B.S.ing with Jeff Harleston

How are you embracing your authentic self—and encouraging others to do the same? Jeff Harleston, GC and EVP of Universal Music Group, shares with Merle Vaughn how he is breaking down stereotypes within the music industry and doing his part to effect change in the legal industry through personal stories and experiences that have impacted his career.


Jeffrey Harleston is General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs for Santa Monica, California-based Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment with operations in more 60 countries. He is a member of UMG’s executive management board and is responsible for overseeing all business transactions, contracts, and litigation for UMG’s operations worldwide. In addition, he is also responsible for the company’s government relations, trade and anti-piracy activities.

During a 26-year career with UMG, Jeff has held a variety of senior executive positions including Executive Vice President/Head of Operations for Geffen Records and Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs for MCA Records. Before joining UMG, Jeff was Associate Independent Counsel during the investigation and prosecution of the Iran/Contra scandal. He also worked as a litigation associate at the firm of Covington & Burling in Washington D.C. and, before law school, as an Account Executive for Saatchi & Saatchi Compton Advertising in New York.

Jeff graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Williams College and holds a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley.

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