Hollywood's Top Law Schools: 10 Colleges and Universities Where THR's Power Lawyers Got Started

6:00 AM 4/1/2019

by THR staff

UCLA and Harvard lead a pack of elite institutions churning out top-tier showbiz litigators and dealmakers in Hollywood Reporter's annual ranking.

Law Schools - Illustration by Andrew Rae - H 2019
Illustration by Andrew Rae

  • 1. UCLA School of Law

    Nestled minutes from some of Hollywood's biggest studios, the Westwood-based school provides hands-on learning opportunities through its Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law (named for Power Lawyer Ken Ziffren). "UCLA provides seminar opportunities with entertainment lawyers who actually practice in the entertainment industry at the highest levels," says alum Jason Sloane. "That type of access is invaluable." Alumnae Sandra Stern of Lionsgate and Catrice Monson of CBS are two examples.

  • 2. Harvard Law School

    "One thing people often don't realize about Harvard Law is that it's the second-largest law school in the U.S.," says alumnus Jamie Feldman. "There is a massive scope of different subjects, people and opportunities." For Hollywood-minded students, the Ivy League program offers the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a law clinic that provides legal aid to artists, indie labels and more.

  • 3. USC Gould School of Law

    Home to THR's No. 1 film school, the South L.A. campus attracts students who want to represent Hollywood's future leaders. They gain hands-on experience through media, entertainment and technology law courses taught by Viacom and Sony executives and annual trips to Sundance. Tom Hansen and Howard Weitzman are among the school's alumni.

  • 4. Columbia Law School (tie)

    Alexander Hamilton's alma mater has its fingerprints all over the entertainment industry, serving as the home to the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts, where students can hone their skills through externships, seminars and volunteering. To stay ahead of the curve, the school also offers seminars about the legal side of the digital boom with reps from BuzzFeed and HBO.

  • 4. Georgetown Law (tie)

    Students in the nation's capital gain a unique perspective on entertainment law through a focus on advocacy and government relations. Robert Darwell and David Hernand graduated from Georgetown, where its Entertainment & Media Alliance Law Review lets aspiring lawyers hone their skills just a few subway stops away from the White House.

  • 6. UC Berkeley School of Law

    With its proximity to San Francisco's tech hub, the school is at the forefront of intellectual property law. Courses in video game law and externship opportunities at organizations like the Writers Guild of America have real-world applications in Hollywood. Linda Lichter and Patti Felker are grads.

  • 7. University of Michigan Law School (tie)

    The college sports powerhouse channels its athletic prowess into its entertainment and sports law offerings for students, including the Entertainment, Media and Arts Law Students Association. Plus, "the law school itself is so beautiful that it makes you want to work harder just to be worthy of being there," says alumna Jill Basinger.

  • 7. Southwestern Law School (tie)

    The first school to establish a Master of Laws degree in entertainment law, Southwestern taps into the resources in its own backyard, offering a clinic sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that trains students to help creatives through pro bono representation. Alumna Lisa Callif calls graduates "scrappy, bright, practical and results-oriented lawyers."

  • 9. NYU School of Law (tie)

    Students learn the nitty-gritty of entertainment law with cross-curricular opportunities through the business and arts schools — all set in the city that never sleeps. Asks alumnus Benyamin Ross, "Where else can you start your afternoon with a seminar, mediate small claims disputes in Brooklyn night court and wrap up the evening with your pick of a poetry jam, off-Broadway show or intimate jazz club session?"

  • 9. Stanford Law School (tie)

    Stanford offers students the opportunity to explore the intersection of tech and entertainment. The school, which educated Robert Klieger and Marissa Román Griffith, also boasts the Stanford Entertainment and Sports Law Association, which connects students with attorneys and alumni in the entertainment industry.

    This story first appeared in the March 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.