Jean Ward is counsel to our Entertainment Group. She is one of New York’s best-known theatre lawyers, with over 30 years’ experience representing producers, authors, film companies and other stage rights holders, not-for-profit theatre companies, theatre owners, creative personnel, and investors. She is recognized in the 2021 edition of Best Lawyers in America for Entertainment Law – Theatre and is listed as a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazine.
She negotiates and structures domestic and international transactions including rights acquisitions on behalf of both producers and the licensors of stage rights to films and other underlying materials, theatrical syndication financing, state tax credit incentives, creative personnel agreements, development deals, licensing deals and a variety of other production agreements. She represents triple-threat authors Anais Mitchell (Broadway’s “Hadestown”) and Asher Muldoon (upcoming musical adaptation of “The Butcher Boy”), the composers and lyricists of the upcoming stage adaptation of “True Blood”, the stage and upcoming film version of “Cyrano”, and the co-bookwriter/director of the upcoming “Blues Brothers” stage musical.
Ms. Ward has been production counsel for Broadway and off-Broadway productions of such shows as “Stomp” (currently running off-Broadway and on tour), ”Woman in Black” at the McKittrick Hotel, ”Living on Love”, “Born Yesterday”, “The Toxic Avenger”, “Les Miserables”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Five Guys Named Moe” and “Miss Saigon”. For her client Troika Entertainment, she has been production counsel for non-Equity and Equity Tier U.S. and international touring productions of such shows as “Cats”, “Phantom of the Opera”, the Lincoln Center production of “My Fair Lady”, “Tootsie”, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Wizard of Oz”, “42nd Street” (U.S. touring and Moscow productions), and many others. She has represented one of Ireland’s premier theatre companies, Druid Ireland, and its artistic director Garry Hynes on commissioning, licensing and producing numerous productions including their current development with the Public Theatre of a new musical incorporating music written or recorded by the popular Irish punk rock/jazz band The Pogues. She is also working on a stage adaptation of “Forrest Gump” (for Godlight Theatre Company), on various projects for the Irish Arts Center, and on an upcoming Broadway production based on the life and music of Ritchie Valens.
Ms. Ward graduated from Harvard Law School and has lectured on theatre law at the Practicing Law Institute, New York Bar Association, and National Law Journal seminars as well as in classes at Columbia Law School and NYU’s Stern School. She is admitted to practice in New York.
awards & recognition
Best Lawyers in America for Entertainment Law - Theatre
"Super Lawyer" for Entertainment Work for fifteen consecutive years
Harvard Law School (JD)
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
Past Speaking Engagements
Entertainment Law in the 21st Century
S. Jean Ward presents at the program "Entertainment Law in the 21st Century” on “A View from the Wings: Theatre Law Overview, Business Structure and Rights Acquisition” for the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
June 28 2017
Prosperity in Chaos: How American Political Disruption Portends a Golden Age for the Arts
S. Jean Ward speaks on a panel titled "How American Political Disruption Portends a Golden Age for the Arts" for the Irish American Bar Association of New York.
April 5 2017
Legal Aspects of Producing — An Inside Approach to Navigating the Theatrical World
S. Jean Ward speaks on emerging trends in theatre law for the New York State Bar Association.
March 29 2017
PLI’s Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry 2017
February 27 2017
PLI’s Counseling Clients
S. Jean Ward presents "Overview of Entertainment Law Issues; Television, Video & User-Generated Content; Theater; Building an Entertainment Law Practice; Ethics" at Practicing Law Institute's Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry 2011 program in New York City.
March 14 2011
news & press
Thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named to Super Lawyers Metro List for 2020
The list includes: Christopher R. Chase, Victoria Cook, Lisa E. Davis, Catherine M.C. Farrelly, Michael P. Frankfurt, Hayden Goldblatt, Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, John B. Harris, Richard B. Heller, Richard Hofstetter, Nicole Hyland, Candice Kersh, Rick Kurnit, Brian E. Maas, Richard Maltz, Jeffrey Marks, Kimberly Maynard, Mark Merriman, Ronald C. Minkoff, Brian G. Murphy, Edward H. Rosenthal, Terri Seligman, Thomas D. Selz, Barbara E. Shiers, Wendy Stryker, Linda Wank, S. Jean Ward, Craig Whitney and Maura Wogan. Marcie Cleary, Christina Jenkins, Sasha Levites, Tyler Maulsby, Adam Osterweil and Rachel Santori are listed as “Rising Stars.” Read more.
The Best Lawyers in America 2021
We are pleased to report that Best Lawyers — the oldest and one of the most respected peer reviewed lawyer recommendation services — continues to recommend Frankfurt Kurnit. Read more.
Super Lawyers - New York Metro Top Women for 2020
The New York Times distributed the Super Lawyers list of the New York Metro Area's Top Women for 2020. Fourteen Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys made the list: Wendy Stryker (Employment Law), Victoria Cook, Lisa Davis & Jean Ward (Entertainment Law), Barbara Shiers (Estate Planning & Probate), Catherine Farrelly (Intellectual Property), Kim Maynard & Maura Wogan (Intellectual Property Litigation) Candice Kersh & Terri Seligman (Media and Advertising). Marcie Cleary & Sasha Levites (Entertainment Law), and Rachel Santori (Intellectual Property Law) are listed as "Rising Stars."
Thirty-one Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named to Super Lawyers Metro List for 2019
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-two Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2019 NY-area edition. Read more.
Thirty-four Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named in Super Lawyers Magazine for 2018
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-four Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2018 edition. Read more.
Thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2016
Super Lawyers listed thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2016 edition. Read more.
Thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015
Super Lawyers listed thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2015 edition. Read more.
Thirty-one Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2014
Super Lawyers listed thirty-one Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2014 edition. Read more.
Twenty-seven Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2013
Nine Frankfurt Kurnit Women Honored As “Super Lawyers”
Nine Frankfurt Kurnit women appeared in The New York Times Magazine’s women "Super Lawyers" list for 2012. The list appeared on December 30th in a special section devoted to women attorneys in the New York metropolitan area. Read more.
Twenty-four Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2012 NY-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers listed twenty-four Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2012 edition. Read more.
Seventeen Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2011 New York-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers named seventeen Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2011 edition. Read more.