Sally Helppie

Sally Helppie

Dallas, Texas
(214) 979-7402

Sally is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law, where she was a Teaching Assistant, member of the national moot court team, Melvin Belli advocacy scholarship recipient and winner of the Distinguished Advocate award. She practices entertainment law and litigation.

Sally's entertainment law practice runs the gamut from representing very high-budget Hollywood productions to small independent producers, as well as individual writers, actors and financiers. She negotiates acquisitions and distribution, drafts a wide variety of financing documents, advises on insurance and bonds, addresses Guild and Union matters, handles copyright and trademark issues, performs script clearances, prepares production contracts, and litigates disputes. She has performed the legal work on such films as "The Tourist," starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp; "The Young Victoria," starring Emily Blunt; and Martin Scorsese's 3D feature, "Hugo," as well as on multiple other narrative and documentary films. Similarly, she has negotiated and drafted contracts for numerous television pilots and series, including Charlie Sheen's "Anger Management," "The Glee Project," "The Bachelor," "Children's Medical Center," "Texas 28," "Donna Decorates Dallas," "Texas Troubadours," and others.

Sally also is a seasoned trial attorney whose litigation work emphasizes contracts and business torts, trademark and copyright issues, employment litigation, real estate matters, mediation and arbitration. Her practice encompasses all aspects of commercial trials and appeals before the state and federal courts, as well as various arbitration panels. Sally has been lead counsel in literally hundreds of cases on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, smaller businesses and individuals. She has tried cases before juries in state and Federal courts, and has represented parties all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her litigation background also has proved to be invaluable in negotiating and understanding complicated entertainment deals.

In addition to her legal work, Sally is an award-winning producer and CEO of Advocate Pictures, LLC, a full-service production company that produces its own projects, runs productions for others, outsources business affairs services, and provides speakers on entertainment topics. Sally produced the 2008 action thriller, "Exit Speed," and the 2009 supernatural thriller, "Haunting at the Beacon," both of which enjoyed wide global distribution, as well as the 2012 faith-based "Beyond the Farthest Star." Her latest feature film, "Infiltrators," currently is in post production.

Sally is an Adjunct Professor in SMU's Meadows School of the Arts, where she teaches the Film Production seminar. She was selected for the Producers' Network at the 2009 and 2013 Cannes Film Market and is a member of the Texas Motion Picture Association, Women in Film-Dallas, Dallas Producers Association, and the Councils of both the Texas and Dallas Entertainment and Sports Law Sections. She serves on the board of directors for Tall Castle, Inc., a non-profit educational film corporation.

Sally was the 2011 Chair of the DBA's Sports & Entertainment Law Section, past Chair of the DBA's Business Litigation Section (which won the Section of the Year award under her leadership), and a past-chair of the Dallas Bar's Judicial Evaluation subcommittee. She has written numerous articles on the intersection of law and entertainment, and is a sought-after speaker who has presented at multiple legal and entertainment events, including the Austin Film Festival, Entertainment Law Institute, Dallas International Film Festival, Christian Media Association, Dallas Screenwriters Association, El Paso Classic Film Festival, Women in Film, DBA Entertainment Boot Camp, and local colleges and universities.

Sally is admitted to practice before all Texas courts, as well as the United States Supreme Court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas.

Areas of Practice

  • Entertainment Law and Litigation
  • Contracts and Business Torts
  • Trademark and Copyright Issues
  • Employment Litigation
  • Real Estate Matters
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1985
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas


  • University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, Los Angeles, California
    • J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence - 1985
    • Honors: UCLA National Moot Court, National Order of Barristers
    • Honors: Teaching Assistant
    • Honors: National Moot Court Team, Member
    • Honors: Melvin Belli Advocacy Scholarship Recipient
    • Honors: Winner, Distinguished Advocate Award
  • California State University, Northridge, California
    • B.A., Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude - 1982
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan


  • Adjunct Professor, SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, Film Production seminar
  • Speaker, Austin Film Festival
  • Speaker, Entertainment Law Institute
  • Speaker, Dallas International Film Festival
  • Speaker, Christian Media Association
  • Speaker, Dallas Screenwriters Association
  • Speaker, El Paso Classic Film Festival
  • Speaker, Women in Film
  • Speaker, DBA Entertainment Boot Camp

Honors and Awards

  • Award-winning producer and CEO of Advocate Pictures, LLC
  • Selected for the Producers’ Network at the 2009 and 2013 Cannes Film Market

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Texas Motion Picture Association, Member
  • Dallas Producers Association, Member
  • DBA’s Sports & Entertainment Law Section, Chair
  • DBA’s Business Litigation Section, Past Chair
  • Dallas Bar’s Judicial Evaluation subcommittee, Past Chair
  • Texas Entertainment and Sports Law Section, Council
  • Dallas Entertainment and Sports Law Section, Council

Pro Bono Activities

  • Women in Film-Dallas, Member
  • Board of Directors, Tall Castle, Inc.