From professional sports leagues and teams, to rock ‘n’ roll icons, gaming pioneers and vanguard media companies, Willkie represents leaders of every kind across the entertainment, sports and media industries. Our deep bench of talented attorneys, including many of the foremost lawyers in the field, provides seamless transactional, intellectual property and litigation services to A-list talent, athletes, industry executives, leagues and teams, management and production companies, established networks and streaming platforms, and virtually any organization operating in the entertainment space. Clients rely on us to advise on business planning strategies, negotiate and structure transactions, navigate complex investments, provide counseling on branding and sponsorship opportunities, and protect valuable IP assets. When disputes arise, our entertainment litigators -¬ backed by a team of experienced trial lawyers - work creatively and efficiently towards a favorable outcome for our clients.
Our transactional attorneys represent the interests of management companies, production studios, networks and streaming services, music brands, gaming and esports developers, virtual and augmented reality companies, social media and metaverse platforms, and virtually any organization involved with developing, producing and monetizing audio/visual content or digital works, both domestically and internationally.
Clients rely on us to negotiate and structure mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, financing transactions and joint ventures, and secure key service providers and talent through executive compensation plans and equity incentive arrangements. We draw on the experience of our intellectual property attorneys to help clients develop and protect their brand strategy and monetize content through licensing and distribution agreements, sale transactions, sponsorship deals and promotional partnerships and events.
Entertainment Industry Professionals
As trusted advisors to industry professionals, we represent celebrities, A-list talent, influencers, athletes and other public figures in connection with endorsement and brand ambassador deals across a wide variety of industries, including consumer-facing brands such as apparel, wellness and fitness, beauty, skin care, spirits and other retail products, real estate and technology, including the emerging area of digital currencies and non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”). Our cutting-edge Private Clients group supports this work by handling complex business planning and income tax planning matters unique to entertainment and sports professionals.
Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the opportunities and legal challenges that can arise in the sports arena. We represent nascent and existing leagues, teams, associations, sports facilities, professionals and investors in a broad range of matters, including dispute avoidance and litigation, enforcement and compliance investigations, antitrust matters, intellectual property disputes, employment and compensation arrangements, and a full spectrum of corporate and real estate transactions. Our team is experienced in domestic and international matters and stands ready to help clients navigate the ever-changing landscape of the sports world.
Our multidisciplinary team of leading music lawyers provides guidance and transactional support to clients with recording and publishing agreements, complex licensing structures, joint ventures and investments, contracts for festivals, concerts and other live events, and the purchase and sale of music catalogs and other revenue streams. We also regularly advise social media, sports, fitness, digital media and technology companies in the integration of music assets.
When disputes arise, our entertainment litigators, led by veteran first-chair trial lawyers, apply a creative and efficient approach to help clients meet their objectives. In addition to handling a full spectrum of business and partnership disputes, our litigators are skilled in protecting valuable intellectual property assets by prosecuting and defending our entertainment clients' copyrights, trademarks, right of publicity, idea submission claims and other intellectual property assets.
Legal 500 2022 recognizes Willkie as a “Firm to Watch” for Media and Entertainment Litigation.