My short, “official” bio:
Danielle Van Lier is assistant general 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.
The longer version:
I have worked in the entertainment industry for longer than I like to admit. I am currently Assistant General Counsel, Intellectual Property and Contracts at SAG-AFTRA (and previously at Screen Actors Guild), where I have worked in several 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 periodic course on the entertainment guilds’ collective bargaining agreements, and also co-taught a trademark course. I also spent several years as an adjunct professor at Western State University, College of Law, where I taught Entertainment Law and Sports law.
In 2016, I decided to go back to school. I am currently enrolled in a part-time LLM program through University of Edinburgh – yes, in Scotland. Going back to school, especially in an online format, has been an adjustment. The LLM is in Innovation, Technology, and the Law, focused on intellectual property and information technology law.
In late-2018, I launched a photography side business. After taking some photography workshops/tours, I rediscovered the joy photography brought me. I have always enjoyed it and there are several reasons I stopped traveling with my camera for a while (including the improvement in cell phone cameras). I am slowly developing that business, but I have already sold some prints, stock photos, and greeting cards with my work. You can see my work on this site as well as my photography site. My stock photos are available on Getty’s iStock and Shutterstock, and will also be on Alamy. I am planning to launch a crowd-funding campaign in the near future to help get the retail side of the business off the ground.
I am past-chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s sports and entertainment network and a past board member of its Southern California chapter. I previously 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 chaired its annual sports and entertainment law Conference, hosted by the chapter in coordination with the global network. In my last year on the board, I launched the chapter’s in-house boot camp – a nearly full-day conference directed to experienced attorneys who are new to working in-house and to GCs in small law departments. The boot camp was live-streamed to ACC members around the country, one of the first such programs.
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.