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Remarks from the Chair

By Judith B. Prowda

These are my farewell Remarks from the Chair. It has been an honor to serve as Chair of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section for the past two years. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to my remarkable Dream Team: Rosemarie Tully (Vice-Chair), Diane Krausz (Treasurer), Pamela Jones (Secretary 2011), Monica Pa (Secretary 2010), Jason Baruch (Assistant-Secretary), and the entire EASL Executive Committee. I also thank my dedicated Albany colleagues Tiffany Bardwell, Dan McMahon and Leslie Scully, among others, whose tireless support has been invaluable throughout my term.

I am proud of all that we have accomplished so far during my tenure as Chair. We have formed eight new standing Committees: Digital Media (including social media), Diversity, Ethics, Lawyers in Transition, In-House Counsel, International, Scholarship and Website. For the first time in EASL history, we have a District Representative for each of the 13 Judicial Districts in New York State. We have formalized our relationship with the Young Lawyers Section by appointing YLS members to serve as Liaisons to EASL and have organized successful several joint programs.

We have also welcomed law students to serve as Liaisons to EASL. Our highly successful Law Student Liaison program, which other Sections are enthusiastically emulating, has expanded to 13 Law Student Liaisons in 2011, including our first ever out-of-state and international Law Student Liaisons. These talented students connect their law schools with EASL and vice versa, attend Executive Committee meetings and become involved in planning programs and discussing new initiatives. By working with law students at the Executive Committee level, we are exposing them to our diverse practice areas and a wide array of EASL activities at an early stage of their careers while helping them hone their leadership skills. Together, our efforts have yielded several innovative programs and partnership opportunities between EASL and law schools. We are grateful too for the fresh perspectives our Law Student Liaisons provide.

Our Section continues to organize meaningful pro bono activities and cutting edge programs in entertainment, arts and sports law, as well as ethics. Our Fall Program, entitled "Anatomy of a Hit TV Reality Show Series, and Other Things We Think You Should Know" was one of our best ever, featuring four superb panels of interest. The first panel, which was inspired by EASL's Young Entertainment Lawyers, offered an exposé of the history of the creation and operation of one of the most successful reality shows, A&E's "PAWN STARS." The panelists - members of the actual production team behind the show - included Brent Montgomery (Leftfield Pictures), Rob Miller (Peleton Entertainment), Mary Donohue (History, A&E Television Networks) and was expertly moderated by Peter Hamilton (Editor, DocumentaryTelevision.com). The next panel, on the topic of free speech and video games, featured Gena A. Feist (Vice President & Associate General Counsel for Take Two Interactive),John F. Wirenius (Author, First Amendment, First Principles: Verbal Acts and Freedom of Speech, and Deputy General Counsel to the Office of Collective Bargaining) and was superbly moderated by Jason Aylesworth (Sendroff & Baruch). Next we focused on the representation of minors in New York, with speakers Brian D. Caplan (Caplan and Ross), Paul LiCalsi (Mitchell Silverberg and Knupp), and Joseph L. Serling (Serling Rooks Ferrara Mckoy & Worob). The Fall Program concluded with a much sought-after ethics component, featuring Deborah A. Scalise (Scalise & Hamilton) and Pery D. Krinsky (Krinsky, PLLC). Without a doubt, this program was a "winning deal!" chock full of valuable information and offering 7.5 CLE credits, including 2 CLE credits in ethics and professionalism. Now THAT'S what I call reality! Thanks to Program Co-Chairs Jason Aylesworth, Ethan Bordman, Diane Krausz and Pamela Jones.

In September, we held an outstanding program, "Lending in the Sports and Entertainment Industries," which focused on contents of credit agreements, credit enhancement documents, industry, league and regulatory restrictions, among other topics. Our panelists included Stephen Brodie (Partner, Herrick, Feinstein LLP), Nick DeFabrizio (Chief Counsel Communications, Media and Entertainment Group CIT Legal Department), Victoria A. Gilbert (Partner, Kaye Scholer LLP), Bradley Rangell (Managing Director, Team Leader, Sports Advisory, Citi Private Bank), W. Wilder Knight II (Of Counsel, Pryor Cashman LLP), and Lucie Guernsey (Managing Director, Woodland Bay Capital, Inc.). The 2-CLE credit program, which was conceived and organized by Jessica Thaler, was held at Herrick Feinstein. Kudos Jessica!

