S. Jean Ward is counsel to our Entertainment Group. She is one of New York's best-known theatre lawyers, with over 20 years experience representing producers, authors, music publishers and other rights holders, theatre owners, creative personnel, and investors.
She negotiates and structures domestic and international transactions including property and rights acquisitions, licensing, theatrical syndication financing, creative personnel agreements, development deals, and a variety of other production agreements.
Ms. Ward has been production counsel for Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions of such shows as "Stomp" (currently running off-Broadway and on tour), "Born Yesterday," "Play Dead" (off-Broadway), "Stomp Out Loud" (Las Vegas production), "The Toxic Avenger" (Off-Broadway and upcoming Broadway productions), "Play It Cool", "Lovemusik" (co- production with Manhattan Theatre Club featuring the music of Kurt Weill), "Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life", "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk" (U.S. tour revival), "James Joyce's The Dead", "Freak", "Les Miserables", "The Phantom of the Opera", "Five Guys Named Moe", "Miss Saigon", "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" (Broadway revival), and non-Equity and Equity Tier U.S. and international touring productions of such shows as "Cats", "42nd Street" (U.S. touring and Moscow productions), "Come Fly Away", 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 Martin McDonagh's "Cripple of Inishmaan" (Druid's recent co-production with the Atlantic Theatre Company), several new plays currently in production, as well as their current development of a new musical incorporating music written or recorded by the popular Irish punk rock/jazz band The Pogues.
Her work with Music-Theatre Group, a New York not-for-profit company specializing in the development of new work, includes the commission and co-production (with Gotham City Opera) of a new opera, Dark Sisters, composed by Nico Muhly with libretto by Stephen Karam. Other recent projects include advising the producers of the London production of the new musical Ghost, work on the development of a musical version of Twelve Angry Men, and a new musical entitled Chix 6, and US and international touring productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Wizard of Oz, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Sister Act.
Ms. Ward has taught Law and Theatre at Columbia Law School and presented lectures on theatre law at Practicing Law Institute, bar association, and National Law Journal seminars. She is admitted to practice in New York.
awards & recognition
"Super Lawyer" for Entertainment Work for thirteen 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
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), Amelia Brankov, Kim Maynard & Maura Wogan (Intellectual Property Litigation) Candice Kersh & Terri Seligman (Media and Advertising). Sasha Levites (Entertainment Law) Danielle Maggiacomo & Rachel Santori (Intellectual Property Law) are listed as "Rising Stars."
Thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named to Super Lawyers Metro List for 2019
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2019 NY-area edition. Read more.
Thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named in Super Lawyers Magazine for 2018
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2018 edition. Read more.
Thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2016
Super Lawyers listed thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2016 edition. Read more.
Thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015
Super Lawyers listed thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2015 edition. Read more.
Thirty-two Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2014
Super Lawyers listed thirty-two Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2014 edition. Read more.
Twenty-eight 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.