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Entertainment lawyer Ken Ziffren has donated $5 million to UCLA to found the Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law.
Ziffren is one of the most highly regarded attorneys in entertainment and a mainstay of The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Power Lawyers ranking. A founding partner of top firm Ziffren Brittenham who negotiated the 1988 Writers Guild strike and influential TV distribution deals, Ziffren was made Los Angeles “film czar” by mayor Eric Garcetti in February 2014.
He serves on the advisory board for UCLA law school, from which he graduated in 1965.
He became an adjunct professor there in 1998 and has taught courses in motion picture distribution and network TV. He chaired a UCLA law school campaign from 2008 to 2011, raising $110 million, including the largest gift in the school’s history of $10 million from education reformer Lowell Milken and $1 million from Ziffren himself, and he now works on the university-wide Centennial Campaign.
“Since graduating from the law school, I have been deeply committed both to UCLA Law School and to the advancement of the entertainment industry. I know that I have benefited greatly from my UCLA Law experience, as a student, as a member of the faculty, and as an involved member of the alumni community,” said Ziffren in a statement. “It’s very gratifying to be able to extend support to the next generation of leaders, and to help guarantee that the law school’s Center will continue to be the best in the nation.”
The Ziffren Center will operate side by side with the school’s entertainment, media and intellectual property “specialization,” a track of specific coursework. The Ziffren Center will coordinate the school’s entertainment law program more broadly, including events and outreach to the industry.
Ziffren Center’s executive director Susan Akens tells The Hollywood Reporter one aim of the Center will be expanding on the well-regarded UCLA Entertainment Symposium. “With Ken’s extraordinary support, we will be able to provide new opportunities for our students and the legal community,” she said in a statement. “The Ziffren Center will be able to create innovative initiatives — for example conferences focused on timely entertainment-related issues or student writing competitions that will hone practical skills. This gift will enable us to utilize resources like the growing Silicon Beach community to further expand our curriculum and to take UCLA Law’s media and entertainment education to the next level.”
“We are so fortunate to count Ken Ziffren among our most dedicated supporters and most distinguished alumni. Ken was a remarkable UCLA law student,” said UCLA law school dean Jennifer L. Mnookin in the statement “His career in media and entertainment law has been equally remarkable, and throughout he has given back to our institution so generously with his time, wisdom, knowledge and philanthropy. Now, with this extraordinary and inspirational gift, he both cements and ensures UCLA Law’s preeminence in media and entertainment law. We are enormously grateful to Ken, and I am thrilled and honored by this opportunity to create the Ziffren Center at UCLA School of Law.”
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