Jonathan Anschell, JD 1992By Karen Gross /  Photography by Adam Pulicicchio

From the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Nexus

Jonathan Anschell wasn’t looking for fame when he graduated law school in 1992 and headed out to Los Angeles where a job offer was waiting.  “I really just wanted to explore possibilities,” he says. “To see what else was out there outside of Toronto.” It turns out that for Anschell—a mild-mannered, understated Calgarian—the possibilities blossomed beyond anything he could have imagined. As a litigator at two high profile L.A. law firms, he carved out a niche as an expert in entertainment and media-related issues. In 2004, when CBS was looking for a new general counsel for its television network, the company took many industry insiders by surprise when it hired Anschell, who was only 36 at the time and had no transactional experience negotiating television deals.

You won’t hear this from him, but today, Anschell is one of Hollywood’s major power players, holding senior executive positions at both the parent corporation and at CBS Broadcasting, where as executive vice president and general counsel he oversees a department of about 100 lawyers and support staff. His continuing ties to U of T and the law school speak volumes about Anschell’s enduring sense of commitment and gratitude. “I never felt the least bit disadvantaged having gone to U of T, as opposed to one of the top U.S. law schools,” he says. “For a lot of us, U of T law was a fantastic launch pad into a variety of different careers.”

As the lead on the Class of 1992 endowment for financial aid, Anschell was determined to establish a lasting legacy. “The law school is in a competitive marketplace for talent. Maintaining the quality of education and the world class reputation comes at an economic cost,” he says. “It’s very important for me and a number of my classmates that the law school remain accessible to all students, even if tuition goes up. That can’t happen without strong alumni giving.”