Roger Sherman passed away last Wednesday. Most of your readers probably don’t know who Roger Sherman was, but for the last 40 years Roger was one of our industry’s best entertainment lawyers. More importantly, however, he was one of those individuals who made this industry a better place to be, not just because of what he did, but because of who he was.
He was one of the “old school” of entertainment lawyers. A Yale Law graduate, he came to our industry in the 1960s when there were only a handful of firms on the Westside that practiced “entertainment law.” In the 1960s and ’70s entertainment law practice was a more gentlemanly practice, and Roger’s generation, and the generation that preceded him, established a style of lawyering that was tough and aggressive, but also humane and respectful. I know all this because when I entered law practice I was privileged to have Roger as my supervising partner at Kaplan, Livingston.
Roger taught me and many other young lawyers what it meant to be “an entertainment lawyer.” But more important, Roger mentored me and others about patience, respect for others (no matter what their age and experience), and an empathy for your clients, your colleagues and for the people with whom you interact. He showed my generation that you could be an excellent and brilliant lawyer, and also be a warm, caring, compassionate human being. As Roger taught me, it’s never “the deal” but the people who matter.
He will be missed not only by those who knew and loved him, but by an industry that is diminished by his passing.
President, Lucasfilm Ltd.