Recording Academy to Honor Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association at January Event

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Charles Rex Arbogast/AP/REX/Shutterstock (6352473o) Grammy Award A Grammy Award statue is photographed, in Chicago Grammy Award, Chicago, USA

By Jem Aswad – Amid yet another Grammy Awards season loaded with controversy, the Recording Academy will honor the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association at its 23rd annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship Presentation, which will take place during Grammy Week in a new virtual format. The event is invite-only.

Grammy Award Grammys PlaceholderAt the event, BESLA will be honored with the 2021 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award. This honor is awarded to an attorney or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. The winner of this year’s Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Competition (to be announced in January) will also be recognized during the virtual event. Other program participants include Recording Academy Chair and interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr., Recording Academy Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, Entertainment Law Initiative Executive Committee Chair Laurie Soriano, and Entertainment Law Initiative Program Chair Ken Abdo (Fox Rothschild LLP). Additional details will be announced in January.

The ELI is intended to promote discussion and debate about the legal issues facing the music industry.

One of the primary educational initiatives of the Entertainment Law Initiative is the national legal writing contest and scholarship program, which is co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. This year’s writing contest scholarships are sponsored by Fox Rothschild LLP. Law students from across the country have been invited to research, analyze and submit essays regarding important issues facing the music industry. The contest is open to juris doctor or master of laws candidates currently enrolled at any U.S. law school. A $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to the author of the winning paper, and a $2,500 scholarship will be awarded to the runners-up. The winning student and two runners-up will be recognized during the 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship Presentation to provide a forum for interaction with successful attorneys in the field. Earlier this month, of the Entertainment Law Initiative hosted an Info Session for students interested in submitting for this year’s Writing Competition to learn from previous student winners, in addition to gaining career advice from top entertainment lawyers. Watch it here.

For complete Entertainment Law Initiative writing contest rules, visit For further questions, email

The Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, on the CBS Television Network from 8:00–11:30 p.m. ET/5:00–8:30 p.m. PT with Emmy Award-winning “The Daily Show” host and comedian Trevor Noah serving as host.

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