Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

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RamTitan
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Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby RamTitan » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:54 pm

I'll try to keep this as general as possible, so that way it will be useful for other people in the same situation.

I am a recent college graduate (English Writing major, 3.67 GPA, selective (but not prestigious) liberal arts college in the Midwest), and am trying to decide whether or not going to law school is the right option for me.

My reasons for wanting to go to law school are that I want to be a talent agent or an entertainment lawyer; I am passionate about the entertainment industry, and really want to find a way to start a career in that field any way possible. However, I am a naturally creative person; I used to want to be a filmmaker, used to be involved in theater as an actor, and still want to be a creative writer/screenwriter. So in short, I don't want to go to law school to become an attorney necessarily, which is apparently considered to be a huge red flag. I want to be a talent agent so I can ensure that the artists I know have the careers they deserve, but I still have artistic ambitions of my own.

I do have a good analytical mind, and am excellent with debating with and persuading people, and am excellent at constructing arguments both orally and with the written word (all my life people have said I should go to law school). Going to law school to get an excellent education and make me a smarter person is an enticing prospect. Plus I am currently stuck in the Midwest, and I see law school as a ticket out of here and a chance to finally go to the West where I've always wanted to be. I also am having trouble finding employment. Despite having a high GPA and 5 internships, I have applied to over 300 jobs and haven't really gotten anywhere.

Another problem/benefit I have is my crippling financial dependence on my parents; they paid for all of my college (so no loans for me), and would pay for most, if not all, of my law school. A free JD...doesn't sound like a bad option. But because of that there are many restrictions on me, specifically where in the country they'd be willing to let me go and what kind of work they'd be happy with me doing. And I know for certain my Dad doesn't like the idea of me going to California.

I've been studying for the LSAT for about a month now. I started with super low scores, but have worked my way up to upper 150s, and am studying to get into the 165-170 range for the October test. I have interned at the State's Attorney's Office before, which I loathed.

So, what are your thoughts; yay or nay for law school?

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Cicero76
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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby Cicero76 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:10 pm

noppppppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

bad idea

lawman84
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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby lawman84 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:16 pm

I don't recommend law school if you dislike the idea of being a lawyer. And this is coming from a person that was in a similar situation to you. I entered law school not planning to be a lawyer but to do something else with my law degree. Thing is that I found out that I actually enjoy it and am good at it.

Seems like you already know that you don't want to do it and won't like it. And that likely won't translate to success in law school. Law school is a grind and you have to enjoy what you're doing (at least to an extent) to do well...or at minimum, have something pushing you to power through the terribleness.

Just sounds like a bad situation for you. Seems like you're panicking at your job options and looking for an out.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:19 pm

What did you dislike about your experience interning at the State's Attorney's Office ?

To what type of jobs have you applied ?

Curious as to which undergraduate school you attended because you did not get any job offers despite earning a very good GPA.

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RamTitan
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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby RamTitan » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:39 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:What did you dislike about your experience interning at the State's Attorney's Office ?

To what type of jobs have you applied ?

Curious as to which undergraduate school you attended because you did not get any job offers despite earning a very good GPA.

I went to Illinois Wesleyan University; I think it's #71 on the US News liberal arts college ranking list. I've been applying to jobs in public relations, marketing, and advertising. I don't want to inflate myself, but I do have excellent interviewing skills (have scored perfects in all of my practice interviews), and made it to the final round for some high profile jobs (Yahoo marketing associate program, Weber Shandwick and other global PR firms), but never of them translated into job offers. I turned down a few jobs thinking I would get something better, and now I am kicking myself.

I shouldn't say I hated the State's Attorney's Office. It was super interesting transcribing these crazy jail calls and testimonies that ended up teaching me a ton about how people speak and think (like I said I'm a writer; it helped me write my first produced feature length stage play). But I couldn't help but notice how unhappy the attorneys were. Their schedules were insane, most of them were out of shape and talked about how stressed they were from their jobs. A lot of those people had graduated from the University of Illinois's law school.

