Derek Dessler is an attorney in private practice in New York City. His law practice focuses on media, entertainment, new technology, intellectual property, and corporate law matters.
Dessler is an accomplished and versatile dealmaker with expertise in the entertainment and media industries. In his law practice Dessler uses his in-depth institutional knowledge of entertainment and media companies in counseling established and start-up companies on transactional, operational, corporate, and legal matters; structuring and operating joint ventures and strategic partnerships; and reviewing investment opportunities as part of corporate development initiatives. His clients include recorded music and music publishing companies, new media enterprises, video content producers, cable television channels, Internet services, recording artists, record producers, and songwriters.
Before founding his law practice, Dessler was for 14 years a legal and business affairs executive with the Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s largest music company. At UMG, Dessler held various executive positions, including: Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for Universal Music Group’s global corporate unit, where Dessler counseled and worked directly with Universal’s global Chief Financial Officer and other senior executives on domestic and international transactional, strategic, operational, and legal matters; General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs for UMG’s start-up multi-platform music video television channel (branded “IMF: The International Music Feed”), where Dessler was responsible for all domestic and foreign legal, business affairs, transactional, regulatory, and corporate matters and where he also collaborated with the unit’s other senior executives on strategic initiatives; and Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for UMG’s Universal Motown Records Group, where Dessler counseled the unit’s senior executives on legal, business affairs, and transactional matters and where he was responsible for negotiating and drafting various agreements for the label group, including exclusive recording agreements, joint ventures, new technology agreements, and distribution agreements.
At the Universal Music Group Dessler also successfully originated, negotiated, structured, managed, and closed various high-value complex corporate transactions in the entertainment and media sectors, including acquisitions, mergers, divestitures, strategic investments, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. These transactions included entertainment-and media-specific transactions such as acquiring entertainment content catalogues, investing in start-up digital firms, and forming joint ventures for developing new distribution platforms for music and other content using emerging technology.
Dessler earned his A.B. from Columbia University (New York City) and his J.D. from Fordham University (New York City), where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) awarded Dessler the National First Prize in the Nathan Burkan Memorial Competition, a legal writing competition for papers on the subject of copyright law. He is also the author of the article “China’s Intellectual Property Protection: Prospects for Achieving International Standards,” published in the Fordham International Law Journal (Volume 19, 1995)
In 2011 Dessler was a guest lecturer at the China Intellectual Property Training Agency in Beijing, China, on the topic “U.S. Copyright Law and the Music Industry in the Digital Age: An Introduction to Distributing and Selling Music in the United States Using New Technologies,” and in 2013 he served as a panelist at the Winter Music Conference in Miami Beach, Florida, on two panels: “The Down-Low on the Download: Digital Distribution” and “Artists, Agents & Managers.”
Dessler is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and is the founder of his law firm, Dessler, P.C
Fordham University School of Law
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
Telephone: 1 212 729 8233