Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

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PeanutsNJam
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Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:48 am

Or do you know anybody doing that?

What's it like?

Is it a thing?

Please don't assume this is what I'm gunning for and start flinging the turds, I'm just curious.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:53 am

Gaming like casinos or video games? Lol

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fats provolone
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby fats provolone » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:54 am

I'm guessing it's like in house counsel for every other company

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby JohannDeMann » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:02 am

fats provolone wrote:I'm guessing it's like in house counsel for every other company

But you prolly get a couple free video games a year.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:37 am

Oh, you probably meant video games. I was going to say you can do a lot of gaming stuff working for Indian tribes, but that's probably not what you mean.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:41 am

I mean now that you guys bring up casinos, that does sound much more lucrative and sexy.

03152016
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby 03152016 » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:52 am

rascal call-in thread

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banjo
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby banjo » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:56 am

Might want to PM pwnlaw: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=118971

He takes questions every few months or so.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:46 am

I guess to broaden my question:

Everybody needs lawyers. Video game companies, mafia dons, Beyonce, cheating spouses, etc. Some of these are drastically different from others. There's a whole category called "divorce law", where all you do is handle divorces. I'm sure it's nothing like being a criminal defense attorney for the next Capone wannabe.

It sounds like biglaw is the same regardless of where you are. You sit at a desk and do bitchwork 14 hours a day for the partners of your firm. You do this for a few years and either decide you want to be one of the overseers, or want to go do something else.

I'm just wondering about that something else. Has anybody done anything/heard anything that is pretty awesome and/or unique? What options are out there? My "dream" lawyer job is prosecution. I've always wanted to do LE. But what if I didn't know about how awesome it'd be to represent Honey Booboo?

Also, how transferable are skills? Can a top shelf litigator handle tax law, or vice versa?

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:52 am

Skills aren't really transferable at all. It's a specialization game. An in house for a gaming company would still be a certain type of lawyer - tax lawyer or M&A lawyer etc the client is just the video game company. You might represent video game companies as a lawyer in private practice but private practice still is grouped with private practice because for the most part your clients - no matter who they are - work all private sector lawyers similarly to an extent. In house is the same. Regardless of whether you are in house for Victoria's Secret or chevron energy - you will do at a basic level the same thing if that makes sense.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:44 pm

I know people who've gone from civil litigation to prosecution, but the commonality is the litigation skills - experience standing up arguing in court is valuable for people who want to prosecute, even if they don't know much criminal law.

I don't know anyone who's gone from corporate to prosecution, or from in-house to prosecution. I just don't think there's any real skill overlap.

A civil litigator jumping over to tax to try cases involving tax may be a thing. I don't think the top-flight litigator should be handling someone else's tax affairs, no. (Tax is one of the only fields where a LLM is useful, it's very specialized).

I think there's a fairly solid barrier between transactional/litigation. I'm sure somewhere there's someone who does both, and people do change from one to the other, but they're very very different and the change isn't necessarily easy. (I mean, a small local solo attorney may do both, of course, but I suspect that's not what you're talking about.)

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kalvano
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby kalvano » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:29 pm

I do transactional work and I read threads about litigation on here sometimes and have no idea what the hell is going on. I would have to Google how to sue someone if I ever had to.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:06 pm

And I haven't the foggiest idea what you corporate/transactional people do. Like, absolutely none. :D

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kalvano
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby kalvano » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:09 am

I don't think what I do is easily related to traditional corporate / transactional work. Either way, OP, once you start practicing, you begin to develop a very particular set of skills, skills that will make you good at some things and totally lost at others.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:35 pm

So are you telling me Suits lied to me.

Srs question: If I do biglaw, and one day wake up and decide I want to be a fed prosecutor, do I start from scratch?

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fats provolone
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby fats provolone » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:49 pm

but good luck getting a job as an ausa right

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:51 pm

Well, sure. Just speaking hypothetically.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby Rahviveh » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:10 pm

Theres a guy on here named "PwnLaw" whos made threads and takes PMs, and hes worked in a corporate department in SV and in-house at gaming companies and startups. Seems like hes transitioned into a more business type role, though.

PwnLaw
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:17 am

Hi.

I used to lawyer in games.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:20 am

PwnLaw wrote:Hi.

I used to lawyer in games.


Would you be able to PM me the company you worked for?

How are the hours/pay?

How was the work environment? Did you sit in an office with all the other lawyers, or were you able to shoot the shit with game devs on break?

Did you get to witness any parts of game development yourself?

Is it basically IP work? Is it the same as IP work for any other software company?

Was it okay to come into work with a Star Wars t-shirt?

PwnLaw
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:15 pm

1) I've been in mobile game startups since leaving the firm. I repped a bunch of the bigger game folk when I was in the firm (in addition to all of the startups).

2) Hours are always better than a firm unless you're gunning to be a senior executive. I was gunning, so my hours were about the same. Pay is worse than equivalent year in a firm unless you're willing to include equity. With equity, there's a solid chance I'll come out ahead.

3) I love the work environment. I work with a bunch of people that love the same things I do. It's just a ton of fun. I was often the only lawyer in the company, and I normally interacted with everyone. Played a ton of games with people across the company at lunch.

4) Yes. I am intimately familiar. At this point, I've been the general counsel, head of business development, head of product, head of game design and CEO at the companies I've worked at. I've created a few games. I'm a bit more removed at the position I have today, but I still sit in on design meetings. 'Cause it's fun.

5) Games have a number of unique and discreet issues that just don't exist elsewhere and the law really hasn't caught up (virtual currency, live operations requirements, etc.). There is also a bunch of industry specific terms that you don't really see elsewhere regarding how development is handled. In general, games work is a subset of IP work, but you need to spend time to really grasp wtf is going on.