I think I could study my way into a solid law school; I would love to go to USC or UCLA, but that may end up being a stretch. But California is really where I want to be, so if I can't go there, then what's the point (especially if I go and I find that I'm out of my element and can't compete with the other candidates if I do make it in there)?

lawman84
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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby lawman84 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:55 pm

RamTitan wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:What did you dislike about your experience interning at the State's Attorney's Office ?

To what type of jobs have you applied ?

Curious as to which undergraduate school you attended because you did not get any job offers despite earning a very good GPA.

I went to Illinois Wesleyan University; I think it's #71 on the US News liberal arts college ranking list. I've been applying to jobs in public relations, marketing, and advertising. I don't want to inflate myself, but I do have excellent interviewing skills (have scored perfects in all of my practice interviews), and made it to the final round for some high profile jobs (Yahoo marketing associate program, Weber Shandwick and other global PR firms), but never of them translated into job offers. I turned down a few jobs thinking I would get something better, and now I am kicking myself.

I shouldn't say I hated the State's Attorney's Office. It was super interesting transcribing these crazy jail calls and testimonies that ended up teaching me a ton about how people speak and think (like I said I'm a writer; it helped me write my first produced feature length stage play). But I couldn't help but notice how unhappy the attorneys were. Their schedules were insane, most of them were out of shape and talked about how stressed they were from their jobs. A lot of those people had graduated from the University of Illinois's law school.

I think I could study my way into a solid law school; I would love to go to USC or UCLA, but that may end up being a stretch. But California is really where I want to be, so if I can't go there, then what's the point (especially if I go and I find that I'm out of my element and can't compete with the other candidates if I do make it in there)?


You can. Do well on the LSAT. You can get into either of those schools with your GPA if you do well on the LSAT. And if you do really well, you can get a scholarship.

But law school might end up being a waste of time for you if you don't want to practice law and have no career lined up.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:15 pm

If you need exposure to large law firm life, apply for a position as a paralegal. Large law firms have formal programs. Typically they ask for a two year commitment. Starting base pay is in the forties, but, with overtime, many double their base salary. Law firms of all sizes hire paralegals as do government agencies, DA offices, etc. Small law firms usually pay less, however.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:22 pm

As an aside, are you familiar with USC's Writing For Television & Film program. Probably the best in the world. Extremely difficult to get an offer of admission, however. I believe that the acceptance rate is in the range of six (6%) to eight (8%) percent. But all of their graduates are snapped up by studios as writers. Unfortunately, you have to do a full four years even though you already have a college degree.

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RamTitan
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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby RamTitan » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:24 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:As an aside, are you familiar with USC's Writing For Television & Film program. Probably the best in the world. Extremely difficult to get an offer of admission, however. I believe that the acceptance rate is in the range of six (6%) to eight (8%) percent. But all of their graduates are snapped up by studios as writers. Unfortunately, you have to do a full four years even though you already have a college degree.

I would devour an opportunity to get into a program of that caliber, but there is no way my parents would pay for film school, and there is no way I would take out loans to go to a film school.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby lawman84 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:41 pm

RamTitan wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:As an aside, are you familiar with USC's Writing For Television & Film program. Probably the best in the world. Extremely difficult to get an offer of admission, however. I believe that the acceptance rate is in the range of six (6%) to eight (8%) percent. But all of their graduates are snapped up by studios as writers. Unfortunately, you have to do a full four years even though you already have a college degree.

I would devour an opportunity to get into a program of that caliber, but there is no way my parents would pay for film school, and there is no way I would take out loans to go to a film school.


Why not? If that's something you can see yourself doing and loving, I think it's worth the risk. Especially if CanadianWolf is right about your job prospects.

