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Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section Annual Meeting Recap and More

By Barry Skidelsky, Esq.

Introduction

The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law (EASL) Section's 2019 Annual Meeting was held on Tuesday, January 15th, as part of he New York State Bar Association's (NYSBA) Annual Meeting week. In my view, there were four components to our Section's day -- all but the last of which took place at the Hilton hotel in midtown Manhattan. Below is a brief summary of the day and more.

Member Engagement, Committees, and More

First, several EASL committee co-chairs organized and held meetings with some of their members, in part to plan the year ahead consistent with our new membership engagement initiatives. Key among those initiatives are recently adopted Guidelines to encourage more active engagement by EASL members, and to provide enhanced value on both professional and personal levels.

Inter alia, the Guidelines suggest ways to recruit and retain members of our Section, to foster engagement and more active participation by committee co-chairs and members, to encourage law students and younger attorneys to become more involved in committees and other EASL activities, and to enable a succession plan for future Section and NYSBA leaders.

Budgets and goals were set for each EASL committee to hold four meetings, programs or events per year (e.g., CLE programs, breakfast or brown bag lunch meetings, telephone conference calls, social or networking events, etc.), with limits imposed for each committee chair to serve no more than three consecutive years (and thus provide additional opportunities for other EASL members).

Of course, establishing, leading or joining one of our committees (a list of which is available at www.nysba.org/easl) are not the only ways for EASL members to become more actively engaged and to promote our mutual interests.

For example, each EASL member is always encouraged to write for the EASL Blog or Journal, to help organize and participate in Section and committee CLE programs, in pro bono clinics, and in social or networking events (such as theatricals shows, musical concerts, dance performances, and sporting events), as well as to help on an ongoing basis to recruit new EASL members. Did you know that NYSBA offers you a chance to win an I-Pad if you recruit just 5 new members?

Maybe your law firm can offer EASL meeting space for one of our events. Maybe you know of a relevant lawyer or business job opening. Maybe you or your law firm could use some project help work by another EASL member. Maybe you could think of some other way to get more involved, or how NYSBA and/or EASL could create added value for all members.

As EASL Chair, I urge you to contact me directly about any of the foregoing or any other ideas that you might have. I have strong beliefs that we are here to help each other, and (at the risk of sounding like a child of the '60s) to help make the world a better place.

Executive Committee

I know from my own personal experience that those beliefs are shared by colleagues on the EASL Executive Committee (EC), one of the most collegial and collaborative groups with whom I have ever had the pleasure to work. Really.

The EASL EC also had its own separate meeting at the Hilton, immediately following the Section committee meetings described above, just before our general Section meeting and CLE program. We focused on membership recruitment, retention, engagement, benefits, and more -- including the need for EASL and NYSBA to better encourage other lawyers, particularly young lawyers and law students, to become more involved and to pursue NYSBA leadership roles. EASL welcomes all comers.

General Section Meeting, Phil Cowan Memorial Scholarships, and CLE Program

The third component of the day consisted of the EASL Annual Meeting of Section members. No elections were held this year, as our Section's officers (myself included) have just now reached the half-way point of their respective two year terms.

After I made some welcoming remarks, Scott Connolly and John Mixon (both law students at Saint John's Law School) were each awarded $2,500 scholarships for their respective articles submitted as part of the BMI sponsored EASL/Phil Cowan Memorial Scholarship annual writing competition (Phil Cowan was a former EASL Chair). Copies of both articles will be published in the Spring issue of the EASL Journal, which I trust you will read and enjoy.

EASL's annual CLE program then followed the awards presentations. The first two panels, which were organized by Judy Bass (with special thanks to Anne Atkinson and Carol Steinberg), addressed underlying rights in both transactional and litigation contexts. The third and final panel, organized by Ron Minkoff, focused on legal ethics for entertainment and other lawyers.

A complete list of panelists may be found in the program Agenda at www.nysba.org/easl. My thanks also go out to all of the foregoing and others who contributed to what was widely reported afterwards as an excellent program (e.g., "one of the best ever" came up in comments more than once). A transcript of all three panels will also be published in the Spring issue of the EASL Journal, as another member benefit for those unable to attend in person.

Networking Reception

Immediately following the conclusion of our CLE program, about 100 or so of us migrated over to Bill's Burger Bar in nearby Rockefeller Center for a fun networking cocktail reception (an open bar with premium liquor and tasty food) jointly sponsored by NYSBA's Intellectual Property (IP) Section.

Side note: the EASL and IP sections of NYSBA also collaborate from time to time on pro bono clinics, such as the next one scheduled for February 23rd at Hunter College (for more info re pro bono, email Elissa Hecker @ eheckersesq@eheckeresq.com). EASL is always eager to cross-pollinate with additional NYSBA sections, law schools, and other organizations on CLE programs, pro bono clinics, and other events.

Conclusion

Lastly, I would like to also thank those of you who are members of EASL. Again, I ask that you please take action on the suggestions above for a growing and more engaged section membership, including by contacting me directly to become more actively involved. If you are not yet a member and would like to join, please do.

As always, I can be reached by email at bskidelsky@mindspring.com or by telephone at (212) 832-4800. I hope to talk with or see you soon.

Best,

Barry Skidelsky
EASL Section Chair

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