How to Become an Entertainment Lawyer?

7 minute read
Entertainment Lawyer

Did you know popular movies such as ‘Padmavat’ and ‘Indu Sarkar’ were on the verge of being banned? Naik Naik & Co., a law firm based in Mumbai secured a major win and both the movies were released. For a producer, director, or actor working in film or television, an entertainment lawyer can be a valuable professional resource. Endorsement deals, negotiating,  IP protection, celebrity contracts, etc are the responsibility of entertainment lawyers. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs for entertainment lawyers are expected to increase 10 % in the next decade.  Let’s explore how to become an entertainment lawyer.

Who is an Entertainment Lawyer? 

According to Schroder, entertainment lawyers protect their client’s intellectual property rights, represent them in court over disputes, negotiate contracts, show them ways to maximize earnings, and help them manage their taxes, etc. Entertainment lawyers are required by production houses, directors, celebrities, etc. For example, If you are at a negotiating stage with a company or an individual has violated a  contract, you will need an entertainment lawyer to manage all disputes. 

Credits: Beverly Hills Bar Association

Duties and Responsibilities of Entertainment Lawyer

TEF Exam
Credits: WrapBook

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How to Become an Entertainment Lawyer?

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Aspiring lawyers must first complete a bachelor’s degree program before applying to law school. The American Bar Association advises choosing a major that will both challenge and excite future law students to achieve their goals. Lawyers require specific abilities, such as the ability to study, analyze, talk, and write well, so taking classes that assist improve those skills could be very beneficial. English, economics, political science, history, math, and public speaking are all relevant subjects of study.

You can start learning about the entertainment industry in college to help you prepare for this career. Students can take courses in film studies, cultural studies, communications, literature, and music that are relevant to the entertainment industry and can help them understand how the creative industries have evolved and work. Students might also develop an appreciation for the arts through such coursework.

Step 2: Take the LSAT Exam

Many law schools, including the majority of those accredited by the American Bar Association, require applicants to submit Law School Admission Test scores (LSAT). Each section of the LSAT, which consists of five multiple-choice questions and a writing assignment, must be finished in 35 minutes. The test is intended to assess critical-thinking abilities, reading comprehension, the ability to draw logical deductions, and the ability to evaluate the arguments and reasoning of others. Although LSAT scores are not the only factor considered by law schools, they can help one’s chances in the highly competitive admissions process. The LSAT is offered four times a year at various testing locations across the country.

Make sure you study thoroughly for the LSAT before taking it. At the very least, test takers should become acquainted with the test’s format, instructions, and sorts of questions. It’s also a good idea to take practice tests with a time limit, as this will help you become acclimated to finishing all portions on time. The Law School Admission Council, which administers the test, provides free practice tests and questions. Students can participate in a private course or purchase study aids for further in-depth preparation.

Step 3: Get a Law Degree

To become a lawyer, students must receive a law degree. A three-year full-time study schedule for a Juris Doctor degree is typical. Basic law themes such as civil process, torts, property, and contracts are covered in the first year. Students might take more electives and begin focusing in their second and third years. Future entertainment lawyers should take electives in topics including the first amendment, intellectual property, copyright law, negotiations, and income tax, as well as any industry-specific electives that interest them, such as music law or film and television law.

Students participate in school-sponsored legal clinics, internships, and moot court competitions to get practical experience outside of the classroom. Some law schools offer entertainment law certificates that can be earned in addition to a law degree and allow students to focus their studies. These courses will offer you a better understanding of the entertainment industry, its clients, and the types of issues that entertainment lawyers deal with such as labor and employment, securities, litigation, and contract negotiation. Students should think about the type of entertainment lawyer they want to be and take coursework that will help them prepare for their obligations.

Step 4: Enrol in the Bar Council

Lawyers must join their state bar organization to practice law. The rules and procedures differ per state, but the most important requirements are a law degree and passing the Bar test. The Multistate Bar Examination, a national exam consisting of a 6-hour, 200-question multiple-choice test on criminal law, contracts, constitutional law, property, torts, and evidence, is used by the majority of states. The second day of assessment is usually dedicated to evaluating writing and legal skills. Each state also offers a general ethics exam, which assesses a lawyer’s character and suitability to serve the public.

