Michael Kernan has more than 20 years’ experience in entertainment law and is well versed in all aspects of entertainment law.
Mr. Kernan is the managing partner of Kernan Law, which he founded in 2008. Prior to opening the Kernan Law Firm, he worked at top law firms and companies in the entertainment industry. Mr. Kernan began his career and first gained notoriety in the entertainment law field as a litigator at Lavely & Singer in Los Angeles, one of the most well-known entertainment firms in the country. During this time, Kernan and his mentor, Marty Singer, successfully represented actor Jean Claude Van Damme in a jury trial televised on Court TV. The jury returned a unanimous verdict for Van Damme. Also during this time, Kernan and Mr. Singer successfully represented Arnold Schwarzenegger in a lawsuit against The Globe tabloid. Also while at Lavely & Singer, Kernan won a large arbitration award on behalf of actor Dana Carvey.
In 2000, Mr. Kernan moved into the practice of entertainment and new media transactional law, where he served as Vice-President, Business Affairs, at the international talent agency ICM. While at ICM, Kernan represented actors, writers, directors and producers in entertainment and new media deals. Kernan was named Co-Head of the ICM New Media Department, overseeing digital media for ICM's New York, London and Los Angeles offices. Kernan was very successful at uniting ICM’s offices, and as an example he packaged a deal for a client from the London office, Hoodlum Entertainment with ABC, wherein Kernan negotiated the terms for Hoodlum to create the Emmy Nominated web experience for the “Lost” television show. Kernan has emerged as one of the few leading experts in making deals in the Entertainment/New Media area.
In 2008, Mr. Kernan opened the Kernan Law Firm, a boutique entertainment and digital media law firm located on The Jim Henson Film Lot in West Hollywood, California. Kernan is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at The University of California, Hastings College of Law, where he has taught Entertainment Law (including new media) and Social Media Law since 2007.
Mr. Kernan graduated from the University of Illinois of Urbana-Champaign, with an economics and finance double major. He attended law school at Saint Louis University School of Law and the University of California, Hastings College of Law, where he served as the Executive Associate Editor of the Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal. Mr. Kernan also graduated from Harvard Business School’s Executive M.B.A. (O.P.M.) program. At Harvard, his digital media strategies won runner up in the First Year Business Strategy Competition.
Mr. Kernan was named to the “Digital Power 50” by The Hollywood Reporter, as one of the 50 most powerful people in digital entertainment.
Mr. Kernan speaks regularly on the subjects of entertainment law and new media deal-making at prestigious new media conferences and schools, including Harvard Law School’s Symposium on Entertainment Law, NATPE (the largest television conference), The Sundance Film Festival and the Digital Hollywood Conferences.
- Author: Current Legal Issues Facing Producers, Including Liability for the Content of their Productions (Hastings Communications & Entertainment Law Journal)
- Author: Playing To The Strengths Of A Very Small Screen: A Guide To Producing Content for Mobile Phones (Adweek)
- Author: Negotiating Deals With An Eye Towards California’s Accord & Satisfaction Rule (California Lawyer)
- Author: Privacy in Social Media (Hastings Communications & Entertainment Law Journal)
- Professor: Entertainment Law, University of California, Hastings College of Law
- Member: State Bar of California, Entertainment Division (1996 through present)
- Member: Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 2000 to present
- Judge for the Primetime Emmys (2000 to present), Daytime Emmys (2000 – Present)
- Member: Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations
Reviews & Ratings
I FEEL SO BLESSED TO HAVE FOUND THIS MAN!!! ALWAYS REPLYS BACK TO ME QUICKLY. VERY THANKFUL TO HIM AND HIS TEAM.
"I think the best way to rate is to detail my experience. I hope this review helps. I'm an independent producer who, due to differences of opinions, had been inexcusably ousted from a project. I went above and beyond (the EP's words, not...
Mr. Kernan has handled everything from transactional production and development contract negotiations, to civil/entertainment litigation and arbitration matters, for me for over a decade. His consistently unrelenting and winning approach, ...
represented my company, Omniquest Media, LLC on two cases and delivered well above and beyond expectations
Mr. Kernan's PROFESSIONALISM, INTEGRITY and EXCELLENCE surpassed every SINGLE expectation that I held in mind. It is NO understatement when I say he SHATTERED my image of what an ATTORNEY is about!!! Stephen’s attention to the FINE DETAIL...