Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

December 14, 2012
2012-2013 Biederman Scholars Selected

In an effort to recognize excellence in academic achievement, and encourage and facilitate career success, the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute established the Biederman Scholars program to help expand opportunities for promising future entertainment lawyers. The four students named this year as Biederman Scholars are Matthew Alsberg, Arya Djafroudi, Sarah Swanson and Matthew Whibley.

2012-2013 Biederman Scholars
(from left) Swanson, Alsberg, Whibley and Djafroudi

"Matthew, Arya, Sarah and Matthew were selected from among an extraordinarily talented group of Southwestern students," said Professor Steve Krone, Director of the Biederman Institute. "Each of them combines outstanding academic credentials, a rich and interesting background and a fabulous work ethic. They have consistently excelled, and I expect great things of them in the future."

As Biederman Scholars, they will take part in a variety of Institute initiatives, including an industry mentor program, behind-the-scenes participation in Biederman Institute programs such as the "A Conversation with..." series, and priority placement in entertainment and media company externships and law firm practicums. The Biederman Scholars will also assist faculty in developing new and continuing Biederman Institute programs such as the entertainment and media law blog, the Biederman Awards event held to honor outstanding members of the Southwestern entertainment and media law community, a new summer international program in India, and an Entertainment and the Arts Legal Aid Clinic.

Matthew Alsberg, a second-year evening student, has been a professional composer and music producer for almost 15 years. He is a member of the Moot Court Honors Program, serves as a Dean's Fellow and a Teaching Assistant for Professor Krone's Contracts course, and participated in the Biederman Institute's London Summer program. He is interested in pursuing a career in motion picture and television transactions and would eventually like to work in a COO position at a production house.

"The first week of school, I walked into Professor Krone's office - he was my Contracts professor - and asked him what I needed to do to break into the world of entertainment law," Alsberg said. "He saw I was anxious and just told me flat out to focus on my grades the first year of law school. His advice seems to have paid off, and now here I am. Networking is great, and obviously necessary to career movement, but it's our work product that shapes our reputation. At a school that takes such pride in its Entertainment Law program and in its ability to educate adept attorneys, it is humbling to be recognized in both."

Arya Djafroudi, a second-year day student, is a member of the Law Review and the Moot Court Honors Program, as well as a Dean's Fellow. He also serves as a Research Assistant for Professor Keren. He is interested in pursuing a career in video game law because the Interactive Entertainment industry is booming and he finds video games to be the "ultimate form of expression" because it is "the one medium that combines every art form (film, music, animation, literature, etc) and then makes it interactive."

"It feels wonderful to be selected as a Biederman Scholar," Djafroudi said. "Good grades and other scholastic accomplishments are rewarding in their own right, but there is something special about being recognized by the school's faculty and being selected out of such a bright group of individuals. Further, the main reason I came to Southwestern is because of its robust and highly respected Entertainment Law program. Thus, to be officially recognized and ‘sponsored' so to speak by the Entertainment Law department gives me hope and motivation that I made the right choice."

Sarah Swanson, a second-year day student, is a member of the Law Review and has served as a Research or Teaching Assistant for Professors Calnan, Hart, Strader and Tehranian. After taking Copyright Law with Professor Lind, a course she found both challenging and inspiring, she plans on becoming a copyright litigator.

Born in Northern California, Swanson grew up in Iowa and always wanted to go to law school and live in Los Angeles. "I feel as though I'm not only getting a law school education, but I'm also learning a lot about life because of how different LA is from Iowa," she said. "It is a wonderful feeling to be selected as a Biederman Scholar. I found out about the program last semester while I was taking Copyright. When Professor Tehranian told me he nominated me, I was very excited. After meeting with Professor Krone, I felt like the program would offer a lot of much needed guidance."

Matthew Whibley, a second-year day student, is a member of the Law Review and serves as a Teaching Assistant for LAWS. He has directed music videos and also performed with the Canadian band Sum 41. With a primary interest in music, his goal is to become an entertainment transactional lawyer.

"Law school was always something I thought about pursuing," said Whibley, who moved to Los Angeles from Canada four years ago and loves the weather and the live music scene. "So far, I think it's one of the best decisions I've ever made," he said. "It's challenging and intense, but very rewarding. The skills I have learned here have been invaluable.... Southwestern has some seriously impressive entertainment alumni. The Biederman Scholar award will help me pursue my goal of working alongside some of those alumni in the entertainment industry."
The candidates were identified by consensus among the Biederman Institute faculty, nominated by the Biederman Institute director, and approved by the Institute's executive board. In order to be considered as a Biederman Scholar, students must be in the top 10% of their class and have a demonstrated interest in entertainment or media law.