In January, entertainment lawyer Jerry Glover will enter the next phase of a career that began with a dream role in the Christmas Opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, when he was a nine-year-old kid in Arkansas.
“They restaged it for an actual stage production and cast me as the lead,” he recalls. “It was a 600-seat theater in Little Rock, the Robinson Auditorium.”
This glorious break was followed by an important lesson.
“The year after, I got cast again, but this time in the chorus,” he laughs. “You learn about show biz real quick.”
Nevertheless, Glover was hooked. Since that opening act, he has filled multiple roles onstage and behind the scenes of the entertainment industry.
His current position as a partner at Leavens Strand & Glover is the most recent highlight on a journey that spans from Arkansas to Chicago, with a stop in DC along the way.
Other experience includes Senior VP & General Counsel for WTTW, head of the writing program at John Marshall Law School, and President of Lawyers for the Creative Arts.
In 2017, Best Lawyers named Glover and LGS’s Linda Mensch as Chicago Entertainment and Music Lawyers of the Year, respectively. It marked the second time that the peer review bestowed the distinction upon him.
Although Glover’s career includes lengthy engagements in university and post-graduate education work, he has never strayed far from the stage. This is part of a work ethic that began in the 70s, when he served as both music director and actor for Little Rock’s Arkansas Repertoire Theater while pursuing a law degree at the University of Arkansas.
“It was the time of ‘A Chorus Line’ on Broadway and everybody was theater crazy,” he recalls. “I did a lot of that — attending law school at night and doing shows when I could.”
His introduction to Chicago’s legal entertainment industry began while he was teaching at John Marshal.
“Professors are allowed to practice a certain number of hours every year,” he explains. “I would work with actors and directors, etc., through Lawyers for the Creative Arts. When the in-house counsel position became available at WTTW, I jumped on it.”
The experience in public broadcasting provided an education in production, licensing to various media including home video.
Glover brought his knowhow to LSG as a partner in 2009, shortly after the firm was founded by Thomas Leavens and Peter Strand.
“At LSG, my work was primarily representing producers of film, theatre and television with a part of the practice devoted to promotion and marketing law,” he says. “There’s so much detail — whether it’s film, regional or off-Broadway theater — that producers need to bring an attorney in from the very beginning.”
During this time, he also became heavily involved with the digital media landscape, which he believes is still full of unanswered questions — “There are more opportunities for performers, directors, etc., but at what cost to the traditional?”
Throughout his career, the freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights has remained a major focus. “The 1st Amendment is number one,” he explains. “The media works very hard at doing what it does to get it right. Constitutional protection will ensure that someone cannot use Twitter to suppress it.”
Although the legal profession helped Glover connect with some of the biggest companies and productions in American entertainment — including Paramount Pictures, the Broadway production of Spiderman, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Ellen — his greatest passion remains on the local stage.
“Chicago’s smaller neighborhood theaters are worth exploring,” says the Lakeview resident. “There are many near Belmont near Clark.”
Glover plans to do “absolutely nothing” on his first day as a retired partner, but it sounds like his self-imposed idleness won’t last very long.
“I’m going to work with Lawyers for the Creative Arts,” he says. “But not as an employee, just to help out.”