Entertainment & the Arts Legal Clinic


The Hollywood Foreign Press Association generously supports Southwestern Law School’s Entertainment and Arts Legal Clinic for the 2018/19, 2019/20, and 2020/21 academic years.

680PR | 3.0 credits

Southwestern Law School was founded 110 years ago on two fundamental principles: First, law schools must embrace innovation. Second, quality legal education should be available to qualified individuals regardless of socioeconomic background or life circumstances. Today, Southwestern is a top ten school for Entertainment & Media Law, Music Law, and Diversity.

The Clinic provides pro bono legal services to independent filmmakers, series creators, writers, actors, legit stage producers, artists, and musicians. Students work on documentation of underlying rights (clearance reports and fair use analysis) and chain-of-title review, drafting shopping and commenting on and option purchase agreements, music agreements, personal services agreements for producers, directors, actors, other principal crew, location agreements, releases and other development and production related contracts. The Clinic also reviews sales, licensing, and distribution agreements. The students, trained by taking copyright and other entertainment law courses, do the legal work (including client correspondence) which is supervised and reviewed by a panel of 4 or 5 experienced practicing attorney professors.

Potential clients are solicited from entertainment film societies, arts organizations, film institutes and film schools. Students in the Clinic often refer friends or colleagues with projects in development.  Several clients that have been referred by other filmmakers who have released films on which the Clinic rendered production services.  All prospective clients are screened by the professors and some may be interviewed by the class prior to engagement.  Students interact directly with the clients, though all legal services provided by the students are under the guidance and supervision of the professors.

Enrollment is by invitation only and applicants are notified by email about the application process approximately one month prior to the end of each semester. Those students selected will be enrolled for the following semester. Interested students should contact the Biederman Institute for more information.

  1. For Filmmakers

    Does your independent film need free legal services?

    Southwestern law students in the clinic provide services at no cost to filmmakers under the supervision of Professor Jay Gendron (formerly Vice President of Business Affairs, Warner Bros. Television). To be eligible, projects must be fully funded and scheduled to commence production in the near future. 

    Services may include:

    • documentation of underlying rights and chain-of-title
    • personal services agreements for the producer, director, actors and principal crew
    • location agreements, releases and other miscellaneous production documents
    • sales agency and distribution agreements

    Filmmakers who wish to apply should contact Professor Gendron. Films will be selected on an on-going basis.