An interdisciplinary edge in the entertainment industry

Penn Carey Law students and alumni successfully navigate legal careers in the ever-changing entertainment industry.

From AI-generated deepfakes in mainstream entertainment to the explosion of short-form digital content, the legal issues surrounding the entertainment and media industry are more complex than ever.

At the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, expert faculty and legal practitioners like Jennifer E. Rothman, the Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law, and Jonathan Seiden, an adjunct professor of law and senior vice president and associate general counsel for Endeavor, challenge students to apply their legal knowledge and build the skills required to work in the fast-paced industry.

A worker on a movie set.
Image: Courtesy of Penn Carey Law

Penn Carey Law’s cross-disciplinary programs and active alumni network also prepare students to forge unique careers in the industry. “Almost every class you’ll take at Penn Carey Law touches on ‘entertainment law,’” says Seiden.

“It’s a mix of mergers and acquisitions, tort, labor law, employment law, child advocacy for young actors and artists, intellectual property law, privacy—just applied to film, TV, or Broadway.”

Seiden’s impressive career cuts across many sectors of the entertainment industry—from film, TV, music, and live events to endorsements, brand integration, content licensing, and more—and has seen massive shifts in everything from distribution to content itself. This diverse experience inspired him to conceptualize a specialized course, Entertainment Law Transactions, which he began teaching in 2016.

“The course provides the nuts and bolts of different sectors of the entertainment industry and the most common types of deals that would be entered into in each of those sectors,” he says.

Matthew Salloway, CEO of GSI Ventures, notes that “the beauty of Penn Carey Law is the incredible world-class faculty, small class size, collegial environment, ability to take cross-disciplinary courses.”

Salloway, whose recent producer credits include “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and the Neil Diamond Broadway musical “A Beautiful Noise,” advises Penn Carey Law students to maximize their exposure to different disciplines and different courses. As a student, Salloway was involved in the Journal of Labor and Employment Law (now the Journal of Business Law) and took cross-disciplinary classes at the Wharton School and Fels Institute of Government.

Karen Segall, head of Legal and Business Affairs at A24, notes that Penn Carey Law’s broad course offerings and learning opportunities beyond the classroom all provide a strong foundation for students interested in the entertainment industry.

“I’ve drawn on some of the classes more directly related to a career in entertainment, such as IP-related courses,” she said, “but opportunities such as learning negotiation skills in the Mediation Clinic and classes I took at the Annenberg School for Communication have proven to be just as valuable to my career as the traditional law school courses.”

Both Salloway and Segall reflected on how the Law School’s tight-knit community has resulted in strong personal and professional relationships throughout their careers.

“Penn Carey Law’s collegial environment gave me the freedom to explore an atypical career path. I was able to simultaneously focus on my studies and forge relationships with my peers, many of whom I am still regularly in touch with today,” Segall said.

Current students, like Li, have found Penn Carey Law alumni working in the entertainment industry to be helpful and supportive.

“Everyone is really helpful,” says Li. “The active alumni network was part of my decision to come to Penn Carey Law. Even before I was admitted, alumni were willing to jump on a call. I’ve really enjoyed my experience, and that makes me want to support future generations of students.”

Read more at Penn Carey Law.