Jay Shanker is a veteran entertainment industry attorney whose practice encompasses all aspects of entertainment, online and new media law. The Oklahoma native joined McAfee & Taft in 2005 after practicing law in Los Angeles for nearly 25 years.

Jay’s business affairs and legal expertise extends to the development, production and distribution of television and motion picture programming (including international co-productions), recorded music projects, live stage and events, book publishing, online and interactive media, and fine arts representation.

During his career, Jay has represented public, private and not-for-profit companies, along with individual producers, directors, writers, actors, musical and visual artists, industry executives and entrepreneurs. His individual clients have over the years garnered prestigious international awards in every major creative media, including Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Clio award recognition.

Jay is co-author of Entertainment Law & Business, the third edition of which was published by Juris in 2013, and contributing co-author of Entertainment and Media Law Client Strategies, published by Aspatore Books in 2007. He was also a contributing editor for Entertainment Industry Contracts, published by Matthew Bender in 1996 and co-editor of Law and the Television of the ‘80s, published by Oceana in 1982. He has served as adjunct professor of law at both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University, and has lectured on entertainment industry legal matters at UCLA, USC and the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles and New York. Jay has served on the advisory committee of the AFI’s Third Decade Council and was a founding member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences board of governors.

Jay’s achievements have earned him inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (entertainment law – motion pictures and television; entertainment law – music).  He is also one of only 440 lawyers worldwide to be selected for inclusion in Who’s Who Legal – Sports and Entertainment 2015.

Prior to embarking on his law career, Jay worked for two years as a VISTA volunteer analyst/community organizer on issues of occupational safety and employment discrimination policy in San Francisco, California.

Representative Experience

Representation of entertainment industry clients in structuring, negotiating and documenting agreements for:

  • Acquisition and sale of “underlying rights” (e.g., screenplays, novels, life stories, etc.) as the basis for motion picture and television productions
  • Motion picture and television production, financing and distribution
  • Employment of actors, writers, directors, producers and other key production personnel
  • Executive employment with studios, networks and other media companies
  • Agency and talent management company representation
  • Record companies and musical recording artists
  • Book publishing
  • Merchandising and licensing of creative content
  • Informercials and product endorsements
  • Copyright and trademark research and registration filings
  • Fine artist and art gallery representation
  • Formation and maintenance of new business entities (corporations, LLCs, partnerships, etc.) in the entertainment and creative industries, including business and strategic planning consulting.

Honors and Awards

  • Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (entertainment law – motion pictures and television)
  • Selected for inclusion in Who’s Who Legal – Sports and Entertainment 2015
  • Honored with The Journal Record’s Leadership in Law Award, recognizing legal professionals for their professional and civic contributions to the state (2009)

Professional Organizations and Memberships

  • State Bar of California
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Oklahoma Bar Association
  • American Bar Association (Section of Entertainment and Sports Law)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Authors Guild
  • Dramatists Guild (Associate Member)

Civic Involvement and Leadership

  • Harding Charter Preparatory High School (Board of Directors)
  • Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools (Board of Directors, 2012–2014; Executive Board, 2013-2014)
  • Untitled [Art Space] (Past President; Board Member, 2007-2012)
  • deadCENTER Film Festival (Board Member, 2007-2010)
  • The Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City (Board Member, 2007 - 2008)
  • Oklahoma Creativity Project (Vice Chair, 2006 - 2009)
  • STREETLIGHTS (Board Member, 2002-2005)
  • World Neighbors (Trustee, 1995 – 1997)
  • American Film Institute (Third Decade Council Advisory Committee, 1990-1994)
  • Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors (Founding Member)



When the stars align: Negotiating celebrity endorsement deals

McAfee & Taft tIPsheet Intellectual Property Newsletter | June 2013

Entertainment Law & Business

Juris Publishers | 2013 (Third Edition) (Co-Author)

Hitting Replay

The Journal Record | October 27, 2011

Entertainment and Media Law Client Strategies

Aspatore Books | 2007 (Contributing Co-Author)

Entertainment Industry Contracts

Matthew Bender & Sons | 1996 (Contributing Editor)
  • Law and the Television of the ‘80s
    Oceana Press | 1982 (Co-Editor)

    In The News

    At The Podium