. The Journal also hosts a symposium on current issues, such as concussions in sports, the roles of agents, and the effects of the media.
Students have the opportunity to test their skills and knowledge in the school’s annual Game Day Case Competition.
The only sports case competition of its kind, the debate takes a multidisciplinary approach, letting students analyze, present, and negotiate cases based on real-world incidents.
Harvard Law School (Cambridge, MA)
Given its outstanding reputation, it’s no surprise that Harvard Law School would appear on the list. For decades, the school has trained some of the most influential lawyers in the nation.
The school’s Entertainment Law Clinic and Recording Artists Project continue that tradition. Both programs provide legal assistance to those in the entertainment industry, from performers and artists to film companies and production companies to managers and agents.
While working in the program, students get hands-on experience in issues such as trademarks, business and band formation, contract drafting, and more.
These projects are all part of the school’s academic mission. In addition to providing the training to help students understand the practice of law, it also instills in them a desire to become reflective practitioners. Students learn how laws affect the everyday lives of their clients and society as a whole.
USC Gould School of Law (Los Angeles, CA)
Taking advantage of its proximity to major studios and the Southern California technology industry, the entertainment law concentration at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law is poised to train lawyers ready for the industry’s future.
With a faculty filled with expert practitioners, the entertainment concentration provides students with the many skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Thanks to its practice-oriented curriculum, the school gives students the legal problem-solving skills and business concepts required to handle some of the biggest clients in the nation.
Students can gain practical experience while serving in the school’s Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic or its Small Business Clinic. In both of these programs, students work directly with clients on real-world cases, handling everything from online music business creation to copyright law for a new filmmaker.
Yeshiva University Benjamin Cardozo School of Law (New York, NY)
For students at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, training comes through the FAME Center for fashion, art, media, and entertainment. Within the FAME Center, students gain unique training not only in law but also in the nature of the creative fields. Students become lawyers who respect not only the legal constraints of the business, but also the beauty and necessity of the arts.
That approach has made the Cardozo School a recognized leader in intellectual property and information law. As part of the program, students take courses on the theory and practical application of legal issues, including emerging technologies concerns, such as data and privacy.
The school offers students experience in several specialized clinics, such as the Filmmakers Legal Clinic, the Tech Startup Clinic, and the Cardozo-Google Patent Diversity Project.
Tulane University School of Law (New Orleans, LA)
For those interested in only sports law, it’s hard to get the program at Tulane University’s School of Law. The country’s first law school to offer certification in sports law, Tulane gives students the necessary academic and extracurricular training to handle the industry’s unique concerns.
This training includes studies in case law and legal history. But it goes far beyond the classroom as well. Students have ample opportunity to discuss and debate what they’ve learned, expanding the contours of sports law.
Students also have opportunities to produce and edit the legal journal of the Sports Lawyers Association, the Sports Law Journal. This experience exposes them to some of the most innovative work in the field.
Extracurricular activities include participation in the Tulane Sports Law Society. Within the program, students can experience and debate legal issues unique to the sports industry. They can participate in competitions involving topics such as baseball arbitration and football contract negotiation.
NYU School of Law (New York, NY)
In nearly every list of great legal programs, NYU’s school of law comes out on top, and there’s no exception for sports and entertainment law. The program earns this ranking thanks to the fifteen courses in entertainment law it offers, covering the most important issues in the field.
Beyond the classroom, students gain experience by working in the school’s Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law Society. A student-run organization, the Society promotes the study and practice of intellectual property law and entertainment law. The Society works across disciplines, breaking into four committees: Fashion Law, Tech Law, Entertainment Law, and Patent Law.
These committees each hold educational events and career panels to give their members networking opportunities and skills labs to improve their prospects.