About

My short, “official” bio:

Danielle Van Lier is senior counsel, intellectual property and contracts at SAG-AFTRA. She is responsible for managing SAG-AFTRA’s third-party contracts and intellectual property, as well as other efforts aimed at protecting the rights of SAG-AFTRA and its members. Ms. Van Lier has written several amicus curiae briefs on behalf of SAG-AFTRA and other parties in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the California Supreme Court on issues such as rights of publicity, copyright, and the California Talent Agencies Act.

She is an adjunct professor at Southwestern Law School and previously served as adjunct professor at Western State University, College of Law. Before joining Screen Actors Guild, Ms. Van Lier practiced law in Los Angeles. Prior to entering practice, she served as a legislative fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ms. Van Lier is a board member of ACC Southern California. Additionally, she helped found, and still serves on the board of, Saving Wildlife International, a nonprofit wildlife education company.

She earned her BS from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her JD from Washington University School of Law.

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The longer version:

I have worked in the entertainment industry for longer than I like to admit. I am currently Senior Counsel, Intellectual Property at SAG-AFTRA (and Screen Actors Guild before the merger), where I have worked in several different positions of progressive responsibility. In my position, I am responsible for managing SAG-AFTRA’s third-party contracts and intellectual property (including its trademarks), as well as other efforts aimed at protecting the rights of SAG-AFTRA and its members. For several years, I have overseen the union’s amicus program through which I have written numerous amicus curiae briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit and other federal appellate courts, and the California Supreme Court on issues that affect the Guild’s members, such as right of publicity, copyright, and the California Talent Agencies Act.

I am also an adjunct professor at Southwestern Law School, where I teach a summer course called Entertainment Guilds, focused on the guilds’ collective bargaining agreements. I also spent several years as an adjunct professor at Western State University, College of Law, where I taught Entertainment Law and Sports law.

Last year, I decided to go back to school part time. I am currently enrolled in a postgraduate program through University of Edinburgh – yes, in Scotland. Going back to school, especially in an online format, has been an adjustment. In my first semester (Copyright and Related Rights), I managed a 67/100, which I am assured is quite good by UK standards (the class average was 61.44 and the median was 64) – it translates to a B+/3.3 in the US. I’m still debating whether to do the full LLM program, or just the 3 semester Postgraduate Certificate.

I am Chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Sports and Entertainment Committee and on the board of its Southern California chapter. Since 2013, I have chaired the chapter’s annual In-House Counsel Conference, which is an all-day conference, held over two days at two different venues. I also chair the annual Sports and Entertainment Law Conference, hosted by the chapter in coordination with the global committee.

Before joining Screen Actors Guild, I practiced law in Los Angeles, first for a small litigation firm and then a solo practice for a short time. I worked with independent production companies and Internet ventures.

I received my J.D. from Washington University School of Law, in St. Louis, Missouri, where I also completed substantial coursework toward a Masters of Arts degree in East Asian Studies. Why didn’t I finish, you might ask? I often wonder that, myself. At the time, it was the right thing to do, although it isn’t without regret as time went on. While in law school, I spent a semester in DC, where I served as a Legislative Fellow in the United States House of Representatives (for Congressman Berman). I worked on a number of subjects, including intellectual property, the Internet, immigration, and international and judicial issues and got a first-hand look at how the proverbial sausage is made.

My undergraduate studies culminated in a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Japanese Language, Literature, and Cultural Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara.  I spent time living and studying in Japan, which is like a second home to me. I try to go back at least every few years.

I play hockey and am an avid L.A. Kings fan.