Are you an artist establishing yourself in the creative realm of music, film, publishing or media? Protecting your work and your brand can be challenging, and you’ll need a team of professionals including an entertainment lawyer, whose job would be advising and representing you in legal matters. When seeking a lawyer, consider these four important factors.
1. Your Needs
Why do you need a lawyer in your corner? The answer could be one or more of the following reasons.
Contract negotiation: Your entertainment attorney will work to secure deals with individuals and agencies that protect your artistic and financial interests.
IP protection: In the case of copyright or trademark issues, your lawyer will protect your intellectual property.
Litigation: If you must defend a lawsuit related to your business, you’ll want superior representation in court.
Like all professionals, legal experts must start somewhere. Seasoned music lawyer, John Branca, recalls a humorous situation he experienced as a young professional representing the Beach Boys.
When choosing an attorney for your business needs, consider the level of expertise required. Questions to ask during the consultation include:
- How long have you practiced entertainment law?
- Who are some of your clients?
- Are there business dealings you don’t handle?
Only hire attorneys if you feel comfortable they are competent to meet your needs.
Approach hiring a lawyer as you would finding a business partner or starting a friendship. If you can’t get along, it’s not going to work. Examine your feelings about the communication taking place. Is the attorney actively listening to you? Are you establishing a good rapport? Your confidence in your lawyer’s people skills goes beyond your interpersonal connection. You need this person to interact on your behalf in complicated matters. Respect and trust between you are essential.
You want the best representation possible, but you need to be able to afford it. Lawyers charge for every communication from casual texts to formal calls and emails. As part of your research into entertainment law specialists, find out how fees are structured and determine what works for your finances. Can you pay an hourly rate, or would you need flat-fee services? Affordability also factors into how much time and effort a lawyer can contribute to your business.
Don’t let legal concerns keep you from making your dreams come true. The right lawyer can make sure your business deals are not only legitimate but also in your best interest.