LOS ANGELES, CA- Kelsey Schulz (JD ‘14) knows how to manifest ambition and make it reality. Now an entertainment lawyer at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP, Kelsey had no inkling of her eventual career path when she started at Pepperdine Law. It all came down to her peer network. When Kelsey met a visiting student in her entrepreneurship class who helped her secure a summer internship at NBCUniversal, her professional fate was sealed. Kelsey is an exemplar of how to tailor one’s education to face the evolving nature of legal careers, having learned early on to market herself for the career she wanted. These days, Kelsey maintains an active relationship with the Pepperdine Law alumni network, volunteers her time with the preceptor program, and was even named Preceptor of the Year at this year’s Annual Law School Dinner. We recently caught up with her to find out how others can get that proverbial foot in the door.
“Everything started to evolve…”
Kelsey confesses, “I didn’t even know I wanted to do entertainment law when I entered Pepperdine.” Her husband, a director and producer, put the bug in her ear, suggesting Kelsey keep an open mind while exploring different classes in copyright and media law. While immersing herself in the fundamentals of a quality legal education, Kelsey also took on externships that would help develop a more malleable legal skillset. The summer after 1L, she participated in the London program, interning at Genworth Financial in Chiswick, London under Jeff Hunter (JD ‘05) and returned home to work for the Palmer Center’s Microenterprise Program. With an interest in continuing to diversity her legal skills, Kelsey secured a judicial externship for the fall of her 2L year. Meanwhile, as an editor on the Journal for Business, Entrepreneurship and the Law, she focused her research and writing on music copyright law and began volunteering with Entertainment Law Update, a podcast hosted by Gordon Firemark, found her niche in entertainment law. Without any other prior experience in entertainment, and with the help of a friendly connection, she submitted her application for the NBCUniversal internship, an experience which eventually led to more open doors at studios such as Starz Entertainment.
“Networking is probably, aside from your legal skills, the most important skill you can have.”
While seizing every opportunity to grow herself as the ultimate entertainment law candidate, Kelsey was mindful of the importance of her Pepperdine community. Through Janet Kerr, the founder of the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law, Kelsey secured a job at a small civil litigation law firm, an alternative experience to mainstream transactional entertainment law, but nevertheless, an experience she says was “essential” to securing her current position at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP. Following her time at the litigation firm, Kelsey applied for an internship and accepted an offer with Starz. It was there that she connected with Yvette Thomassian (JD ‘08), a pivotal moment of alumni networking that would eventually lead Kelsey to the position she holds today. Kelsey explains how some time down the road at a Pepperdine career fair, Yvette was at the entertainment table, and seated next to her was Jerren Wright (JD ‘09). It was Wright who would eventually connect Kelsey to hiring managers at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP. Kelsey says she is proof that if the students are willing to take advantage of that alumni network, there is so much advantage to be had.
“I couldn’t have done it without Pepperdine, without my network.”
Keen to the power of the Pepperdine network, Kelsey pays it forward by volunteering her time with the preceptor program. Kelsey’s approach to preceptorship is to create a nurturing environment and help 1Ls develop basic studying and networking tactics. Besides conducting mock interviews and delivering professional advice, Kelsey often treats preceptees to lunch, manicures, or wine nights. “I love the preceptor program,” she exclaims. “I get a lot of gratification from working with students.” Kelsey believes that as a recent graduate, she has an insight to life in law school that can be especially beneficial for first year students. Kelsey looks forward to welcoming a new class to the program this fall and continuing to extend her Pepperdine community.
- Click here to learn more about the NEW Entertainment, Media, and Sports LLM and Certificate
- If you are interested in becoming a preceptor, we invite you to contact Jessie Fahy, Director of Alumni Relations.