Entertainment Law Initiative®

The Entertainment Law Initiative was established by the Recording Academy® to encourage discussion and debate around legal affairs in the ever-evolving music industry and how they impact creatives and the greater music community. In partnership with the nation’s top entertainment law practitioners and schools, the initiative offers year-round networking and career development events for professionals and cultivates the next generation through connection and educational opportunities for students.

22-23 Entertainment Law Initiative Executive Committee 22-23 Entertainment Law Initiative Advisory Council
Laurie Soriano (Chair) Ken Abdo
Kris Ahrend Jay Cooper
Sandy Crawshaw-Sparks John Frankenheimer
Susan Genco Jeff Harleston
Renee Karalian Joel Katz
Michael Kushner Chuck Ortner
Dina LaPolt Don Passman
Wade Leak Michael Reinert
Angie Martinez Ron Wilcox
Tanya Perara
Julian Petty
Leron Rogers
Henry Root
Bobby Rosenbloum
Julie Swidler
Jeff Walker
Robert Windom
Stephanie Yu

Read about the most recent professional development and networking event below:

How The Entertainment Law Initiative’s “The Evolution Of The Record Contract” Panel Analyzed The Essentials Of Record Deals

Click the link below to watch ELI’s fall 2022 collaborative panel with GRAMMY U:

How Independent Artists Can Protect Their Work

Keep an eye on this page for announcements about 2023 ELI professional and student events, online programs and other opportunities.


Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY® Week Event

Thank you to those who attended the 25th Annual ELI GRAMMY Week Event and congratulations to 2023 ELI Service Award recipient Peter Paterno of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP. Information about the 26th Annual ELI Event will be released fall 2023.

The annual ELI GRAMMY Week Event gathers professionals and creators alike to celebrate, hear from industry leaders and allies, and acknowledge achievements of music business trailblazers through the ELI Service Award, an accolade presented to a legal professional or entity who has demonstrated commitment to advancing and bettering the music community through service. See below for recaps of past events:

Inside The 2023 Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY Week Event: Heartfelt Hilarity & A Dedication To Helping The Music Community

How The Entertainment Law Initiative Tackles Today’s Leading Law Issues & Fosters The Next Generation of Legal Innovators

23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Honors Black Entertainment And Sports Lawyers Association, Discusses Future Of Music Industry

2019 Entertainment Law Initiative Event With Dina LaPolt, Tina Tchen, Steven Tyler & More


Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest

Submissions for the 2023 contest are closed. Congratulations to 2023 ELI Writing Contest Winner Aron Lichtschein. Information about the 2024 contest will be released fall 2023.

The ELI Writing Contest challenges law students to identify and research a pressing legal issue facing the music industry today and outline a proposed solution in a 3,000-word essay. A nationwide panel of music law experts judge the papers in a blind process to select one winner and two runners-up.

2023 Writing Contest Prize Packages

One Winner

$10,000 tuition scholarship

Two tickets to the GRAMMY Awards®

Two tickets to MusiCares® Person of the Year

Two tickets to the Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY Week Event

Los Angeles roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations for winner and guest

Paper Publication in the ABA Entertainment & Sports Lawyer Journal

Mentorship session with an ELI leadership attorney

Two Runners-Up

$2,500 tuition scholarship

Mentorship session with an ELI leadership attorney


2023 Winner & Runners-Up

Winner: Aron Lichtschein, NYU School of Law, New York, NY

“Tickets To Ride: NFTs And The Future of Concert Ticketing”

Runner-Up: Gina Maeng, Georgetown Law School, Washington, D.C.

“Keep Calm And Rock On: A Federal Crowd Management Law For The Live Music Industry”

Runner-Up: Amanda Sharp, University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, CA

“Addressing The Music Industry’s Biggest Broken Record: Why Blockchain, Smart Contracts, And NFTs Are An Unmatched Solution To The Music Industry’s $424 Million Unmatched Royalty Problem”

2022 Winner & Runners-Up

Winner: Sona Sulakian, USC Gould School of Law, Los Angeles, CA

“Protecting The Artist: Licensing In An AI-Generated Music Market”

Runner-Up: Chelsea Cohen, LMU Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, CA

“Welcome To The Metaverse: Solving Old-World Licensing In A Whole New Universe”

Runner-Up: Michael Harrigan, Stetson University College of Law, DeLand, FL

“Beyond A Reasonable Doubt: How Blockchain Technology Can Shift The DMCA’s Burden Of Notification Away From Copyright Owners”

2021 Winner & Runners-Up

Winner: Sophia Sofferman, University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables, FL

“It’s My [Recapture Right], And It’s Now Or Never…”

Runner-Up: Evan Biegel, St. John’s University School of Law, Queens, NY

“Tuning The Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Musical Work Infringement”

Runner-Up: Alberto Vargas, University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, IL

“Bare Responsibility Or Reasonable Opportunity? In Defense Of A Defendant-Conscious View Of ‘Access’ In A Digital Age”


The Recording Academy thanks our 25th Annual ELI GRAMMY Week Event sponsors for their generous support.

Platinum Presenting Silver
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP American Bar Association
Carroll Guido Groffman Cohen Bar & Karalian, LLP
Platinum Plus Covington & Burling LLP
Pryor Cashman LLP Eisner, LLP
Sony Music Publishing Manatt, Phelps, Phillips LLP
Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder, LLP
Platinum Serling Rooks Hunter McKoy Worob & Averill, LLP
First Horizon Music, Sports & Entertainment SoundExchange
Latham & Watkins LLP Sound Royalties
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP The MLC
Sony Music Entertainment
Spotify Bronze
Universal Music Group Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Warner Music Group BMI
Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association
Gold Boyarski Fritz
Fox Rothschild LLP Concord
Global Music Rights Greenspoon Marder
Greenberg Traurig Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
Jenner and Block NBC Universal
King Holmes Paterno & Soriano LLP Nixon Peabody
LaPolt Law PC Reed Smith LLP
Loeb & Loeb LLP The Zia Firm PLLC
Micheman & Robinson LLP Warner Chappell Music
Proskauer Rose

For all inquiries or to be added to the ELI mailing list, please contact ELI@recordingacademy.com