A Brief History of the Entertainment & Sports Law Section
By Robert R. Carter, Jr.
In the late 1980’s, attorneys Mike Tolleson of Austin and Chuck Pauley of Dallas were serving on the Law and the Arts Committee of the State Bar. “I suggested to Chuck that he and I should consider forming a Section of the Bar for entertainment lawyers,” recalls Tolleson. “I thought there were about 30 lawyers around the state doing enough entertainment work to be interested and we didn’t know how many were doing sports work. I anticipated a small club of lawyers that could benefit from having this area of practice legitimized through State Bar recognition.” Pauley drafted a letter to the State Bar Board of Directors and he and Tolleson followed the procedures required by the Bar to obtain permission to launch a new Section. Once permission was granted, they announced an organizational meeting to be held at the State Bar Convention in San Antonio on June 30, 1989. Mike chaired the meeting. Seventy-five lawyers joined as dues paying members.
The first Council meeting was held in Austin on September 22, 1989. Mike Tolleson was appointed as Chair of the Section, Chuck Pauley was Chair-Elect, Thomas Redwine was Secretary and Marinelle S. Hernlund was Treasurer. The initial Council consisted of Linda B. Cates, Ron Conover, Sylvester R. Jaime, William E. Black, Mark W. Patterson Jeffrey W. Storie, Judge Dan Downey, Jerry Lastelick and Warren Weir. Ronald Kaiser was named as the initial Journal Editor.
A membership survey conducted during 1989 identified the following areas of interest
The first issue of the Entertainment & Sports Law Journal was published in December of 1989. By the end of that year, the Section had grown to 381 members.
The Section commenced providing seminars for its members in 1990 with the first entertainment seminar, developed and coordinated by Mike Tolleson, held in Austin in April, 1990. “One model I had for the seminar was the annual entertainment law program produced by the University of Southern California which I considered to be one of the best two-day programs in the country. I thought we could and should start our own annual event here and that it would be more cost efficient to bring L.A. and N.Y. lawyers here to speak than to fly our audience there.” The result, the Entertainment Law Institute, was an $800 per person program for $265 and without the travel costs.
The first sports law seminar was held in October, 1990, in Houston and was coordinated by Sylvester R. Jaime and Steven Ellinger.
By 1995, the Section had swelled to 578 members. At that time, the composition of the members, by address, showed that most members were from Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Still, a growing number of members were coming from all across Texas. In 1995, the Section membership reached 612, which was a high water mark. Over the years, the goals and objectives of the Section have remained constant. Through networking and continuing education, the Section provides a support system to assist its members in developing and maintaining their practice in the fields of entertainment and sports. The Section continues to publish the Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, now in its 36th issue (12 under Ronald Kaiser as Editor and 24 while Sylvester R. Jaime has been Editor). The Section has sponsored or co-sponsored an entertainment law seminar every year since 1990. The Section has also sponsored or co-sponsored six (6) sports law seminars over the years, with the first telephone sports law seminar held in March, 2004. The Section has provided speakers at each annual meeting of the State Bar since 1990. With a new and improved website under construction, the Section continues to look for ways to serve its members, now numbering over 500 from all parts of the state. As charter councilmember Sylvester Jamie observes, “Although the membership fee has increased from $20.00 in 1989 to $30.00 in 2004, the Section still continues to be one of the best bargains of the Texas State Bar.”
The 21st century has seen continued membership growth, as 575 members now take advantage of ever-expanding opportunities for networking and professional development. TESLAW has been at the forefront of technology-based outreach efforts, including a Listserve, through which members can share ideas and information, in addition to our web site, which contains helpful articles covering both the sports law and entertainment law fields. Simultaneously, we have continued to grow and expand our more traditional offerings, such as the Entertainment Law Institute, which recently boasted record paid registrations of 160 attendees. Sports law telephone seminars provide an added benefit, as does the new legislative update committee, keeping members apprised of regulatory developments. We have also assisted in outreach to laypersons through our co-sponsorship of the Music Law Sessions series. At the same time, we have kept our inner workings running smoothly and efficiently with updated by-laws. Not even a decade into the new century, TESLAW is off to a great start, and plans to continue moving forward.