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.

23-24 Entertainment Law Initiative Executive Committee 23-24 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 upcoming ELI professional and student events, online programs, and other opportunities.

Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY® Week Event

The 26th Annual ELI GRAMMY Week Event will be held on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024 in Los Angeles.

The Recording Academy is thrilled to announce that our 2024 ELI Service Award honoree is Michael Kushner, Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs of Atlantic Records, and our keynote speaker for the event will be Michelle Jubelirer, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Records. See more details on this announcement here:


26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative To Honor Atlantic Records' Michael Kushner During GRAMMY Week 2024 Ahead Of The 2024 GRAMMYs

Table sponsor packages are currently available for $3,250 and up. Contact Neil Crilly if interested, neil.crilly@recordingacademy.com. Single admission tickets will be available for purchase soon.

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

2024 Submissions Now Open

The annual 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.

See Official Contest Rules for entry requirements and full prize packages.

Help us spread the word with our Writing Contest Social Media Toolkit!

This fall, we hosted a Writing Contest Info Session featuring past winners Christopher Chiang and Sona Sulakian and ELI Executive Committee members Laurie Soriano and Stephanie Yu. Check it out on our YouTube page here.



$10,000 tuition scholarship

Two tickets to the 66th GRAMMY Awards®

Two tickets to the 26th Entertainment Law Initiative

Two tickets to MusiCares® Person of the Year

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


$2,500 tuition scholarship

Mentorship session with an ELI leadership attorney


SUBMISSION DEADLINE Jan. 3, 2024 | 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET



26th Entertainment Law Initiative Feb. 2, Beverly Wilshire Hotel

MusiCares Person of the Year Feb. 2, Los Angeles Convention Center

66th GRAMMY Awards Feb. 4, Crypto.com Arena


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”

2020 Winner & Runners-Up

Winner: Christopher Chiang, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

“Copyright Protection Designed for Music’s Illusory Innovation Space: A Sliding Scale Framework of Broad to Thin Protection”

Runner-Up: Graham Fenton, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

“Taming The Ticket Market: How A Closed Ticketing System Can Beat Back Scalpers And Recapture Lost Revenue”

Runner-Up: John Gilbertson, Drake University Law School, Des Moines, IA

“Play It Again, Sam: The Free-Market Case For Government Intervention In The Music Streaming Sector”

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