Theme III: Classes that Changed Our Lives, Entertainment Law

SpeilerBy Alexa Spieler, Steinhardt ‘17

Prior to matriculating at New York University, my family members and former teachers told me that in college, every student finds one course and one professor who changes everything. For me, the life-altering course was Entertainment Law and the professor was Richard Hendler. Before enrolling in Entertainment Law within the Stern School of Business, my intentions were to pursue a career in music journalism or public relations. However, after completing the class, the plans I once thought of as certain soon altered into the undeniable path that I knew I was meant to go along: entertainment law.

Professor Hendler not only revealed to me the world of copyright law and trademark law, but also pushed me to vocalize the confident voice that I always knew I possessed but never had the courage to exude. In one particular instance, during an optional, end of semester trial, Professor Hendler offered the class the opportunity to litigate in a mock trial at the Southern District of New York Courthouse. Both teams were assigned two cases that were previously filed but had not yet been settled. I litigated for a trial pertaining to the case of Frank Sivero vs. 21st Century Fox involving parody and fair use.

What ultimately proved most intriguing about the mock trial was that most of the day’s events were meant to catch one off-guard, to portray a realistic courtroom environment. None of the litigators knew who would be delivering the closing argument, and in the moment of revelation, I heard my name called to the stand to deliver the statement, something I would not have believed that I would be doing when I first started the course. During the trial, Professor Hendler instructed me to show off my newfound voice and confidence. All along, he had seen my potential.

Though I have a long-road ahead, I now know the path that I aspire to pursue. Without Professor Hendler’s assistance, my career path could have remained stagnant, but now, I confidently know where my future resides. Hendler always noted that my legal analysis was strong, and with his help, I found my voice. Most importantly of all, I discovered my unequivocal passion. As I move forward in my fledging legal career, I aspire to continue to demonstrate the confidence that Professor Hendler bestowed upon me.

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