Many people dream of being part of the entertainment industry, but only few actually pursue that fantasy. Sometimes it’s not meant to be and other times it just feels unrealistic, given your personal values, skills, or general situation. Obtaining a degree from a reputable law school is a big achievement, and it does not imply that you must forget about Hollywood. Although, no lawyer can specialize in ‘Entertainment Law’, his/her law school degree can be utilized to remain in proximity of showbiz.
Entertainment lawyers are in fact business lawyers that represent people from the entertainment industry. Hence, even though you are not directly participating in any theatrics, you can expect to be working with many famous celebrities during the tenure of your career. You shall represent various artists, such as actors, directors, singers, producers, models, etc. in lawsuits and assist them in other day-to-day legal requirements. Entertainment lawyers in California are frequently called upon to work on negotiations among television, movie, and theatre crews.
A Day in the Life of an Entertainment Lawyer
Here is a list of duties you may indulge in, on an average day as an Entertainment lawyer:
- Creating, evaluating, and amending development or production contracts.
- Drafting writer, talent, and recording agreements.
- Reviewing client contracts given by record labels, film studios, publicists, or managers, to make sure that they are reasonable and transparent.
- Dealing with industry newbies and preaching them the ways of the business. This includes telling them about their rights and showing them what a sound contract looks like.
- General counseling over legal matters
- Helping artists with financial transactions, doing taxes, marketing & merchandising, buying/selling real estate, etc.
- Establishing creative copyrights and trademarks.
- Helping clients use copyrighted content without breaching the law.
- Building and maintaining relationships between the client and their recording studio/entertainment crew.
- Helping celebs get the best deals with potential employers or for business expansion.
- Expediting circulation of small and big screen projects.
- Enabling releases, publications, appearances, and licenses.
- Working on bank loans, investments, sponsorships, grants, and bankruptcy claims.
As you can imagine, the job of an entertainment lawyer is not that glamorous, but it is definitely more exciting than the conventional roles of a real estate or personal injury attorney. Another incentive is that you might get to hang around cool movie/T.V sets sometimes and get the chance to intact with your favorite celebrities; maybe you’ll even make a few famous friends or acquaintances in the process.
How to become an Entertainment Lawyer?
Similar to any other field of law, you are required to take the LSAT exam, graduate from law school and obtain a license for legal practice. Moving to an entertainment thriving location, such as California, Los Angeles, or New York is the next big step. Developing interpersonal, analytical, and communication skills will also help you fit in sooner. Gaining experience in finance, security, and intellectual property licensing are important aspects of this career. Many entertainment corporations possess an in-house legal department and they are keen on hiring young, but talented lawyers. If everything works according to plan or you have prior connections in the industry, you may end up earning $100,000 or more per annum.