Hal “Corky” Kessler

Corky has extensive entertainment law, corporate and worldwide entertainment industry experience. He joined DL&E in 2010.

Corky regularly speaks on the business and legal aspects of feature film development and tax incentives in connection with the entertainment industry. Corky has successfully worked with governors and United States Congressmen in several states to implement new laws and federal tax incentives for investments in qualifying film and television projects, which led to Sections 181 and 199 of The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Corky has also authored a reference book covering such federal and state tax incentives.

Corky has represented several authors and negotiated publishing deals with several major publishers, including Random House and Doubleday. He has also assembled and built winning teams for more than 30 entertainment and other business ventures. He has developed, packaged and executive produced feature films, theatre projects and television projects, including “The Sum of Us,” starring Russell Crowe, which won the Australian Academy Award for Best Film and most currently “Certifiably Jonathan” starring Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams, Howie Mandel, Rob Reiner, Jim Carrey, Sara Silverman, and others.

An Adjunct Professor at Northwestern Law School and John Marshall Law School, Corky teaches an entertainment, transactional and law course. He previously developed a syllabus for and taught a similar course at Columbia College in its Film Department. Corky has been a panel member and speaker at many film seminars and festivals in the U.S. and Canada. He has written articles for Screen Magazine and other film and entertainment magazines and periodicals.

Corky’s expertise in corporate matters, earned him a seat on the Illinois panel to recommend amendments to the Illinois Limited Liability Company Act. In addition, during the course of his career, Corky has litigated over 200 cases, including over 50 jury trials.

Corky is admitted to practice in Illinois, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and is a member of the Trial Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He is a member of the American and Chicago Bar Associations.

Corky has been the attorney on over 15 feature films and is actively working on over 25 more film and television projects. He is active in establishing and advising various film funds and film funding sources in North America, and is currently working on setting up several film funds throughout the Country. The Industry Trades have written that what Corky has set up through Deutsch, Levy & Engel, Chartered is a “one stop shop” firm for the entertainment industry.

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