Make sure you’ve properly prepared for your state’s Bar exam before taking it. Studying for the Bar can be a full-time job for many aspiring lawyers for up to two months before the Me exam. Law schools often provide study aids and counseling to individuals studying for the Bar, and completing a bar test prep course can improve your chances of passing the Bar.

Step 5: Start with Internship and Explore Job Opportunities

A new member of the Bar is free to practice law immediately. Associate roles at law firms and in-house counsel for business legal departments are common entry-level employment for entertainment lawyers. They tend to congregate in the entertainment capitals of New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Nashville, however, they can work anywhere in the country. Film, TV, radio, music, performing arts, museums and art, gaming and new media, merchandising and licensing, literary publishing, and litigation are some of the sectors in which entertainment lawyers may represent clients ranging from large film studios to individual artists.

Daily tasks may involve examining a celebrity endorsement deal, researching collective bargaining agreements, or completing a tax filing, depending on the type of practice and client. Those that represent artists may need to be especially clear about what services they provide (for example, whether they are a talent agent) and whether they would price on an hourly basis (like accepting contingent fees or percentage agreements).

Step 6: Continue Your Education

Lawyers in most states are required to undergo continuing legal education regularly to keep their licenses, improve their expertise, and progress their careers. Bar associations and legal schools offer a variety of continuing education opportunities. Attorneys can earn credits by attending recognized courses, seminars, or conferences, and in a rising number of states, they can also earn credits by taking online courses or watching webcasts.

One more piece of advice for success: read trade journals regularly. Entertainment lawyers, perhaps more than any other type of lawyer, must grasp the commercial side of their fields. They may keep up with industry news by reading newspapers like The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Advertising age.

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What is Media Law?

The media industry is massive, encompassing publishing, newspapers, television, radio, film, and the internet. As a result, it is necessary to comprehend the laws that govern these fields. The law that controls media infrastructure, establishes limits on media communication and protects intellectual property is covered in the Media Law course. This course covers a wide range of subjects and models, including knowledge that is essential for creative and design professionals. A student can pursue a diploma, a postgraduate certificate, or a master’s degree in Media Law. The demand for experienced professionals in this field is increasing.

Who Should Do Media Law?

A Media law course is for law students who desire to work as in-house advisers for corporations in the media and entertainment industry. Law students interested in working in a firm’s Technology, Media, and Telecom (TMT) practice. Independent practitioners looking to work in the media and entertainment business as contract drafters. Litigators are interested in working on media and entertainment deals. A company’s decision-makers in the entertainment industry. The information gained in this sector is equally beneficial to movie directors.

Types of Media Law Courses

Diploma, PG 1- Year and LLM studies in media law are available, with durations ranging from one to five years. The following table summarises the eligibility, duration, and admission procedures for each of the three courses.

Diploma in Media Law

Program NameDiploma in Media Law
Eligibility CriteriaGraduation from a recognized University
Duration1 year
Admission ProcessThrough merit or entrance based and/or through College’s entrance exam.

PG 1- Year Diploma in Media Law

Program NamePG in Media Law
Eligibility CriteriaGraduation from a recognized university with a minimum of 45% aggregate
Admission CriteriaThrough merit or entrance based and/or through College’s entrance exam.
Average SalaryINR 5,00,000 to 10,50,000

LLM in Media Law

Program NameLLM in Media Law
Eligibility CriteriaLLB from a recognized university with a minimum 55% aggregate
Duration2 years
Admission CriteriaThrough merit or entrance based and/or through College’s entrance exam.

Top 10 Colleges for Entertainment Law Abroad

The USA stands #1 when it comes to pursuing entertainment law courses abroad. As per,  entertainment lawyers are in huge demand and expected to grow in New York,  Las Vegas, Boston, Atlanta, and Chicago. Here are some of the finest law schools for entertainment law abroad:

  1. UCLA School of Law
  2. Harvard Law School
  3. USC Gould School of Law
  4. Berkeley Law
  5. Columbia Law School
  6. Southwestern Law School
  7. Loyola Law School
  8. Georgetown Law
  9. Stanford Law School
  10. NYU School of Law

Are you interested in building a career as an entertainment lawyer? Call Leverage Edu at 1800 572 000 to speak with our experts to kick-start your journey today!

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