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RamTitan
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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby RamTitan » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:08 pm

lawman84 wrote:
RamTitan wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:As an aside, are you familiar with USC's Writing For Television & Film program. Probably the best in the world. Extremely difficult to get an offer of admission, however. I believe that the acceptance rate is in the range of six (6%) to eight (8%) percent. But all of their graduates are snapped up by studios as writers. Unfortunately, you have to do a full four years even though you already have a college degree.

I would devour an opportunity to get into a program of that caliber, but there is no way my parents would pay for film school, and there is no way I would take out loans to go to a film school.


Why not? If that's something you can see yourself doing and loving, I think it's worth the risk. Especially if CanadianWolf is right about your job prospects.

For a long time I thought I wanted to go to film school, and their market is very similar to the legal one; junior level positions are cut, but more and more being people are entering film school. There are many testimonials from USC grads about why not to go to film school and incur debt, as you will most likely graduate without getting a job of some kind.

Getting an M.F.A. is not a career advancement move; it does open doors and give you connections that you would not otherwise have. But I don't have the balls to make that kind of maneuver.

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RamTitan
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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby RamTitan » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:15 pm

The main reason I want to go to law school is honestly for relocation purposes. I can't get a job as an out of state candidate, and I do not want to spend the rest of my days in the Midwest.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:27 am

This is more of a writing program than a film school. It is a BA program, not an MFA. But, reportedly every single graduate gets a job in the film industry as a writer. The reason that I suggested this degree program is your original post in this thread indicates that your career objective is to become involved in creative writing as a screenwriter.

I have a friend who is a entertainment lawyer, but he is in a biglaw firm in NYC. He heads the department & graduated Columbia University School of Law. Seems to handle more pro sports teams, players & coaches than actors or writers.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:39 am

OP: If you really want to become a screenwriter, then USC's program is worth investigating. Maybe you can get financial aid, maybe not. There is a small program attached which requires that one has published significant works to be considered for admission. My point is that you should research the program before dismissing it if your career goals are serious.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby RamTitan » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:49 pm

I guess the crux of my problem is that I don't really know what I want to do. I am a writer and I would love to make writing a profession, but who doesn't? That's not a realistic option that I can support myself with.

What I really want is to be in a certain part of the country, and I am more flexible when it comes to my career. I'm looking for a wide variety of experiences. I want to be a jack of all trades; the idea of doing one career the rest of my life doesn't sound appealing. Which is probably why many people see going to law school as a bad option for me since I don't necessarily want to be an attorney. But on the other hand, an education of that caliber is something I would appreciate, and if I'm not going into debt, then what's the harm?

I'm torn, but it seems that most people are pointing in the direction of "nay".

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby chuckbass » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:54 pm

RamTitan wrote:I guess the crux of my problem is that I don't really know what I want to do.

Then you should definitely not spend time/$$$ committing to a law degree at the moment. Law school isn't going anywhere.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby pancakes3 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:21 pm

Just get a job first. You can study for the LSAT, establish financial independence, do some soul-searching and research about what you want as a career. Like Scotti said - law school isn't going anywhere.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby victory » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:34 pm

Ari Gold went to UMich for law school.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby NYYNYR » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:16 pm

You have to find a way to relocate to LA and get an odd job to support yourself. There is no way anyone will hire someone living in the Midwest - entertainment job opportunities move quickly, because they are mostly assistant positions. Assistants are usually needing to move to another "desk" quickly and their boss usually needs to get someone trained all within a week so that their lives are not disturbed. They will never risk wasting time on someone out of town. Also, you have to get out there to really figure out what role you want to take.

Hopefully you can get out there and find an internship (or assistant position if you're lucky), track down every assistant out there and find a way to meet them, and then see if some school is necessary after a year or so. I'd venture to say that an MFA, MBA, JD or otherwise will not be needed.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:48 pm

OP: if you are serious about wanting to engage in creative writing as a screenwriter for film or television, then just apply to the USC program (it is a BA program). The application process itself may resolve much of your confusion. If accepted, then go because it means that you have talent & will be gainfully employed in the arts as a writer if you complete the program. This is not like a regular college degree--this is more intense than auditioning for Julliard or Curtis because it is not just a recognition of talent & entrance to the best training program available, but it is as certain as one can be about future employment.