Our aptly titled program in October "Exploring the Wild, Wild West of Filmmaking: Borat, Hidden Cameras and Investigative Reporting" was designed to help us guide our clients through the murky waters of public stunts, no releases, hidden cameras and more. The wild wild West (-coast) guest speaker, Michael C. Donaldson, a California entertainment lawyer and author of the newly released Legal Guide to Independent Film Making, delivered a lively presentation and commented on a variety of clips from films that have been the subject of lawsuits, and explained the release that was used by the Borat team. To round out the program, we discussed insurance to such a highly risky business. This sold-out event was co-sponsored by the Litigation, the Motion Pictures and Television and Radio Committees.

In addition, also in October, EASL's Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution (Judith Bresler and myself, Co-Chairs) co-sponsored Mediation Settlement Day for the fourth consecutive year. This annual event is sponsored by FINRA Dispute Resolution, the New York State Unified Court System, and a coalition of over 100 alternative dispute resolution programs, bar associations, community based programs, schools, public and nonprofit organizations. Several EASL Executive Committee members participated in the Kick-Off event on October 18th at the New York City Bar Association, where we had reserved a table to showcase EASL's programs and initiatives. We were treated to a fascinating CLE program, "Mediation in the Mainstream," and a Keynote Speech by Michael Sardo, Creator and Executive Producer of USA Network's "Fairly Legal."

Looking ahead to our Annual Meeting, organized by Program Committee Co-Chairs Judith Bass, Ethan Bordman, Diane Krausz and Carol Steinberg, we anticipate another sold-out double-feature - with one panel on Trending Topics in Licensing and Branding and another panel on New Models of Publishing: E-Books, enhanced e-books, apps and how they have transformed the world of publishing. A cutting edge program not to be missed!

As I mentioned above, our Section has embraced new areas of law and technology. We now have a Twitter account created by our energetic new Co-Chair of Digital Media, Megan Maxwell. Our Blog has become a mainstay of our daily lives, with postings on the most current topics, thanks to our remarkable editor Elissa Hecker, and all of our Blog contributors. With the help of our newly formed Website Committee, chaired by Jennifer Liebman, we are updating our website which will provide information on substantive areas of law, announce upcoming events and highlight the work of EASL's Committees.

We have also turned our attention to important initiatives, such as President Vincent Doyle's groundbreaking Diversity Challenge. I was very proud to present the Diversity Challenge Team Report (described in page __ herein) to NYSBA President Vincent Doyle on behalf of EASL. I acknowledge our Diversity Committee Co-Chairs Anne S. Atkinson and Cheryl L. Davis, who spearheaded our initiatives, along with each of our other dedicated Diversity Challenge Team Members: Rakhi Bahadkar, Rich Boyd, Nyasha Foy, Elissa Hecker, Jessica Thaler, Rosemarie Tully and myself.

Our Diversity Challenge Team met on a regular basis throughout the summer to prepare our Report, which we presented to the EASL Executive Committee in September. At this writing, two programs (described below) have already been held in October and November, and other initiatives are at various stages of development. President Doyle has offered his thanks and gratitude for our Report and work thus far. We hope you will appreciate our diversity efforts and look forward to working with you to advance the NYSBA's and EASL's diversity goals.

Our Diversity plan includes (i) holding programs with minority bar associations, such as the one we held with the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) described below, (ii) establishing a mentoring program for diverse new lawyers, 2L law students, and/or those who wish to shift areas of practice to the entertainment, arts and sports law areas, (iii) providing pro bono assistance and mentoring to newly admitted attorneys, and (iv) coordinating with veterans groups, starting with the Producers Guild of America East where EASL would provide speakers and representatives for roundtable discussions.

To start, we co-sponsored a program on October 12th with the New York City Bar Association, titled "You're an Up and Coming Talent: Be More, Do More and Discover More by Reaching For the Leader Within You." This free seminar was aimed at enabling lawyers of color to determine effective ways to manage their career advancement and success. The panel included Rakhi Bahadkar, a member of EASL's Diversity Challenge Team (Senior Regulatory Services Consultant, New York Life Insurance Company),Michael I. Bernstein (Partner, Bond Schoeneck & King), Vincent T. Chang (Partner, Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP), Margo G. Ferrandino, (Litigation Associate, Bond Schoeneck & King) and Thomas Jackson (Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, EdisonLearning, Inc.), and was moderated by Vera Sullivan (President and Founder Diversityforce LLC).

