Entertainment Law Class Offers Students a 21st Century Twist
Harrisburg Correspondent - Published: April 9, 2012
Students in Associate Professor Tonya Evans’s entertainment law class this spring have enjoyed a nontraditional approach to learning the law. In addition to a practical and comprehensive overview of the business and legal issues arising in the entertainment industry, the course has also afforded students a taste of what might happen when they go into practice via a law firm simulation assignment.

The students are divided into five law firms, and each firm maintains a website and blog and tracks entertainment law issues. Some of the virtual firms even opened up a Twitter or Facebook account to supplement their blogs, and thanks to TotalAttorneys.com, the students have free licenses to establish a virtual law office.

The first firm assignment was to create an appropriate website disclaimer to let site visitors know that they are not actual licensed attorneys or an actual law firm, but that the issues and stories which they blog about are in fact real. Another assignment was to create a firm bio and profile for each of the student “attorneys.” The students are also responsible for weekly assignments including blogging about current entertainment law issues.

Professor Evans wrote on her own personal blog, “I marvel at how each faux firm has developed its own character and focus, much in the same way actual firms come into their own. With an optimal blend of case law, hot topics, ethics and practical skills, these students are well on their way. I am confident they will be fully equipped to understand the unique issues presented by entertainment clients and to solve the challenging and nuanced problems presented by intellectual property ownership and licensing for entertainment clients in the 21st century.”

The student firms include Chichat LLC, The Dumas Firm, Creative Protection LLC, wRap JhAM Associates and The Mentally InFirm. There has been a lot of positive feedback from the students thus far.

Arrielle Millstein of wRap JhAM Associates says, “Professor Evans introducing our Entertainment Law class to blogging on legal topics has opened my eyes. With the state of the job market, applicants need a beefed up resume to even get an interview, I think that Professor Evans really provided us with the knowledge and experience on how to create and ‘market’ ourselves through an effective blog allowing future employers prior to interviews to know that we know and keep up with a specific area of law."

Associate of The Dumas Firm Elijah Hartman, said, “Never have I seen such an inspirational, and ingeniously interwoven teaching method. Through action and with grace, Professor Evans imparts upon her students not only her intellectual mastery of Entertainment Law, but also her invaluable first-hand experience with law practice in the modern technological age. Our student law firm websites serve as academic, social, and professional tools - connecting us with our textbooks, each other, and employment opportunities. In a world where the ‘follow’ button is ever-so-quickly replacing the status quo handshake, I am surprised that more law school classes are not following the Evans Method.”

Liana Walters of The Mentally InFirm said, “Professor Evans is giving us a peek into how modern firms market themselves competitively using technology and some creative sparkle. Once we got our blog off the ground, updating it with fun little stories in the entertainment law realm sparked some great class discussions on current events. It's a dose of legal reality that puts the legal theory in perspective.”

Students in the class will also hear from guest lectures by successful Widener Law alums practicing entertainment law. Justin Wineburgh, partner and head of Cozen O’Connor’s Media, Entertainment and Sports Law practice and Todd Shill, partner and co-founder of the Rhoads & Sinon‘s sports and entertainment practice, will visit to discuss their experiences and to answer questions.

To learn more about the project, visit the blogs created by each of the student firms at:

The Mentally InFirm: http://thementallyinfirm.wordpress.com/
The Dumas Firm: http://dumasfirm.wordpress.com/
wRAP JhAM Associates: http://wrapjham.wordpress.com/
Creative Protection LLC: http://creativeprotection.wordpress.com/
Chickchat LLC: http://chickchatllc.wordpress.com/