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Pepperdine University School of Law Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution


In July 2012, the Straus Institute announced a new initiative focusing on dispute resolution in the areas of Entertainment, Media & Sports (EMS@Straus). The aim of EMS@Straus is to provide a center for speakers, conferences, trainings/classes, and externships in this area, including inter-disciplinary coursework and other programming such as Speaker Events, Industry Expert Conversations and is in the process of organizing Continuing Legal Education Conferences and webinars. The leaders of the Project have been working closely with the Editors of Pepperdine Law School's Law Review and also the University's Center for Entertainment Media and Culture on innovative new symposia in these fields. The members of Pepperdine's Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS), bar association and other professional and industry groups are actively involved in the development and coordinated staging of these activities.

A summary of EMS@Straus Activities includes:

Launch of EMS@Straus: Summer 2012 Program in London

EMS@Straus launched in July 2012 with a 2-week intensive course on Olympic & International Sports Dispute Resolution in London, on the eve of the 2012 Olympic Games. The class was taught by Pepperdine Sports Law Professor Maureen Weston, and Jeff Benz, Esq., former general counsel for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and arbitrator with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Among the many experts to meet with the students were Michael Beloff, QC, an English barrister and arbitrator specializing in international sports law, the Athlete Ombudsman, Associate General Counsel, and Chief of Security with the United States Olympic Committee, and General Counsel and three deputy attorneys from the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. The students visited and met with officials from the U.K. Anti-Doping Agency, Sport Resolutions, Inc., NBA London, British Olympic Association, and Human Rights Watch. Cultural excursions included visits to Parliament, a tour of legal London, Chariots of Fire theater; the National Gallery, a private tour of Arsenal Futbol Stadium, and a trip to Olympic Park.


Industry Speakers

As part of a comprehensive Project to develop and enhance the School of Law's offerings to students and graduates, the Straus Institute's Entertainment Media and Sports Dispute Resolution Project (EMS@Straus) has been working with the Sports and Entertainment Law Society's (SELS) leaders to bring industry expert speakers to campus for luncheon briefings on the work they do, current industry issues and to advise on career paths based on their own professional experiences.

Beginning in September, once or more per month during the Fall 2012 Term, these industry experts have come to campus to participate in such briefings and spoken on the following topics:

Eyal Aharonov, Entertainment Lawyer, Attorney at Aharonov Law Group. Formerly at Trancas International Films, Inc., Adamson Ahdoot LLP, Doniger Burroughs APC. J.D., Entertainment, Entrepreneurship at Pepperdine University School of Law

Laura McDonald, Entertainment Lawyer, Independent Artist Management, Denver Music Examiner @ Examiner.com. J.D., Pepperdine University School of Law, B.A., University of Notre Dame.

Catherine Baggett, Entertainment Lawyer, Music Business & Legal Affairs at The Walt Disney Company. Formerly with Rhino Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, Carroll, Guido & Groffman LLP. J.D., Pepperdine University School of Law
Topic: Carving Your Path in the Entertainment Industry; Recent Grads Weigh In _____________________¬____________

Rodney Smith, Distinguished Professor of Law, Director of Center for Sports and Law Policy, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego
Topic: Gladiators in the 21st Century; Violence and Injuries in Athletics

Vikki Karan, Head of Client Services, William Morris Endeavor, Beverly Hills. Previously at The Endeavor Agency, NYU Stern School of Business, Virus 23. J.D., Law, Entertainment, International Entertainment Law at Pepperdine University School of Law
Topic: The World of an Agent

Steven Stern, Senior Vice-President of Music at APM Music, Los Angeles. Previously with Media Ventures with Hans Zimmer. Education: Music Theory and Classical Guitar at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Film Music Composition at Berklee College of Music
Topic: Law and Custom Music Houses

Josh Luchs, Former NFL Player Agent. Author of Illegal Procedure; A Sports Agent Comes Clean on the Dirty Business of College Football.
Topic: Confessions of an Agent

