In the business of shaping entertainment: Jon Hicks
Julie Riggott • February 8, 2023
Jon Hicks (JD 2004) is Senior Counsel for Employment Law at Netflix
“I went to law school hoping to make things right,” says Jon Hicks (JD 2004), senior counsel, UCAN Employment at Netflix, Inc. “I think most folks go to law school because they see this as a noble profession that gives us an opportunity to make change, through advocacy and civil rights.”
So, while Hicks is advising Netflix leaders in the United States and Canada on every aspect of employment and personnel-related risks, he also has a leadership role in diversity, equity and inclusion at the global subscription streaming service and award-winning production company behind Squid Game, Stranger Things and Ozark — his personal favorite right now.
During his two-and-a-half years as counsel starting in 2015, Hicks helped lead the company’s Black Employee Network. As senior counsel for the past four years, he has championed innovative DEI efforts within the company and, as co-chair of the Legal Diversity Committee, promoted diversity in the legal profession by engaging and building relationships with law firms.
“I believe Netflix is kind of ahead of the trend around how we think about diversity and inclusion in a way that impacts business,” Hicks says. “Giving folks an opportunity to see what an inclusive leader looks like and then working tactically to figure out a way of becoming an inclusive leader that works specifically for them — that’s the next generation work of inclusion and diversity.”
As senior counsel, Hicks responds to the company’s immediate business and HR needs — including unprecedented issues such as pandemic response, vaccine mandate exemptions and future of work — while managing long-term projects like employment litigation.
Hicks, whose first in-house role was as litigation and employment counsel for a Silicon Valley software company, says USC Gould prepared him well for his career. Through the law school Hicks built a network of long-time friends he says he continually relies on, and the mentor he found through the Black Law Students Association remains a trusted advisor.
“I think that relationship has made me not only a better lawyer at Netflix, but a better person,” he says.