Alumna Jennifer Taormina-Lawson is an Associate Attorney for an Entertainment Law Firm in New York City Alumni Profile
Meet Jennifer Taormina-Lawson '13
- Job Title & Employer
- Associate Attorney, Ralph DePalma P.C., an entertainment-focused boutique law firm in New York City
- Job Title & Employer
- Board of Directors, Steeltown Entertainment Project
- Cinema Production
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- High School
- Penn Hills High School
- Now Living In
- New York, N.Y.
- Hobbies & Interests
- TV, movies, music, drawing, painting, embroidery and spending valuable time with my son, Nico, and my husband.
"The classes and faculty at Point Park still impact my work to this day. I interned at Sony Music Entertainment and SAG-AFTRA while in law school, and I know that I was awarded those opportunities because of my undergraduate education and experience. There is no doubt about that."
Highlight your career/professional path since graduating from Point Park University.
After graduation, I worked in the industry in quite a few different ways. After interning at Steeltown, I was offered a few gigs with them as an associate producer, production manager and line producer. Concurrently, I worked full time for One Louder Productions, a reality TV development company, led by Bob Kusbit, former president of MTV and CMT.
After leaving One Louder, I returned to Steeltown, only this time as the manager of the Youth in Media program where I was also a teaching artist and line producer for the show "Reel Teens: Pittsburgh." I was lucky enough to produce the feature film, "Back for Good." I also worked for different productions as they came to town, but most notably, I was the first assistant director and production manager on Mac Miller’s music video "Brand Name."
Producing was wonderful and I enjoyed it thoroughly, but the more I learned about the entertainment industry, the more questions I had regarding intellectual property and employment laws. Quite often, I was tasked with drafting contracts, and answering employment related questions. I also was interested in possibly becoming a talent agent so law school seemed to be the right next step for me.
Tell us about the work you do for an entertainment law firm in New York City.
Generally speaking, I am a transactional attorney and I spend my days negotiating contracts for my clients. My clients range from music producers, to production companies, to ad agencies and tech companies. I basically ensure that my clients get what they deserve. That could mean making sure they are compensated appropriately or that they have ownership rights over content they created. Copyright law in and of itself is extremely dense and convoluted. I do the hard work for my clients and make it easier for them to create without fear that someone will steal their work or take credit where credit is not deserved. I make sure that their hard work, blood, sweat and tears are not for nothing, which, unfortunately, happens often in this industry.
How have our classes and faculty impacted the work you do?
The classes and faculty at Point Park still impact my work to this day. First, I interned at Sony Music Entertainment and SAG-AFTRA while in law school, and I know that I was awarded those opportunities because of my undergraduate education and experience. There is no doubt about that.
Secondly though, and more importantly, the professors there all gave me life lessons I will pass down to my son. They have influenced me in more ways than they know and prepared me to do things with my life that until I graduated from Point Park, I couldn't even imagine I could accomplish. Special shout out to Laura Boyd, Chris Sepesy, Lisa Smith Reed, Randy Kovitz, Rick Hawkins, Nelson Chipman, Jeremy Braverman, Steve Cuden, Andrew Halasz and Marty Schiff.
What career advice do you have for our cinema students?
Always do a little bit more than is asked of you. If you do that, opportunities will fall in your lap!
What are your favorite Point Park memories?
I was lucky enough to go to Los Angeles for the cinema showcase twice. Seeing my films on the big screen at the Directors Guild of America with the rest of my crew was an experience I will never forget. Those trips weren't just a blast – they were also huge moments in my development as a working adult! I had never left Pittsburgh for anything other than a family vacation. Those trips made the next steps in my life way less scary. The world had opened up and I was ready to dive in!