Our History

​BESLA is an organization of lawyers, executives, legal educators, and law students that support a more diversified, expert and informed group of entertainment, sports and affiliated industries professionals

Thirty-six years ago, a group of notable African-American attorneys met in Philadelphia during the First Annual Black Music Association Conference. They identified a need to establish an ongoing learning and networking environment for African-American attorneys in the entertainment industry; one that would provide an opportunity to share and exchange information, refer business, learn of industry opportunities, sharpen their skills and support each other in the highly competitive field of entertainment.

As a result, the Black Entertainment Lawyers Association (BELA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was formed in 1980. To incorporate growing opportunities in the sports arena, the name was changed to the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) in 1986.

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