Hollywood’s Top Law Schools: 12 Colleges and Universities Where THR’s Power Lawyers Got Started

6:30 AM 5/2/2017

by Brian Porreca

From UCLA to Georgetown, these institutions have produced the industry's most influential attorneys.

Power Lawyers Start - Illustration - H 2017
Illustration by Tim Peacock

Editor's note: Schools are ranked by number of alums on the Power Lawyers list.

  • 1. UCLA School of Law

    Its Westwood location gives students easy access to the studios — and internships. As alum Jeff Frankel succinctly puts it, "The location is accessible to opportunities in the industry." Fox chair Stacey Snider, an alum, recently spoke at the school's Entertainment Symposium.

  • 2. Harvard Law School

    Harvard's in-house clinics offer hands-on experience in legal writing, counseling and negotiation. Many of the lawyers on the list first met here. Jokes Joel McKuin of his least favorite memory from the school, "My job interview with [fellow Power Lawyer] Karl Austen was on campus. He gave me 12 minutes, and I didn't make the cut."

  • 2. USC Gould School of Law

    USC's Intellectual Property Clinic allows students to counsel emerging filmmakers on copyright and trademark law. In August, it will launch an online Media and Entertainment Law Certificate program.

  • 4. UC Berkeley School of Law

    Given the cyberhacks around town (Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson, to name a few), Berkeley's Law & Technology program is a must for students interested in cybercrime and the laws of surveillance. Christopher Nolan's lawyer, Michael Schenkman, went here, but he doesn't recommend rushing into it. "My recollection is that those who really loved law school took a break after undergrad and worked."

  • 5. Stanford Law School

    Being in Silicon Valley, the program emphasizes tech, including courses on intellectual property and advanced legal writing. Alum Peter Nichols says the school "taught me to be a lawyer first, with other skills being secondary."

  • 6. Columbia Law School

    Columbia's alumnae organization, founded in 1996, has Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (class of 1959) as its honorary chair. But alum Nina Shaw has some advice for incoming students: "Don't make it about the endgame. Make it about your own satisfaction every step of the way."

  • 6. Southwestern Law School

    It was the first on the list to offer a specialized law degree in entertainment and has more than 50 law classes on the subject. Its popular London summer program specializes in international entertainment and media law.

  • 8. George Washington Law

    GW's externship program brings students to workplaces where entertainment meets politics — including NPR. And the Inns of Court program helps connect students with industry alums.


  • 8. University of Michigan Law School

    The Entertainment, Media and Arts Law Students Association organizes social gatherings (including movie nights!) for those looking to pursue a career on the West Coast.

  • 10. Brooklyn Law School

    Brooklyn's entertainment workshop specializes in giving students practice in the negotiations of contracts, including those for agents and managers.

  • 10. Cornell Law School

    Its small class size, according to alum Joe Calabrese, makes it the perfect place to learn the law. And the "isolation of winters in Ithaca gives you time to watch classic films with the Cornell film club and hang out at the hotel school studying wine."

  • 10. Georgetown Law

    Walking distance from the Supreme Court, the school prides itself on its commitment to the study of the Constitution, including the protection of the First Amendment.