What Do Entertainment Lawyers Do?

Lawyers play a vital role in the entertainment industry, representing artists, unions, entertainment companies, and the public. Read on to find out more about entertainment lawyers' duties, education, and salary. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Some entertainment lawyers represent individual persons, such as actors or musicians, while others work to protect the trademark rights of major production companies from infringement on characters, plot lines, and brand names. Entertainment lawyers are additionally found in the political arena of the entertainment industry, working to represent bodies of workers such as actors, directors, or writers by working for the unions affiliated with such groups. Regardless of the specific role an entertainment lawyer plays in the field, they will have many of the same duties and responsibilities shared by other types of attorneys.

Important Facts About Entertainment Lawyers

On-the-Job Training None; new hires may begin as associates
Key Skills Excellent oral and written communication, diligent researching, analytical and critical thinking, problem solving
Work Environment Private or corporate legal offices, may require meetings at a client's home, hospitals, or prisons
Similar Occupations Judge, paralegal, legal assistant, arbitrator, mediator, conciliator, post-secondary teacher

Duties and Responsibilities

Entertainment lawyers, as well as other types of lawyers, act as advocates and representatives of their clients in a courtroom setting, as advisors to their clients in a corporate or business setting, or both. Unless they are self-employed with a few small-scale clients, lawyers typically act as supervisors to support staff, such as legal assistants, paralegals, and/or secretaries.

Day-to-day tasks include conducting research regarding specific matters or cases at hand to prepare for court or negotiation. All attorneys must communicate well with not only members of their legal team, but most especially with clients and prospective clients. Although some administrative duties will be fulfilled by others, attorneys must be organized and adept at preparing and filing legal documents.

Education

A prospective entertainment lawyer must attain a high school diploma or the equivalent, followed by a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. He or she then must take the Law School Admission Test and apply to law school. If possible, an aspiring entertainment lawyer should choose a school that specializes in entertainment law. Upon graduation, he or she will receive a Juris Doctor (J.D.). After passing his or her state bar exam, an entertainment lawyer should seek employment at a firm specializing in this discipline.

Salary and Employment Statistics

According to Payscale.com in September 2015, entertainment lawyers earned a median of $85,000 per year, including bonuses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicts that the employment of all lawyers should grow by about 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is average compared to other job sectors.

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