UCLA School of Law Receives $5 Million Gift from Kenneth Ziffren to Establish The Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law

Kathy Wyer
Director of Media Relations
UCLA School of Law
(310) 206-1766

LOS ANGELES, CA, November 9, 2015 – UCLA School of Law has received a $5 million transformative gift from attorney Kenneth Ziffren to establish the Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law. 

UCLA School of Law is widely recognized as having one of the strongest and top-rated programs in the nation for the study of entertainment and media law. The Ziffren Center will enable UCLA Law to expand its program still further through curricular innovations, research support, new programming, and hands on skills training that will benefit students, faculty and the greater community. 

“We are so fortunate to count Ken Ziffren among our most dedicated supporters and most distinguished alumni. Ken was a remarkable UCLA law student — at the top of his class, editor in chief of UCLA Law Review, and a law clerk after graduation to Chief Justice Earl Warren,” said UCLA School of Law Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin. “His career in media and entertainment law has been equally remarkable, and throughout he has given back to our institution so generously with his time, wisdom, knowledge and philanthropy. Now, with this extraordinary and inspirational gift, he both cements and ensures UCLA Law’s preeminence in media and entertainment law.  We are enormously grateful to Ken, and I am thrilled and honored by this opportunity to create the Ziffren Center at UCLA School of Law.”  

Ken Ziffren ’65 is one of the leading media and entertainment lawyers in the country and has long been an ardent supporter of UCLA School of Law. An adjunct professor at the school since 1998, he currently teaches the popular Motion Picture Distribution seminar. He is a member of the UCLA campus-wide Centennial Campaign Cabinet and UCLA School of Law Campaign Cabinet, and serves on the UCLA School of Law Board of Advisors. He also served as chair of the five year fundraising campaign for UCLA School of Law (2008-13), which raised more than $110 Million, a year ahead of schedule.  Ziffren is co-founding partner of Ziffren Brittenham LLP, one of the country’s preeminent media and entertainment law firms, and is married to Ellen, a non-profit consultant. 

In 2014, Ziffren was named by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the city’s film czar, charged with increasing film and television production in California. Aside from his representation of top talent in film, television and new media, in 1988 he served as a neutral mediator to help resolve the Writers Guild strike, and in 1994 and thereafter, he represented Starz in creating the premium pay television service. He also represented the Television Academy in 2003 and 2011 in negotiating the Emmy Awards agreements with the four networks.   

“Since graduating from the law school, I have been deeply committed both to UCLA Law School and to the advancement of the entertainment industry.  I know that I have benefited greatly from my UCLA Law experience, as a student, as a member of the faculty, and as an involved member of the alumni community,” Ziffren said. “It’s very gratifying to be able to extend support to the next generation of leaders, and to help guarantee that the law school’s Center will continue to be the best in the nation.” 

“Ken truly sets the standard to which we all aspire, both personally and professionally,” said Susan Akens, executive director of the new Center.  “His contributions are immeasurable, and as in years past, so many students will continue to benefit from his insight for years to come.  He’s often referred to as the ‘dean of entertainment lawyers,’ and it’s impossible to imagine a more fitting name to grace our Center than his.”

About UCLA School of Law

Founded in 1949, UCLA School of Law is the youngest major law school in the nation and has established a tradition of innovation in its approach to teaching, research and scholarship. With approximately 100 faculty and 1,100 students, the school pioneered clinical teaching, is a leader in interdisciplinary research and training and is at the forefront of efforts to link research to its effects on society and the legal profession. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.