What's An Entertainment Lawyer to Do?

September 12, 2017

Things are changing in entertainment.  Everyone knows it. Check out the latest write up in Vanity Fair: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/01/why-hollywood-as-we-know-it-is-already-over.   

 

What's a lawyer to do?  Big ticket productions meant you could send out big ticket bills.  But in a world of smaller productions with smaller budgets and an aggregation of the larger projects into the hands of economically sophisticated entities (e.g. Amazon and Netflix), how will the legion of entertainment lawyers survive?

 

Some will lower their heads and keep doing what they have always done.  If they are old enough, they may squeeze enough out of their practice to get to retirement.  For the rest of us, we need to find a solution to keep our practices going.

 

In reality, the anachronism of the big budget production is matched by the anachronism of the big budget law firm.  Large offices in expensive buildings with lots of support staff; large number of associates running around each trying to hit 2,300 hours of billing; large bills sent to clients that glance at it and pay it; these are all equally an anachronism to a modern-world practice.

 

The answer is to streamline ones practice so that you can still make a reasonable living while billing a fair amount for the services provided.  Cut back on overhead.  Learn to do more than one type of deal.  Be efficient.

 

Entertainment law requires a unique understanding of a large number of complex areas of the law; IP, finance, employment, corporate.  With this expertise, you can expand your client base to include clients not traditionally served by entertainment attorneys.  Every client now has a website and social media presence.  Thus, they all need clearances and standards and practices review.  Social media continuously raises issues that most companies are ill-prepared to address.

 

By expanding your client base, and managing your own expenses, there will be a place to make a reasonable living with clients who value your services.

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