Peter Martin Nelson

A Pennsylvania native, Peter Martin Nelson graduated with honors from Williams College and was awarded the Lathers Class Prize. Mr. Nelson obtained his law degree from Hastings College of Law, University of California where, in addition to being a member of the Thurston Society and the Order of the Coif, he served as Note Editor for the Hastings Law Journal. Upon graduating from law school, Mr. Nelson served a one-year clerkship for the Honorable George E. MacKinnon, Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia.

Mr. Nelson received his first hands-on entertainment law experience while an associate in New York at an international law firm, where he represented motion picture studios, television networks, and on-air personalities in First Amendment litigation, contract and copyright matters. He next moved to Los Angeles where he practiced at a Beverly Hills law firm and then formed the firm now known as Nelson Davis. The firm specializes in representation of talent in motion pictures, television, and ancillary fields. Nelson Davis was located in Westwood for more than a decade before moving to its current location in Santa Monica.

Mr. Nelson's clientele includes well-known writers, directors, producers, actors, and comedians, and spans the feature film and television worlds. Among his clients are winners of Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Golden Globe Awards. For his clients Mr. Nelson has negotiated what Variety has labeled "some of the most groundbreaking franchise deals in movie and TV history." He is a mainstay on The Hollywood Reporter's Power Lawyers list and has been featured and quoted extensively in Variety, People, Forbes, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. Mr. Nelson has spoken frequently before public audiences on topics including film financing, production, distribution, copyright, and the art of negotiation, and has been published in multiple legal and industry journals. He is a member of the New York, California, and Beverly Hills Bar Associations, and is a co-founder of the Williams College Arts and Entertainment Internship Program.

Mr. Nelson is a competitive sailboat racer, avid backpacker, and a collector of tribal art from around the world. Despite any of Mr. Nelson's career accomplishments, his two children regularly out-negotiate him.

Year Joined Firm

  • 1986

Areas of Practice

  • Entertainment Law

Bar Admissions

  • New York, 1981
  • California, 1979


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California
    • Honors: Member of the Thurston Society
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
    • Law Journal: Hastings Law Journal, Note Editor
  • Williams College
    • Honors: With Honors
    • Honors: Lathers Class Prize

Honors and Awards

  • The Hollywood Reporter’s Power Lawyers List
  • Named one of the top 500 lawyers in the United States by Lawdragon Magazine

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • New York Bar Association, Member
  • California Bar Association, Member
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association, Member
  • Williams College Arts and Entertainment Internship Program, Co-Founder

Past Employment Positions

  • Honorable George E. MacKinnon, Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, Clerkship