Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Bringing Harmony to the Music Industry
As an entertainment litigator, Robert Jacobs '92 enjoys being a problem solver. "It's the challenge of helping a client confront a problem and hopefully reach a resolution that's satisfactory, both legally and business wise," he said.
A partner in the New York office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, Jacobs says that litigation is very exciting. Every case presents a new challenge while giving him an opportunity to learn even more about the business. He has provided counsel to many giants in the music industry such as Atlantic Records, J Records, Warner Bros. Records and EMI Music publishing on a gamut of issues from breach of contract to copyright infringement, involving icons from Dionne Warwick to a member of the band KISS.
Litigation has elevated his career beyond entertainment, including a stint serving as Assistant Special Counsel to the Select Committee of Inquiry of the Connecticut House of Representatives in the impeachment of former Governor John Rowland, which Jacobs called "one of the greatest professional experiences that only comes along once in a lifetime." Raised in Los Angeles, Jacobs' first job after Southwestern took him to New York, where he served as a law clerk in the U.S. Court of International Trade and fell in love with the city. He initially developed an interest in entertainment law when he was a student in Professor Robert Lind's copyright class. "The focus at Southwestern prepared me for the profession," he said. "The faculty were so approachable and truly cared. Professors Lind and [Lawrence] Sullivan embodied that."
Jacobs also credits the impact of his post as editor-in-chief of the Southwestern University Law Review (1991-1992) as an integral part of his preparation for the legal profession. "When you're in charge of putting together a book and choosing the content and working with a staff and a team of editors, you learn a lot about the level of attention you need to give to everything you work on. The team aspect was also a great lesson because you don't practice law in a vacuum. You're always working with others."