Susan H. Abramovitch
Susan Abramovitch is one of the world's leading entertainment lawyers. She is a Toronto-based Gowling WLG partner and Head of its Entertainment and Sports Law Group with a practice covering transactions and disputes related to music, film, television, videogames, branded entertainment, sports, esports, live theatre, fine arts, multimedia, metaverse/NFTs and book publishing.
Having been immersed in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years, Susan works with many prominent Canadian and international artists, companies and brands. She applies her unparalleled expertise, connections and passion to protect her clients' interests and get them the best deals possible. Her services cover all areas of entertainment law, including:
- Drafting and negotiating contracts and agreements
- Advising on deal terms and structures
- Assisting in dispute resolution
- Counselling on international industry standards
- Managing rights acquisitions
Susan is consistently ranked as a top lawyer by her clients and peers in prestigious national and international directories, including Chambers, Who's Who Legal, Legal 500, Best Lawyers and Lexpert. She received a Lexpert Zenith Award in recognition of her leadership and expertise and was also named one of Toronto's 50 most influential people by Toronto Life magazine.
Susan's past experience includes serving as head of the entertainment group of another large law firm and as founding partner of one of Canada's premier entertainment law boutiques. She also practised in the New York and Paris offices of Debevoise & Plimpton, specializing in international M&A, and at Davis Polk and Milbank in New York. After graduating from McGill University as a gold medallist in both the Civil and National Law programs, Susan clerked for the Honourable Mr. Justice Gérard V. La Forest of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Heavily involved in the legal community as a teacher and mentor, Susan is the program director for Osgoode Hall Law School's Continuing Legal Education Certificate in Entertainment Law and is a former course lecturer in entertainment law at McGill University's Faculty of Law (where she is also a past faculty advisory board member). In addition, she is a frequent lecturer at Osgoode Hall, the faculties of law and music at the University of Toronto and the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada.
Susan is an honorary/past member of the Board of Governors of the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall. Susan is also an executive committee member of the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers.
Licensed to practise law in Ontario, Québec and New York, Susan offers legal services in both English and French.
Susan's commentary is regularly sought by the media. Her recent coverage includes:
- "Ontario artist accuses Urban Outfitters of stealing whimsical designs," The Canadian Press, March 26, 2020.
- "For the love of the (video) game," Canadian Lawyer, Feb. 3, 2020.
- "Taylor Swift fighting her musical liberation," CTV News, Aug. 25, 2019.
- "This is How Game Publishers Influence the Esports Industry," Investing News, June 25, 2019.
- "eSports In The Capital Markets," Canadian Securities Exchange TV, June 18, 2019.
- "Donald Fagen, Steely Dan's last member, is left to do the Dirty Work," The Globe and Mail, March 7, 2018.
- "Shatner says developer KHAAAAAAAN not use his name to sell Hamilton condo," The Hamilton Spectator, Nov. 23, 2017.
- "What's Up, Susan Abramovitch?", Reeperbahn Festival, Jan. 7, 2018.
- "Copyright violation leaves musician's income at risk," Advisor.ca, Sept. 18, 2015.
- "Bon Jovi vs Bieber: Did both do the right thing in the poor promoter pickle?" Yahoo Canada News, Aug. 27, 2015.
- "Writer Penny loses contract law appeal," The Lawyers Weekly, July 24, 2015.
- "Entertainment lawyers question feds' music moves," The Lawyers Weekly, July 3, 2015.
- "Apple's Swift response latest round of music industry restructuring," The Lawyers Weekly, July 3, 2015.
- "Taylor Swift's Apple-chomping a win for 'the little guys,'" CBC News, June 24, 2015.
- "Blurred Lines jury verdict tests boundaries on copyright infringement," CBC News, March 11, 2015.
- "How can Taylor Swift trademark words?" CTVNews.ca & Canada AM, Jan. 30, 2015.
- "Taylor Swift trademarks song phrases," CTV News, Jan. 29, 2015.
- "U.S. high court set to rule in TV streaming showdown," The Lawyers Weekly, May 16, 2014.
- "Gaining Insight into Canadian Music Week: Interview with Susan Abramovitch," IP Osgoode, May 2014.
- "The Digital Privacy Act," Canadian Bar Association's National magazine, April 2014.
- "Disney-set satire," CBC News, Oct. 24, 2013.
- "Digital Property Is Making Having A Will More Complicated," Global TV, Aug. 21, 2013.
- "That's Entertainment!" Canadian Bar Association's National magazine, January/February 2013.
- "50 Most Influential 2012," Toronto Life, December 2012.
Susan has provided commentary on CBC's The National, CBC News and CTV's National News and Canada AM, as well as in The Globe and Mail, National Post and Billboard Magazine.
She was featured on the cover of Canadian Lawyer's February 2020 issue, in which she was interviewed for a story on "For the love of the (video) game. Canadian law firms are rising to the challenge as the esports industry spreads like wildfire." Susan was also featured on the cover of the April 2012 issue of Lexpert magazine, in which she was interviewed for a story on "New media, new law."