Southwestern Law School has announced that faculty members Neil Ollivierra and Robert Lind will serve as the new co-directors of the nationally recognized Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute.

Lind is a Southwestern icon, renowned entertainment law expert, prolific author of preeminent texts and treatises, and a mentor and champion of students and alums alike. Prior to his appointment at Southwestern,  Ollivierra served as in-house counsel to various motion picture and television studios at the highest level of business and legal affairs, including Lionsgate Entertainment (The Hunger Games, The Twilight franchise, Orange Is the New Black, Mad Men) and EuropaCorp (Lucy, Taken, The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita).

Together, their combined expertise, experience, passion and industry affiliations will help to ensure the continued success and growth of the Institute in the spirit of its beloved namesake, Donald E. Biederman. He was a highly admired teacher, scholar, and pioneer in the world of entertainment and media law and the Institute’s founding director.

Neil Ollivierra

Ollivierra, who is new to the full-time faculty, is also an accomplished software developer and musical and visual artist. He has designed complex databases for creative, legal, accounting and physical production executives at film and television studios, and with respect to his musical endeavors he has toured and recorded throughout North America, Europe and Japan. His paintings have been acquired by corporate entities and private collectors in Paris, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Detroit.

The Renaissance man, who was awarded his bachelor’s degree in arts, film, and video at Columbia College in Chicago before earning his juris doctor at Southwestern,  says he feels “privileged and honored to join Southwestern’s esteemed faculty, which includes executives and legal counsel to the most celebrated studios, record labels, publishers, galleries, museums, law firms and talent agencies in world.”

He humbly credits his appointment as a “testament to the quality of education received at Southwestern as well as to the many attorneys, representatives and executives with whom I’ve had the pleasure of doing business and from whom I’ve learned over the years.”

Robert Lind

According to Professor Lind, the “prime directive” for he and Professor Ollivierra, “is to assist Southwestern’s students and alums with externships, law firm practicums, paid internships and employment.  The ability to track the progress made by students will help us place them in rewarding positions. Tracking our alums and their positions, expertise et cetera, allows us to facilitate the needs of those interested in broadening their employment portfolio.” To that end, Ollivierra–who is wrapping up his second week on campus–already has a robust proprietary database in the works.

Professor Lind’s academic and professional credentials include: B.E.S., summa cum laude, Legal and Intellectual History, 1976, University of Minnesota; J.D., 1979, Teaching Fellow, 1979-81, and LL.M., 1983, with highest honors, George Washington University; Phi Beta Kappa; Phi Kappa Phi; Member, California State and District of Columbia Bars. He began his law career as a consultant to the American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA), and the American Association of Museums in Washington, D.C., assisting in the research and writing of Museum Trusteeship and Serving Two Masters, a work regarding conflicts of interests in museums. As a teaching fellow at the National Law Center at George Washington University, he taught legal research, writing and professional responsibility and also taught labor history at Marymount College of Virginia.

Since 1981, Professor Lind has been a member of the faculty at Southwestern where he has continued to develop cutting-edge entertainment, intellectual property, and media law courses, seminars, externships and practicums. He has worked to provide employment opportunities to numerous alums interested in practicing entertainment and media law. He assisted in the founding of the Southwestern Entertainment and Intellectual Property Alumni Association (SWEIP). He was honored as the Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor of Law in 2001, and as the Paul E. Treusch Professor of Law in 2005. In 2006, he was honored with the Upper Division Professor Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2008, he received the Outstanding Friend Award from the Southwestern Law School Alumni Association. He served as Director of the Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute in 2009-10. In 2015, he was named the Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law.

The Institute

Southwestern’s Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute was established in 2000 to take advantage of the law school’s long history of involvement with the entertainment and media industries. It features a rich spectrum of media and entertainment law courses on subjects ranging from music publishing and motion picture production law to technology agreements and information privacy law. Southwestern has been recognized as one of the top 12 law schools in the country for entertainment law by The Hollywood Reporter, and as No. 1 in the Top Law Schools for Entertainment Law by lawstreetmedia.com, among other honors.

The Institute’s comprehensive entertainment law externship program enables students to earn credit while working for leading companies and organizations such as the Lionsgate Entertainment, Warner/Chappell Music, Funny or Die, and the Independent Film and Television Alliance. Outstanding students are selected as Biederman Scholars through which they participate in a variety of Institute initiatives, including an industry mentor program, behind-the-scenes participation in Biederman Institute programs such as the “A Conversation with…” series, and priority placement in entertainment and media company externships and law firm practicums. The Entertainment Law Summer Session on campus and the London Summer Program in International Entertainment & Media Law offer specialized courses and opportunities in the field to experience life and work in the entertainment and media capitals of the U.S. and Europe. For attorneys who wish to expand their expertise in these areas, Southwestern established the nation’s first LL.M. degree in media and entertainment law.

The Institute maintains a direct connection to the industries through its alumni network, including a special Entertainment and Intellectual Property Alumni Association. Its highly experienced faculty is comprised of current and former practitioners in media, sports and entertainment law, as well as esteemed academics. The site of frequent guest lectures, conferences and other symposia, it serves as a valuable resource for the profession, while keeping the campus abuzz with industry-related events and discussions. The Institute also publishes the Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law in conjunction with the ABA Forums on Communications Law and the Entertainment and Sports Industries. Through a unique course on Entertainment Law and Web 2.0, participating students research, write and post on matters related to entertainment law and serve as editors of the award-winning Biederman Blog.

Steven G. Krone, former President and Chief Operating Officer of Village Roadshow Pictures Entertainment and a onetime member of the Chapman University law school and film school faculty, served as the Institute’s director from June, 2010, until he was succeeded by Olliviera and Lind.

Donald E. Biederman

Prior to joining Southwestern’s full-time faculty in 2000, Professor Biederman served for nearly two decades as executive vice president and general counsel and executive vice president of business affairs at Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., the world’s largest music publishing company. Earlier in his career, he was a partner in the law firm of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, vice president of legal affairs and administration for ABC Records, Inc., and a general attorney for CBS Records Group, among other positions in private practice and government.

He  began his affiliation with Southwestern in 1983 as an adjunct professor of law offering some of the law school’s first entertainment law courses. Over the ensuing years, he taught a variety of popular cutting edge courses to hundreds of students. Upon his appointment to the full-time faculty as director of the Institute, he devoted himself to enhancing recognition for the Institute and recruiting a cadre of leading entertainment law experts from around the world to serve on the Advisory Board, as adjunct professors in specialized entertainment and media law courses, and as guest lecturers. He also established the continuing series “A Conversation With…” that features lively interviews with prominent industry experts.

Professor Biederman was also the author or editor of some of the most comprehensive publications on entertainment and media law, including International Entertainment Law (with L. Sobel, Praeger Publishers, 2003) and Law & Business of the Entertainment Industries: Fourth Edition (with Silfen, et.al., Praeger Publishers, 2001). He also gave generously of his time to the legal profession and the community, and in March 2000, he was honored by the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Entertainment Law Section as the Entertainment Lawyer of the Year. He earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University in 1955 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1958. In 1970, he earned his Master of Laws degree in taxation from New York University School of Law.