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Derek Dessler


Derek Dessler is an attorney focusing on entertainment and media, new technology, the arts, and related corporate and intellectual property matters. He delivers effective counsel, strategic guidance, an in-depth knowledge of his clients’ industries, and sound business judgment.

Derek has over 20 years of legal experience in these areas, including serving for 14 years as an in-house legal and business affairs executive with the Universal Music Group.

Clients turn to Derek to get their deals done, and to get them done right. Over the past 20-plus years he has successfully closed hundreds of deals, big and small, involving parties from around the world, including the United States, China, and Europe.

Derek's work also includes representing clients in a diverse range of matters at the intersection of intellectual property rights, content, and emerging technologies. He regularly advises clients on issues relating to the ongoing convergence of technology and content, including new technologies for distributing and monetizing assets, and identifying methods for harnessing new forms of digital content.

Clients appreciate his highly personalized services, individual attention, and around-the-clock access. They trust him with their most critical matters and turn to him to help them navigate challenges, find new opportunities, create new paths through uncharted territory, resolve crises, and manage risks.

Derek also often works with clients to help them crystalize and achieve their goals. He develops solutions custom-tailored to his clients’ unique situations and enables them to make forward-thinking decisions that align with their objectives.

Find out more about Derek's practices, matters and clients.

Past Experience

14 years as a legal & business affairs executive at the Universal Music Group (UMG) (1996 – 2010), with roles including the following:

  • Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs for UMG’s worldwide corporate unit
  • General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Business Affairs for Universal’s start-up “music video” cable television network, branded IMF – International Music Feed
  • Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs for UMG’s Universal Motown Records Group (now UMG’s East Coast Label Group)


  • Fordham University School of Law, JD, 1996, Editor-in-Chief, Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
  • Columbia College, Columbia University, AB, Art History, 1993

Bar Admission

  • New York


  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law, teaching Entertainment Law (January 2015 – Present)
  • Guest Lecturer, China Intellectual Property Training Center, Beijing
  • Awarded the First National Prize in the Nathan Burkan writing competition, awarded by the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP)
  • Author of “China’s Intellectual Property Protection: Prospects for Achieving International Standards” published in the Fordham International Law Journal