More than 200 attendees were on hand at the 6th annual Tulane Entertainment and Sports Law Conference in early March, a two-day event that brought in excess of 40 high-profile speakers and was capped by a keynote conversation with actor and Breaking Bad star Jonathan Banks.
The conference was jointly hosted by Tulane Law School and the Tulane Center for Sport.
The conference has become a go-to event for lawyers, students, and other professionals in these two fast-evolving industries. Those in attendance heard from heavyweights in both the sports and entertainment worlds during a series of 10 panels across Friday and Saturday, including a mock TV negotiation led by conference organizer and alumnus Jeff Frost (L’89), president and founder of Bristol Circle Entertainment and a leading figure in the entertainment industry; a discussion of high-profile entertainment and sports work led by conference organizer Kevin Yorn (L’90), founding partner of the Yorn Levine Entertainment Law Firm, which represents superstars like Alicia Keys, Ellen DeGeneres, Jason Sudeikis and others; as well as panels on diversity and licensing led by conference organizer, Tim Francis (L ’84)— with the Sher Garner firm who has worked with artists and athletes like Stevie Wonder and Lionel Hampton.
The two-day event also included top brass from sports leagues and teams like the National Football League, the New Orleans Saints, Pelicans, and the Washington Nationals; investors in teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and Leeds United FC; partners at several major entertainment and sports law firms; Academy and Grammy Award winners; and representatives from college sports, the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games, ESPN, Amazon, Netflix, Sony Pictures, SiriusXM and others.
In Banks’ no-holds-barred conversation with Frost, the actor spoke of his career strategy (“I just work” and “celebrate this amazing career that I have been fortunate to have”) and the need for humility in the acting profession.
Banks also spoke candidly about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry as well as the advent of streaming services on actors. Mostly, Banks was immensely humble. He detailed his early career where he “faced losing our home more than once” and his role as tortured hitman Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad.
“What can I say about Mike? I love him. He is tortured, flawed…and I love him.”
To view the Conference’s agenda, click here.
In addition to the keynote, the conference highlighted issues emerging and disrupting sports and entertainment, emerging trends, and addressing diversity in the fields. On Friday, six different panels on cutting-edge entertainment and sports topics featured speakers who have represented or worked with superstars in both entertainment and sports fields. The panelists were top lawyers and investors from the NFL, NBA, MLB, Premier League, as well as Academy Award and Grammy Award winners, top executives from major platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime and others.
Saturday’s panels— a new addition to the format for 2023 reflecting the continued growth of the conference— were open to students and recent alumni, who were able to hear from high-profile speakers on topics like “Breaking into the Industry” which were designed with young professionals and early-career practitioners in mind.
The event is organized annually by Tulane Law Professor Gabe Feldman, Director of the Sports Law Program and the Sher Garner Professor of Sports Law alongside Yorn, Francis and Frost.