Gordon Firemark, Solo Entertainment Law Practitioner, Los Angeles. Previously Entertainment Law Update Podcast, Academy for New Musical Theater. J.D., Law, Southwestern University School of Law
Topic: Ahead of the Curve; Utilizing Technology in a Solo Entertainment Law Practice

Paul Friedman, Senior Vice-President of Music Affairs, SONY Pictures Entertainment, Culver City. Previously with King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner, LLP; Codikow, Carroll, Guido & Groffman; Fox Music. MBA at Tulane University- A.B. Freeman School of Business
Topic: Studio Development, Licensing and Use of Music in Film, Television and Digital Platforms

EMS & Pepperdine Law Review Symposium on College Sports

After a break for the examination period and the holidays, these luncheon speaker programs will resume in January 2013 and continue throughout the Term. On April 5, 2013, EMS@Straus, lead by Faculty Director and Law Professor Maureen Weston, working in partnership with the Pepperdine Law Review and its Symposium Editor, Michael Wood, will be hosting a symposium entitled The New Normal in College Sports: Realigned and Reckoning at the Law School.


Professor Weston's Fall 2012 Sports Law class included not only a study of the many legal issues involved in amateur, professional, and Olympic/International Sports, the students also engaged in mock preliminary injunction hearings, collective bargaining and salary contract negotiations, and policy review hearings, and each student presented findings and recommendations from their individual research and writing projects. In addition, the class included visits with key industry experts, including:

Danny Sussman, established Hollywood Talent Manager at Brillstein Entertainment Partners, formerly with William Morris Agency in Beverley Hills, who spoke on the topic of "The Business of the Sports and Entertainment Business."

Robert Hacker, V.P. of Business & Legal Affairs at FOX Sports, speaking about "Representing the Sports Network: Negotiations, Legal Issues, New Media."

Brian Halloran, NCAA Committee on Infractions, speaking on "NCAA Infractions Process: Investigation, Enforcement, Sanctions" and

William Nix, former V.P., Legal & Business Affairs for NBA Properties and currently Chairman of the Creative Projects Group, speaking on the topic of "Intellectual Property Licensing, Sponsorship and Marketing in Professional, Olympic and Collegiate Sports."

Site visit to the Pepperdine Athletic Department, and meeting with Athletic Director Dr. Steve Potts and Associate Director/Compliance Brian Barrio to learn about the many aspects of operating a college athletic program.


Pepperdine students Amanda Fletcher, Kara Ritchey, Sandy Ciel, and Jessica Johnson participated in the Entertainment Law Negotiation Competition at Southwestern University Law School. Brad Raboin, a School of Law Alum 2012, helped with coaching the team. The students worked hard in their preparations of representing the role of counsel for an entertainment production company in negotiations with talent and a television network contract. 24 teams from across the country competed. Entertainment industry lawyers served as judges and gave helpful and positive feedback to our students.

In January 2013, Dan Paret, SELS President, and Kevin Dulaney will represent Pepperdine at the Tulane Baseball Arbitration Competition.

In November 2013, under the supervision of Patty Hayes and Co-Chairs, Kristine Gamboa and Jessica Johnson, Pepperdine hosted its 15th Annual National Entertainment Moot Court Competition with twenty-four law schools competing from around the United States.


For information on how to become an EMS@Straus/SELS guest speaker or classroom visiting expert speaker on campus, or to recommend one, please contact:

Daniel Paret, SELS President, daniel.paret@pepperdine.edu

Jeffrey Welsh, SELS Vice President, jeffrey.d.welsh@gmail.com

William Nix, Managing Director, Entertainment, Media and Sports Dispute Resolution Project at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and Chairman, Creative Projects Group. wnix@pepperdine.edu

Maureen Weston, Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution's Entertainment, Media and Sports Dispute Resolution Project maureen.weston@pepperdine.edu

For further information on EMS@Straus or SELS, please access the following:



SELS Twitter: https://twitter.com/PepperdineSELS

SELS Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/12758458410/

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