6) In my last position I exclusively wore shirts that I had been given for free. This included a Knights of the Old Republic MMO shirt.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:57 pm

PwnLaw wrote:1) I've been in mobile game startups since leaving the firm. I repped a bunch of the bigger game folk when I was in the firm (in addition to all of the startups).

2) Hours are always better than a firm unless you're gunning to be a senior executive. I was gunning, so my hours were about the same. Pay is worse than equivalent year in a firm unless you're willing to include equity. With equity, there's a solid chance I'll come out ahead.

3) I love the work environment. I work with a bunch of people that love the same things I do. It's just a ton of fun. I was often the only lawyer in the company, and I normally interacted with everyone. Played a ton of games with people across the company at lunch.

4) Yes. I am intimately familiar. At this point, I've been the general counsel, head of business development, head of product, head of game design and CEO at the companies I've worked at. I've created a few games. I'm a bit more removed at the position I have today, but I still sit in on design meetings. 'Cause it's fun.

5) Games have a number of unique and discreet issues that just don't exist elsewhere and the law really hasn't caught up (virtual currency, live operations requirements, etc.). There is also a bunch of industry specific terms that you don't really see elsewhere regarding how development is handled. In general, games work is a subset of IP work, but you need to spend time to really grasp wtf is going on.

6) In my last position I exclusively wore shirts that I had been given for free. This included a Knights of the Old Republic MMO shirt.


Thanks. I played KOTOR for a few years, always was and always will be a Bioware fan. More followups:

- How competitive would such a job be? Equivalent to biglaw? Tougher?

- When you said "in the firm", do you mean in a biglaw firm or were you in-house?

- Do you have any computer science background/is such background necessary?

- Did you dive straight in, or did you spend a few years doing IP biglaw first?

- How was the transition from in-house lawyer to the more integrated positions/heading startups?

- Is it common to negotiate for equity, or were you in a unique position of power?

PwnLaw
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:59 pm

1) It's hard to say. It's not a particularly common job. I did a blend of BizDev and GC for the first few startups I went to, so I was able to market myself as a dual hire. I could do this because I had a very strong network in games. I don't see a lot of other lawyers in the game startup space until the company gets pretty large. Generally, you need to come from a decent firm to get hired. So...I guess it's a fair bit harder than biglaw.

2) I was in a biglaw firm at first. I specialized in the entertainment industry broadly and in video games specifically.

3) I have a straight liberal arts background. My IP work was transactional in nature (licenses, EULAs, Privacy Policies, etc.).

4) 3 years in the firm and then into startups.

5) Transition required a lot of scrambling to acquire knowledge rapidly enough to stay on top of things. Most of the jobs I've been in have drawn upon my core skillset (logic reasoning, pressure management, interpersonal skills), so there is at least some common thread.

6) If you're in a startup, you should get equity. How much depends on how much leverage you have. I've gotten to the point where I'm senior enough to expect a fair bit and I have no issues pushing for it.

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby ChemEng1642 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:24 pm

PwnLaw wrote:1) I've been in mobile game startups since leaving the firm. I repped a bunch of the bigger game folk when I was in the firm (in addition to all of the startups).

2) Hours are always better than a firm unless you're gunning to be a senior executive. I was gunning, so my hours were about the same. Pay is worse than equivalent year in a firm unless you're willing to include equity. With equity, there's a solid chance I'll come out ahead.

3) I love the work environment. I work with a bunch of people that love the same things I do. It's just a ton of fun. I was often the only lawyer in the company, and I normally interacted with everyone. Played a ton of games with people across the company at lunch.

4) Yes. I am intimately familiar. At this point, I've been the general counsel, head of business development, head of product, head of game design and CEO at the companies I've worked at. I've created a few games. I'm a bit more removed at the position I have today, but I still sit in on design meetings. 'Cause it's fun.

5) Games have a number of unique and discreet issues that just don't exist elsewhere and the law really hasn't caught up (virtual currency, live operations requirements, etc.). There is also a bunch of industry specific terms that you don't really see elsewhere regarding how development is handled. In general, games work is a subset of IP work, but you need to spend time to really grasp wtf is going on.

6) In my last position I exclusively wore shirts that I had been given for free. This included a Knights of the Old Republic MMO shirt.


This sounds awesome! I would love to be in-house for a gaming company and it's cool to know you don't necessarily need a CS background to do it!

Nomo
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Re: Does anyone work as in-house counsel for gaming companies?

Postby Nomo » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:38 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I know people who've gone from civil litigation to prosecution, but the commonality is the litigation skills - experience standing up arguing in court is valuable for people who want to prosecute, even if they don't know much criminal law.

I don't know anyone who's gone from corporate to prosecution, or from in-house to prosecution. I just don't think there's any real skill overlap.

A civil litigator jumping over to tax to try cases involving tax may be a thing. I don't think the top-flight litigator should be handling someone else's tax affairs, no. (Tax is one of the only fields where a LLM is useful, it's very specialized).

I think there's a fairly solid barrier between transactional/litigation. I'm sure somewhere there's someone who does both, and people do change from one to the other, but they're very very different and the change isn't necessarily easy. (I mean, a small local solo attorney may do both, of course, but I suspect that's not what you're talking about.)


I think a fair number of bankruptcy attorneys do both. ERISA is mainly transactional, but I think some ERISA lawyers also litigate ERISA claims (though ERISA litigation is almost entirely done on paper). I've heard of litigators who do a lot of employment/labor going in house and doing more transactional work. But I agree that for the most part there is a pretty solid barrier.




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