In November, our Diversity Committee partnered with BESLA and MBBA to present a program on "Legal Issues in Reality TV". This joint program - our first with BESLA and MBBA - was such a resounding success, that we aspire to collaborate again in the future. Congratulations to Rich Boyd and Rob Thony, members of the EASL Diversity Committee, and Matt Middleton, President of BESLA, for creating such a superb program. Thanks also to Nyasha Foy, EASL Student Liaison, for coordinating with New York Law School for the perfect venue. We anticipate more programs such as these, and look forward to implementing each of our initiatives in the coming months. Please join us!

As our world grows increasingly global, it has become evident that EASL should expand our activities to address international issues. In September, we voted to create an International Committee. This Committee is co-chaired by Eric J. Stenshoel, Counsel at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP in New York and Brian Wynn, partner at Gardiner-Roberts LLP in Toronto. The International Committee begins its mission by co-sponsoring a program with the Digital Media Committee (Jason Aylesworth, Megan Maxwell and Andrew Seiden, Co-Chairs) on U.S. and Canadian cross-border criminal laws affecting the depiction of child pornography through digital images of manga (a style of comic book that originated in Japan). This program, conceived by Megan Maxwell, will present both sides of this compelling area of law.

In the legislation arena, EASL continues to support the Art Consignment Statute Bill Proposal, which would amend Articles 11 and 12 of the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, in relation to consignments of art works to dealers by artists, their heirs and personal representatives. We appreciate NYSBA's continued support on this important piece of legislation.

Our Pro Bono Committee continues to dazzle us with a wide array of speakers' bureaus, clinics, and other events. Our Pro Bono Clinic at New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) in August was a terrific success and was repeated in November.

It's always a pleasure to acknowledge outstanding EASL Executive Committee members and welcome new faces. Our long-time Co-Chair of the Copyright and Trademark Committee, Neil Rosini, has stepped down after many years of distinguished service, and has been appointed Member-at-Large. Alan Hartnick, a strong and erudite presence in EASL almost since its inception, has also been appointed Member-at-Large, and continues in his role as District Representative for the First District. We warmly welcome Cheryl Davis (Co-Chair, Diversity Committee), Jennifer Liebman (District Representative, 12th District), Megan Maxwell (Co-Chair, Digital Media Committee); Britten Payne (Co-Chair, Copyright and Trademark Committee); and Eric J. Stenshoel (Chair, International Committee). We also welcome to our new Law Student Liaisons for 2011-2012: Megan Bellamy (BPP, London), Caitlin Lee Dempsey (Fordham), Peter Dagher (Fordham), Nyasha Foy (New York Law School), Carey Greenberg (St. John's), Kibum Kim (NYU), William A. Lorenz, Jr. (Buffalo) and Aaron Rosenthal (DePaul, Chicago). In addition, we welcome Ally Colvin (St. John's) for the Spring 2012 semester.

What a privilege it has been to serve as EASL's Chair. It will be an honor to play a vital role in EASL as your Past Chair and to continue in my roles as Chair of the Fine Arts Committee, Co-Chair of the ADR Committee, and as member of the House of Delegates through June 2012.

As I bid adieu as EASL Chair and join the distinguished pantheon of Past Chairs, I marvel at how much we have accomplished together during my tenure. As I look ahead, I am confident that we will continue to achieve our goals for the NYSBA, EASL, our profession and the greater community. In 2013 we will celebrate our 25th Anniversary. EASL's mission remains, as it was in its early days - to provide forums for discussion and debate and information-sharing in the EASL community. We have grown to almost 1,700 members with varied interests, including some of the hottest issues grabbing headlines being debated in Congress, and being heard by the courts.
I could not leave EASL in better hands than with my successor, dear colleague and friend Rosemarie Tully, whose vision for EASL is far-reaching and innovative. For many years Rosemarie has demonstrated her impressive talents and leadership skills (with a dash of style and grace) within EASL and the greater Bar. Rosemarie will be an effective and inspiring Chair and will serve EASL with distinction.

I hope to see many of you over the winter and spring months - and each and every one of you at our Annual Meeting on January 23, 2012 and our Silver Anniversary celebration in 2013!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 19, 2011 8:23 PM.

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