Suzanne Kessler is an entertainment attorney and documentary filmmaker. She began her legal career at Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, LLP, a Beverly Hills entertainment law firm, where she worked in the transactional entertainment department, focusing in the film, music, copyright, and trademark areas. She serviced studios and production companies (such as MGM, Universal, and Turner Broadcasting System), record companies (such as MCA Records and Curb Records), and assorted independent film and television producers and talent. During six years at Universal Music Group (“UMG”), she was the Director of Business and Legal Affairs for A&M Records in Hollywood and served as Vice President of Business Development for UMG’s Nashville operations. While at UMG, Kessler helped develop new media strategies and facilitate intellectual property anti-piracy efforts.
Most recently, Kessler has provided entertainment and intellectual property law counsel as a business and legal affairs consultant to recording artists, artist managers, and film and television production companies, including The Walt Disney Company. She graduated from Brown University with honors in English, earned her master's degree in documentary film production from Stanford University, and her law degree from Stanford Law School. At Stanford Law School, Kessler served as co-chair of the Entertainment Law Society and was awarded first prize in the Nathan Burkan Memorial Competition for excellence in copyright law research and writing, sponsored by ASCAP.
Kessler has appeared as a guest speaker at many prominent entertainment industry conferences, including SXSW (South By Southwest), the Cutting Edge Music Business Conference and Roots Music Gathering, and the Southeastern Regional Entertainment & Sports Law Conference. She is affiliated with a variety of legal and entertainment organizations, including the American Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, the Nashville Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. She is the current Chair of the Nashville Bar Association Entertainment and Sports Law Committee. Kessler is the past Executive Director of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Nashville Chapter (the GRAMMY organization). She serves on the W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School Advisory Council, is a former Board member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and graduated from the Leadership Music program. Kessler is an Adjunct Professor at Vanderbilt University Law School, teaching courses on entertainment industry transactions and intellectual property licensing within the Technology and Entertainment Law Program.
Her recent film credits include: Co-Producer of the A&E Network documentary "Hairdos & Heartache: the Women of Country Music,” an exploration of the history of female country music artists; Producer and Director of "Boxing With the Bard: the Making of Marcus Hummon's 'Surrender Road'" for the Nashville Opera Association (which aired on Nashville Public Television, PBS), documenting the world premiere of an opera composed by a Grammy-winning Nashville songwriter; and Production Consultant on the CMT documentary “American Revolutions: The Highwaymen," a behind-the-scenes look at the final recording sessions of The Highwaymen group, which was comprised of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. Kessler is currently working on launching a production with WLIW, PBS member station in New York.