To the poster above: Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois has a "pipeline" from the Midwest to Hollywood through its theatre/film program. The first female head of a major studio was/is a Northwestern University graduate. In Hollywood they're referred to as the Northwestern Mafia.

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RamTitan
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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby RamTitan » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:29 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:OP: if you are serious about wanting to engage in creative writing as a screenwriter for film or television, then just apply to the USC program (it is a BA program). The application process itself may resolve much of your confusion. If accepted, then go because it means that you have talent & will be gainfully employed in the arts as a writer if you complete the program. This is not like a regular college degree--this is more intense than auditioning for Julliard or Curtis because it is not just a recognition of talent & entrance to the best training program available, but it is as certain as one can be about future employment.

To the poster above: Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois has a "pipeline" from the Midwest to Hollywood through its theatre/film program. The first female head of a major studio was/is a Northwestern University graduate. In Hollywood they're referred to as the Northwestern Mafia.

CannadianWolf, I appreciate your insight, but there is no way I can justify paying to get another B.A., especially when I already have a B.A. writing degree. I get what you're saying about how intense and competitive USC's program is, and I will look into their M.FA. program, but two B.A.s? That seems a little ridiculous.

The biggest thing about writing is the actual doing of it, not the degree. I've extensively researched this topic; I was admitted to USC's film school for undergrad, but my parents and I couldn't justify the expense (60k per year without any financial or merit aid for an uncertain future). I still write every day, and that's not going to change. Read interviews from great writers, and they all say the same thing; getting an M.F.A. guarantees nothing. Those who do go say they appreciate the two years spent writing (and if it's an M.F.A. in creative writing instead of screenwriting it can be for free, which is what I've been looking into for the past few years), but they admit that it's not necessary, and those who do not get one are adamant that it's a waste of time to have someone teach you to write because it cannot be taught. I see what you're saying; the connections are important, especially with screenwriting. But going into debt is a big risk; nonetheless, I plan on calling their office tomorrow to see what's up.

But now I need to find a career. Maybe I will enjoy being an attorney, maybe I won't. I definitely need to do more research on that front. But no matter what, I think the education will be valuable.

And to be honest, I'm still not sold that I should not get a J.D.

People are talking about it being a waste of time and money; is working 9 to 5 in marketing and PR (if I'm luck to get gainfully employed) also not a "waste of time"? It's about perception. Those are interesting fields, but I've done internships in them before, and I know that marketing isn't something I see myself doing the rest of my life. And if I could go to law school for virtually free and learn a lot, then why not take that risk?

I guess I'm playing devil's advocate. I more than appreciate the advice that's been thrown my way; it's sending my mind thinking into the directions it needs to be thinking.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby Holly Golightly » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:32 pm

If you don't already have an in into the industry, no. No no no.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:35 pm

I think that you misunderstand the BA program at USC. Most in the program will be published authors with other college degrees. This is different from the film school which is far less selective. But, if you won't even research the USC program, then I suspect that neither law nor screenwriting is for you.

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby cbbinnyc » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:41 pm

Haven't read the entire thread, so apologies if I'm repeating advice here ...

If you want to be a talent agent/manager, don't do law school. Get an internship with an agent/manager/casting director and work your way up that way. A law degree won't help. Yes, there are some agents/managers who have law degrees, but not many, and it's certainly not a prerequisite or even an advantage.

As for entertainment law, I have heard (as a previous poster said) it's not a good idea unless you have connections in the industry

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Re: Should I go to law school? Entertainment Law/Talent Agent

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:58 pm

OP: Calling is fine, but substantial information is available on the website. All required courses are also listed. The higher level program only accepts one or two writers per year & they must have written major/significant works. Again, I think that you misunderstand the program when comparing it to an MFA degree or just another BA degree. This is the pipeline to writing for television & film.




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