Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Page 3


Southwestern Law Professor David Kohler Dies at 56


By a MetNews Staff Writer


David C. Kohler, Director of the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute at Southwestern Law School and a former senior vice president and general counsel at Cable News Network, has died.

The school said Kohler, 56, died Thursday after a long battle with cancer.

Appointed to Southwestern’s full-time faculty in 2003, Kohler came to the school following a long career as a media attorney, including nearly a decade with TBS and CNN.

He taught the First Amendment Seminar, Mass Media Law, Media Litigation, and Representing Journalists in addition to directing the Institute, supervising Entertainment Practicum externships and overseeing the Entertainment and Media Law LL.M. Program.

Dean Bryant Garth said Kohler “contributed significantly to the advancement of the Biederman Institute and the expansion of our entertainment and media law offerings into what is likely the most comprehensive curricula in this area of any law school in the country.”

Garth added:

“[Kohler] was an inspirational mentor to our students and a reasoned voice in crucial First Amendment issues. His extensive network of colleagues around the globe is a direct reflection of the tremendous respect he garnered as a prominent figure in the entertainment and media industries. Above all, he was a consummate professional, embodying the values that best represent what we aspire to in our graduates. All of us in the Southwestern community will greatly miss his warmth, generosity, dedication and enthusiasm.”

A graduate of college and law school at Duke University, Kohler was licensed as an attorney in Georgia, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

He began his practice in the District of Columbia before becoming a partner with Christian & Barton of Richmond, Va., where he served clients in the publishing, television, radio and cable television industries.

Kohler served as a guest lecturer at Duke, Emory, Harvard, UCLA, and William and Mary law schools, and as an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

He joined Turner Broadcasting System in 1991, where he soon became assistant vice president and deputy general counsel.

Five years later he became CNN’s senior vice president and general counsel, and substantive legal matters under his purview included First Amendment issues, copyright concerns, domestic syndication, joint ventures, labor matters, new media services and ethics.

Kohler’s funeral will be held in Virginia. Information regarding a local memorial service is pending.


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