Arts & Entertainment Law~ Intellectual Property Rights
Civil Rights ~ Corporate Diversity & Inclusion ~ Dodd-Frank
Section 342 Commercial & Transactional Law ~
Labor & Employment Law
Nationally renowned “Preeminent A/V Rated” attorney and leader in the fields of arts & entertainment law and civil rights, diversity & inclusion. Expert on multicultural and diversity issues, highly successful in mediating complex litigation, closing complex business deals, and negotiating and litigating federal and state administrative proceedings, trials and appeals.
Arts, Entertainment & Sports Law Experience:
Founder and first chairman of the Entertainment, Sports, and Art Law Section of the National Bar Association, which has grown since 1979 when it was founded to be the NBA’s largest section.
First attorney in Washington, D.C. to specialize in the arts and entertainment industry.
Instrumental in achieving ruling by the D.C. Bar to allow contingency fee representation of artists and entertainers in non-litigation matters.
Developed and taught first-ever D.C. Bar CLE course in arts, entertainment and sports law through the Georgetown University Law Center.
Served as executive vice president and general counsel of Hemisphere 2 Entertainment LLC, an international media and theater producing company based in NYC.
Elected to several terms on the D.C. Bar’s Entertainment and the Arts Section steering committee.
Extensive experience and expertise in negotiating and drafting contracts for: television mini-series ~ motion pictures ~ theatre productions ~ recording contracts ~ publishing agreements ~ television rights deals ~ new show productions ~ literary publications ~ merchandising.
Retained by numerous local, national, and international radio, television, music, Broadway, film industry, and sports companies, personalities and projects to negotiate contracts and other professional interests on their behalf.
Some Notable Retentions:
Greater Media, Inc. issues involving civil rights at their broadcast stations.
Super Bowl XLVII quarterback, Doug Williams’, “A touch of Class” endorsement company. negotiations.
The Pulitzer Prize book “Common Ground” by J. Anthony Lukas, represented the book’s three subject Boston families for the made for television miniseries produced by Lorimar with the now president and chief executive officer of CBS Leslie Moonves.
Howard E. Koch the playwright and screenwriter of the movie “Casablanca” represented him in the pitch of many theater projects like “The Trial of Richard Nixon”; “In Time to Come”; “No Sad Songs For Me” and his other works.
A. Marcus Hemphill, a New York playwright and television writer for ''The Bill Cosby Show” represented his theater production of the Broadway play ‘‘Innocent Black and the Five Brothers”.
Transactional counsel to Ashton Springer, the Broadway producer, whose credits included the hit musical revues “Bubbling Brown Sugar” and “Eubie.”
Transactional counsel to Joseph (Joe) Walker a playwright and screenwriter, theater director, actor and professor. He is best known for writing Broadway play “The River Niger” first African-American writer to win the Tony Award.
Legal Counsel to “Trouble Funk”; “Redds and the Boys”; “Junk Yard Band” and many other Go-go music subgenre that originated in the Washington, D.C.
Transactional counsel for the movie, “Good to Go” a film starring Art Garfunkel featuring D.C. Go-go music.
Tupac Shakur’s father, William Garland, represented the claim to an interest in his son’s estate.
Represented Billie Holiday’s sister, who claimed an interest in her estate.
Represented Nina Simone's claim for royalties, due her.
Counsel to the Negro Ensemble Company.
Originated the claim and initiated the litigation for compensation due Michael Jackson’s managers from his estate.
Maureen Bunyan various media contract representations.
General Counsel to Bernie McCain, WHUR and WOL talk show host.
Represented Jim Berry, CBS news anchor, now in Miami.
Represented author, Robert Robinson concerning publishing agreement issues for the book “Black on Red: My 44 Years Inside the Soviet Union.”
Represented Dr. Julianne Malveaux, a political commentator in various media matters.
Black Entertainment Television, transactional representation.
“Shaft in Africa” negotiated claims by actors from Ethiopia concerning new technology re-release.
Represented John A. Amos, the actor who played in the television series “Good Times” and Noel Pointer, the jazz violinist and record producer on a joint entertainment project.
Transactional counsel for Oscar Brown, Jr. the singer, songwriter, playwright, poet, civil rights activist, and actor.
Represented American University on various media matters.
Represented Hampton University on various arts and cultural projects.
And many more.
Civil Rights, Diversity & Inclusion, Experience:
The originating attorney and later co-lead council in the $21M Settlement, the Eastman Kodak unlawful employment Discrimination Class Action.
The originating attorney in the case involving a claim against the trustees of the Michael Jackson estate in Los Angeles now pending.
Presented before many OMWI directors on achieving compliance with Dodd-Frank Section 342.
Consultant to large national banking and finance clients concerning a series of roundtable discussions to facilitate congressional oversight of the implementation of Dodd-Frank's Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion.
Drafted opinion letters on compliance with OMWI goals and objectives and proposed guidelines on the same.
Provided counsel to regulators on the goals and objectives of Dodd-Frank Section 342.
