Interview with entertainment law firm

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Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:22 pm

How do you express interest in entertainment law?

I have a general interest in transactional work and the firm does entertainment transaction. However, how do you address your interest in entertainment law specifically? Is that also going to be asked?

I don't have any entertainment law background. Is there anything "extra" required for entertainment transactional work (ie: copyright law, etc.?). I've only taken general corporate classes like M&A

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby SFSpartan » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:25 pm

I can only speak to film, as that's the majority of entertainment work that I've been exposed to, but copyright, and rights in general, are super important. Accordingly, talking about your (real or imagined) interest in copyright, the DMCA, etc. is a good way to show interest.

If the firm does a lot of film work, there are a number of resources you can use to familiarize yourself with that type of work, develop an interest, etc. I would start with Mark Litwak. He's an attorney with a blog that does a good job of getting into the ins/outs of independent film work.

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:20 am

SFSpartan wrote:I can only speak to film, as that's the majority of entertainment work that I've been exposed to, but copyright, and rights in general, are super important. Accordingly, talking about your (real or imagined) interest in copyright, the DMCA, etc. is a good way to show interest.

If the firm does a lot of film work, there are a number of resources you can use to familiarize yourself with that type of work, develop an interest, etc. I would start with Mark Litwak. He's an attorney with a blog that does a good job of getting into the ins/outs of independent film work.


Thanks for your answer.

I haven't taken Copyright or any sort of IP class. Would that hurt me in the process of getting selected?

Note: I don't have an interview yet but have a connection that might be able to get me an interview in the future. I'm wondering if I should apply to other Entertainment Law firms given my non-entertainment law background or if that's a pipedream.

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:I haven't taken Copyright or any sort of IP class. Would that hurt me in the process of getting selected?

Note: I don't have an interview yet but have a connection that might be able to get me an interview in the future. I'm wondering if I should apply to other Entertainment Law firms given my non-entertainment law background or if that's a pipedream.

No one cares about what courses you took in law school. Never once heard someone got a job over another candidate because they took a specific course in law school.

That being said, background doesn't really factor in much, especially at the junior level (i.e., you don't need to be a musician to work in the music law industry).

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby FSK » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:40 am

1styearlateral wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:I haven't taken Copyright or any sort of IP class. Would that hurt me in the process of getting selected?

Note: I don't have an interview yet but have a connection that might be able to get me an interview in the future. I'm wondering if I should apply to other Entertainment Law firms given my non-entertainment law background or if that's a pipedream.

No one cares about what courses you took in law school. Never once heard someone got a job over another candidate because they took a specific course in law school.

That being said, background doesn't really factor in much, especially at the junior level (i.e., you don't need to be a musician to work in the music law industry).


I talked with some of the most prominent entertainment lawyers, and this is false. Its such a niche field you need a demonstrated interest of no one will give you time of day
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:19 am

1styearlateral wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:I haven't taken Copyright or any sort of IP class. Would that hurt me in the process of getting selected?

Note: I don't have an interview yet but have a connection that might be able to get me an interview in the future. I'm wondering if I should apply to other Entertainment Law firms given my non-entertainment law background or if that's a pipedream.

No one cares about what courses you took in law school. Never once heard someone got a job over another candidate because they took a specific course in law school.

That being said, background doesn't really factor in much, especially at the junior level (i.e., you don't need to be a musician to work in the music law industry).

This is absolutely false as applied to boutique entertainment firms that do film work. My firm wouldn't autoding someone for not having taken copyright (though not having taken copyright or any IP class certainly won't help them), as we have corporate/emerging companies work that they can probably do. However, I know of plenty of entertainment firms where not taking copyright or IP is either (i) an autoding or (ii) a huge black mark against the candidate. That being said, there are other ways to express interest in entertainment, as set forth above.

Also, whether the firm does primarily entertainment litigation or entertainment transactional work is probably material. If it's a boutique, they probably do a mix of both, though I would expect it to lean heavily towards transactional. My advice really applies to the transactional side of entertainment work - knowing about rights and the entertainment business in general is probably less helpful in litigation because all of the rights and business stuff has already happened by the time litigation is filed.

