Solo Entertainment Lawyer – Why This Blog?

In 2007 Susan Cartier Liebel, teacher, blogger, entrepreneur and attorney,  suggested that I might want to blog about being and becoming an entertainment attorney.  I thought it was a great idea so I jumped on the idea — 5 years later.  No one ever accused attorneys of being on the leading edge of anything – except perhaps making law. But in all fairness to me – I do have a busy law practice and have completed writing a book in the last few years.

My observations about entertainment attorneys is that most, but certainly not all, have some other connection with entertainment and/or the creative arts.  Since I practice primarily in the music industry many of the entertainment lawyers that I know were musicians before they were attorneys.  I have read or listened to podcasts by entertainment lawyers that were (and are) screen writers, authors, and other entertainment industry creatives.  Many were drawn to an entertainment law practice simply because they were lovers of music and the arts or fascinated by the entertainment industry.  And there are those who became entertainment attorneys the same way many attorneys found their specific specialties – by unplanned circumstances.  They may have been associates at Big Law firms and a position came available in the Entertainment and Intellectual Property Division.  Or they were able to procure an internship at an entertainment law firm while getting their undergraduate degree in entertainment industry studies.  Or maybe they clerked for an entertainment attorney while in law school.  And then there are the attorneys who for whatever reason ended up with a client in the entertainment industry, co-counseled with an established entertainment attorney, and continued to build an entertainment practice based on their experience with the first client.  These just happen to be examples that come to mind based on my personal knowledge of the backgrounds of entertainment attorney friends and colleagues.

A good example of one who got into entertainment law by unplanned circumstances is my first boss in full-time law practice, Joel A. Katz, currently Chair, Global Media and Entertainment Practice of Greenberg Traurig.  Joel would be considered by most as in the top tier of entertainment attorneys.  He told me when I was an associate at his firm how he got into entertainment law.  He was teaching a night class at Georgia State University in Environmental Law.  It so happened that the CPA for a highly successful recording artist was taking the course.  The CPA approached Joel after class and asked him if he would be interested in representing the artist.  Joel said “yes” and from that accidental meeting Joel launched a world-wide entertainment law practice.

My journey into entertainment law was vastly different than Joel’s – more planned if you will but spiced with a lot of luck.  I am in the group of entertainment attorneys that were musicians before they were entertainment attorneys.  I was also fascinated by the idea of becoming an attorney.  In addition to performing I was usually the business person for the bands I was in.  While in college and law school I also worked at an entertainment agency and managed an artist or two. I used to tell my fellow musicians that someday I wanted to be a “hippie musician attorney”.  Ha.  I never was really a true hippie but I was definitely a musician who became an attorney.  I’ll share more of my personal entry into entertainment law in the next blog.

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