Established a law practice that provides diversity & inclusion representation to major corporate clients nationally. Developed civil rights compliance and diversity programs for clients in addition to providing extensive legal guidance.
Represented Employees Committed for Justice, the original group of minority plaintiffs in the landmark racial discrimination case against Eastman Kodak.
Civil rights director at the National Endowment for the Arts, 1981-86. Developed the agency’s first national civil rights compliance programs. Conducted national diversity training under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other provisions.
Founding member and first general counsel of the Association of American Cultures, a trade association of arts administrators emphasizing the diversity of cultures in American life.
Government And State Leadership Experience:
Established and served as first chairman of the Howard County Maryland, Equal Business Opportunity Commission.
Served on the transition committees for two Howard County Executives, Liz BoBo and Chuck
Ecker, and worked closely with County Executive Hugh Nichols on matters of economic development and county finance.
Helped establish Howard County’s Waring/Mitchell Law Society, an association of African American attorneys founded in 1984.
Served several terms on the Howard County Human Rights Commission.
Corporate Law, STRATEGIC Policy and Procedures Management Experience:
Established a practice at Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A. (“JGL”), to provide major employer clients with proactive representation to avoid the pitfalls of non-compliance with civil rights statutes.
Developed a practice model at JGL that promotes corporate diversity and inclusion. Provided clients with compliance assurance and defense against adverse claims while boosting their public image as good corporate citizens.
Provided comprehensive representation in the formation of LLCs, general partnerships, corporations and other business entities; advised clients on securities issues, capital acquisitions, and general corporate counsel matters.
Private Practice Experience:
Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A. Greenbelt, Md.
As head of its Employment Strategies Group to manage corporate diversity & inclusion practice.
The Chavers Law Firm, LLC, Washington, D.C.
President and managing attorney of a AV-Rated law firm in Washington, D.C., from 1995 to 2010 and again from 2012 to the present.
The Chavers Law Firm, LLC represents a broad spectrum of clients, including individuals, large corporate entities, organizations, nonprofit associations and foreign governments.
Advise clients in state and federal courts on civil rights issues and compliance, employment issues, intellectual property and commercial transactions.
Counsel to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C., facilitating negotiations between U.S. and Ethiopian government agencies with potential economic impact in the United States and throughout East Africa.
Originator and co-lead counsel in Employees Committed for Justice v. Eastman Kodak Co. (W.D.N.Y.), civil rights class action alleging discrimination and mistreatment of African-American employees. Many additional civil rights cases came to the firm as a result of this highly publicized case.
Hart, Carroll & Chavers, Washington, D.C. & Freer & McGarry, Washington, D.C.
Partner in two private law firms, 1981-1995. Represented individual clients and corporations in national and international legal matters. Successfully argued cases and resolved conflict before U.S. government agencies and in the private sector.
Specialized in arts & entertainment, intellectual property, internet, and education law, civil rights, labor and employment.
David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia
Adjunct professor, 2005 (arts and entertainment/intellectual property law).
Government and Related Experience
National Endowment for the Arts, 1980-85. Civil rights director. Addressed a huge range of inequities, from local arts councils’ lack of board diversity to major donors’ “plantation lunches.”
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Court of Claims Branch, 1979-80. Trial attorney. High-volume docket of claims against federal agencies. Advised and supervised Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
U.S. Civil Service Commission (now known as U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board), Appeals Review Board, 1978-79. Attorney/review officer under Peggy Griffiths, the Board’s first African American chair. Assisted adjudicators of appeals by federal workers, among them Filipinos at Subic Bay who were promised retirement benefits after wartime service to U.S. forces.
National League of Cities/U.S. Conference of Mayors, Office of Criminal Justice, 1977-78. Assistant director. Helped coordinate nationwide implementation of 911 service, working with telephone companies and first responders across the U.S., using Justice Department Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (“LEAA”) grant funds. Aided legislative advocacy on gun control.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the General Counsel, 1975-77 (Legal Honors Program). Fair housing, environmental law, finance, and legislation.
J.D., Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C., 1975
B.A., cum laude, Howard University, Washington, D.C., 1972
Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.
National Bar Association
American Bar Association
District of Columbia Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association
Washington Area Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (co-founder)
Association of American Cultures (co-founder and first general counsel)
Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Highlights of Lecture & Public Speaking Engagements:
Keynote speaker before the National Association of Broadcasters, Women in Film and Video, and the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States Congress.
Other lectures and presentations:
The Georgetown University Law Center
The District of Columbia Bar Association
The Washington Volunteer Lawyers for The Arts (Co-Founder)
The National Bar Association, Founder of its Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law section
The National Association of Broadcasters,
Public Broadcasting Service.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The College of William And Mary Law School
Temple University School of Law
The American University
Sagamon State University Graduate School
Howard University School of Law
The Washington Area Women in Film and Video
I have been Featured in “The Washington Lawyer, The Legal Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer and other media and others
Serve, in the United States ARMY,
Army security agency (ASA) intelligence top-secret crypto access
based in the countries of:
Eritrea, Ethiopia and many others.
Vietnam era veteran 1966 – 1970.