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:20 pm

Maybe being apart of an IP clinic would be helpful. But taking a course? I think most attorneys know that law school classes are bogus and do not demonstrate competency in a certain field. I graduated with a major concentration in IP but I doubt that would be helpful for applying for jobs in IP. I've also spoken with many IP attorneys at very well-regarded IP boutiques and coursework never once came up.

Firms care about grades and experience.

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby FSK » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:28 pm

Hardcore copyright/entertainment and Ip lit are very different. Sounds like you do patents/trade secret/trademark?
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:07 pm

FSK wrote:Hardcore copyright/entertainment and Ip lit are very different. Sounds like you do patents/trade secret/trademark?

Why does copyright/entertainment give more weight to (seemingly) useless factors? Is it because they're so niche?

And yes, I suppose I am over-generalizing IP... I haven't spoken to any copyright/entertainment attorneys regarding OP's question.

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:27 pm

1styearlateral wrote:
FSK wrote:Hardcore copyright/entertainment and Ip lit are very different. Sounds like you do patents/trade secret/trademark?

Why does copyright/entertainment give more weight to (seemingly) useless factors? Is it because they're so niche?

And yes, I suppose I am over-generalizing IP... I haven't spoken to any copyright/entertainment attorneys regarding OP's question.


the named factors aren't seemingly useless - if you have no idea what the difference between a manager and an agent is (aka if you don't have a basic understanding of the way the film/music industry works), if you don't have friends/a network that could become potential clients, if you don't know the difference between the types of rights ASCAP/BMI license and the types of rights Harry Fox license, why would they pick you over people that DO have those factors?

Partially because they're niche. Partially because they're typically smaller firms. Partially because the entire entertainment industry is built on connections. There are other reasons as well. But Entertainment Firms target those with experience in the field for these reasons and more

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Re: Interview with entertainment law firm

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:04 pm

1styearlateral wrote:
FSK wrote:Hardcore copyright/entertainment and Ip lit are very different. Sounds like you do patents/trade secret/trademark?

Why does copyright/entertainment give more weight to (seemingly) useless factors? Is it because they're so niche?

And yes, I suppose I am over-generalizing IP... I haven't spoken to any copyright/entertainment attorneys regarding OP's question.


For film, it's because the clients that hire film attorneys are extremely cost conscious. Studios don't typically hire outside counsel - they have massive legal and biz affairs departments to run their shit, and their attorneys generally have (i) prior experience on the business side of the industry; or (ii) several years in a boutique firm; or (iii) both. Since the studios don't hire, film attorneys generally do either talent rep. or production counsel work for independent films.

The only way to make money on talent rep. work is to have a shitload of volume, and to do your work quickly. Accordingly, Morris Yorn and other entertainment firms are going to want their attorneys to come in knowing shit, as the clients generally won't pay for junior associates to learn how to do every part of their job.

On the production counsel side of things, the clients generally don't have tons of money - we might get $50-$75k for acting as production counsel for a film with a $2M budget (which is a pretty solid budget for an independent film). However, that means that we have to do all legal tasks for the movie, including securing chain of title, negotiating and drafting actor agreements, negotiating with sales agents and distributors, bonding the film, and getting tax credits if necessary. That's a lot of work, and fucking up the legal side of one part of the movie is going to have affects elsewhere (the most egregious thing you can do is fuck up on rights and injunctive relief. Fucking up other things like Net Profits, or distribution will make the film unprofitable, and the client probably won't hire you again). Accordingly, you can't bill a ton of time on things, because there is a lot of work to do, and the work is flat fee. Accordingly, it's super helpful to have juniors that are familiar with and interested in the legal side of things, as that can buy them some time to figure out the business side.

I'd also echo what FSK said. However, I think that pure music licensing is relatively easier to get into without a background because (i) music licensing is extremely complicated, and that practice area changes relatively quickly; and (ii) that type of work, unlike other types of entertainment work, is mostly done by big firms.

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Check out top-law-schools.com

Postby FSK » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:14 pm

Check out top-law-schools.com



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