{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I have a background in film, worked in Hollywood and directed an independent film. Been practicing law outside of the entertainment Industry for the last 12 years. I run my own firm now. Any advice on taking on entertainment law and breaking into that area?", "post_id": "6033ca76451784001c869915", "reply_count": 5, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5dd8079a19166e0024349971", "bowl_name": "Entertainment Law" }

I have a background in film, worked in Hollywood and directed an independent film. Been practicing law outside of the entertainment Industry for the last 12 years. I run my own firm now. Any advice on taking on entertainment law and breaking into that area?

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I have a very similar background, but I’m only a year into practice. Given that you’re 12 years in, I feel a little silly responding. That said, keep in mind that “entertainment law” involves being highly versatile. Primarily, I deal with trademark, copyright, and rights of publicity, both as a prosecutor and a litigator. If you don’t have an IP background, I’d recommend reading McCarthy on trademarks and Nimmer on copyright. In terms of breaking into the area, you could start small and offer copyright/trademark registration services to local artists and move up from there. Theaters also need help with contract drafting and securing IP rights. I also recommend seeking out businesses who need IP management to build your experience with IP prosecution. I know IP isn’t the only part of entertainment law, but it’s usually top of mind for artists.


Thanks for the information. I worked in Hollywood for a number of years straight out of film school. I worked in representation of actors and such. I don’t think I will be taking on trademark/copyright issues. I will probably limit my work to reviewing contracts, possibly drafting etc. I am already doing some of that for my actor friends. Anything too complicated I will probably refer to a more seasoned attorney.

Which area of law are you practicing?

I practice education law.

Really depends on what type of entertainment lawyer you want to be. If you want to be a personal rep, then stay up to date on all of the employment and labor law stuff (esp AB5 in Cali, as it may affect your people). If you're more interested in doing production counsel work, Mark Litwak's contract forms books are probably the best resource I can recommend for getting started. I still keep them on my desk as a resource. The other book I'd recommend is Copyright & Clearance by Michael Donaldson which is the best starting-point resource for any kind of rights clearance work, if you're doing docs and such.

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