The 4th Annual International Legal Symposium on the World of Music, Film, Television, and Sports
Dean S. Douglas, 3L
This past May, I ventured off to Miami, FL to participate in an amazing two-day conference put on by the American Bar Association Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries. Hosted by The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach, it was the perfect location for attorneys, law students, and various executives alike to network, learn, and discuss the ever-evolving industries of Sports and Entertainment. Among other things, it gave me an opportunity to be face to face with working professionals so vital relationships could be created.
This meeting is similar to the Annual Meeting held in either Las Vegas or New York each year but has a more intimate and relaxed “feel” with several attendees opting for khaki’s and polo shirts versus suits and ties, in true South Beach fashion. In addition to the more relaxed environment, the conference offered only one panel at a time, which allows attendee’s to hear each and every panel versus having to pick and choose.
As the current law student liaison for the Forum, prior to the conference I contacted as many students as possible nationally so they could take part in the plethora of information and opportunity the conference provides. As always, I was happy to have a fellow Cooley law student in attendance to represent our school among the other schools that were present.
The first day consisted of panels covering a multitude of topics ranging from issues concerning the branding of clients in the industry to matters of high concern in literary publishing. One thing I love about these conferences is that it is very much a community environment. Most of the lawyers know each other from previous conferences or even from being on the opposite sides of a dispute. Often times, a portion of the conference is filled with panelists throwing ideas out into the room and having it become in open room discussion. Being that there is a wealth of information in the room at any given time, you never know what nugget of knowledge you can catch when the floor is opened.
The second and final day consisted of panels also covering multiple topics ranging from intellectual property trends to the financing, production and distribution of independent films both domestic and abroad. Lawyers in this industry are called not only to be interpreters and drafters of legal agreements but in many instances, whether they choose to or not, dealmakers. When you speak to an attorney in the room, chances are they’ve already done what you wish to do and beyond. There’s a high likelihood that you’ll be sitting next to a practitioner who more than willing to throw you a few pointers that you’ll most certainly encounter on the “other side” of law school. For me, that time grows closer and closer and I am glad I went to this conference as I begin my post-law school career. Do yourself a favor readers, please go out and network, your findings may surprise you.