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An Arts-Related Law Career Is a Natural for David Gold ’10

A classically-trained orchestra musician whose father is a conductor and pianist, David Gold has seen firsthand “the dichotomy which exists between artistic activity and pragmatism.” Performance and administrative experiences alike have made obvious to him that “artistic necessities” extend beyond the world of aesthetics. “Orchestras, chamber ensembles, dance, opera, and theater companies, museums, art galleries, the world of cinema and television: all,” he observes, “must be organized, financed, managed and, in the end, tended to with great skill and nourished with passion.”

There certainly is no lack of passion, says Gold, but a scarcity of administrators knowledgeable about the legal aspects of creating and running these kinds of entities is a major problem for artists and arts organizations today. This realization, together with an interest and experience in tax, benefits, and entertainment law, prompted Gold to decide on pursuing a career in law. “After working with major metropolitan arts organizations including the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and receiving an M.A. in performing arts administration at New York University, Rutgers School of Law–Newark seemed the logical next step in developing a foundation from which to launch a career in arts-related law and business.”

David Gold   

David S. Gold 

Gold’s professional connection to arts-related legal issues dates back to his several years as a paralegal with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, which he joined after receiving a B.A. in political science from Brown University. His experiences at the firm included working with New York’s Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Gold has also served since 2006 as an independent arts consultant to local artists and arts administrators.

A student of William Blossom of the New York Philharmonic, Gold has been a principal member of many metropolitan-area and collegiate symphony and chamber music groups. In 2003, inspired by the loss of his mother, he and his father founded the New York Metropolitan Symphony “Music with a Cause,” whose performances support a variety of charitable causes. When time permits, he still sits in with jazz, cocktail, and musical theatre groups. Last September, Gold and his double bass were in the orchestra pit for the New Jersey Law Journal’s staging of Bye Bye Birdie, an all-lawyer production to benefit New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. He had also interned with NJVLA the summer following his first year at Rutgers.

Asked why he chose the double bass, Gold offers this simple explanation: “To a 10-year-old boy, the largest instrument in the room is always going to be the most appealing.” But Gold’s decision was as much tactical as visceral. Growing up, he was exposed by his father to musical styles ranging from classical to jazz and doo-wop. As such, he was careful to choose an instrument that would not limit his participation to any one group, whether a symphony orchestra, jazz ensemble, or rock band. “The double bass allowed me to choose my own path in the world of musical performance,” he adds.

Music of the Romantic period, when composers first expanded the role of the double bass beyond the “classical” custom of simply doubling the cello score, is his favorite to perform. “Brahms, whose father was a bass player, and Beethoven, who maintained a relationship with prominent double bass player Domenico Dragonetti, are two composers who stand out in my mind as revolutionizing the double bass repertoire by creating an independent, and significantly more challenging, role for the instrument.”

At Rutgers Law School, Gold has been a Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition winner, a Myron S. Harkavy Scholar for excellence in trial advocacy, a Saul A. Wittes Scholar, and publication editor of the Women’s Rights Law Reporter. He served as 2008-2009 president of the Student Bar Association, deciding to run for the office because “a student’s role should not be limited to the pursuit of academic excellence in the classroom, but should extend to the entire institutional structure though the application of one’s skills and resources for the betterment of one’s fellow students, the reputation of the institution, and those who may choose to attend the institution in the future.” As a transfer from the part-time to the full-time program, Gold also felt he would bring a valuable perspective to the position. Committed to expanding the school’s role in the community, he organized a Rutgers School of Law–Newark team for the 2009 Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society, an organization for which he has often done volunteer work.


“One of the best student papers I have ever received,” says NYSBA Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Journal editor about Gold’s article “Is There Any Way Home? A History and Analysis of the Legal Issues Surrounding the Repatriation of Artwork Displaced During the Holocaust.” 

Gold’s interest in the arts extends beyond music. As a master’s student at New York University, he spent time in Utrecht, Vienna, Linz, and other European arts centers where he was exposed to numerous works that had questionable provenance as a result of actions taken by the Nazi’s in World War II. His Rutgers Art Law Seminar provided a better understanding of the legal issues surrounding the repatriation of works displaced during this period. Gold decided to explore what he describes as “this critical, and often overlooked, topic” in the paper “Is There Any Way Home? A History and Analysis of the Legal Issues Surrounding the Repatriation of Artwork Displaced During the Holocaust,” which he submitted to the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law (EASL) Section of the New York State Bar Association. The paper was selected as the winning entry in the section’s Law Student Initiative and will be published in the Spring 2010 issue of the EASL Journal.

Elissa D. Hecker, Esq., editor of the EASL Journal, has described Gold’s paper as “one of the best student papers I have ever received.” The paper, she adds, “was an in-depth, well-written, and humanizing account of repatriated art from the Holocaust. It was unusual in that David seamlessly incorporated history with the legal aspects of the issues.”

Gold hopes to combine his background in arts performance, arts management, and the law to develop a practice focusing on legal issues faced by individual artists and arts organizations. After graduation, in addition to practicing in the litigation department at Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard, P.A., he plans to continue his work with NJVLA as well as consulting on arts-related legal issues.