How to Become an Entertainment Lawyer

How to Become an Entertainment Lawyer

Becoming an entertainment lawyer is an interesting career choice for many law professionals. The allure of working in the entertainment world is self-evident. This position offers that opportunity even to people who had a misfortune of being born without any artistic talent. As they say, there is no business like the show business. But getting there can be a tricky proposition. It requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but it is doable. If you are interested in pursuing a career in entertainment law, here is a simple road map that will guide you there.

What A Career in Entertainment Law Entails

Entertainment law is probably the least alluring segment of show business, but a necessary one. You will be assisting your clients with all forms of legal advice, starting from contracts to intellectual property rights. Every piece of legal paper presented to them should pass your scrutiny, to ensure that their interests are protected. As an entertainment lawyer, you will be a part of a team, consisting of agents and managers, who will have their separate tasks. Together, you will be responsible for presenting your clients with deals that are both beneficial and legally correct. 

Other parties, like studios or concert venues, will try to squeeze as much as they can from your client. Shady loopholes are something you will encounter daily. It will be your job to root them out and make sure that your clients are fully protected from such practices. This will require an intricate knowledge of the law, as well as personal skills and problem-solving attitude on your part.

The Road Map

The following road map will list all the steps you need to take in your education and career choices to become an entertainment lawyer. The details will be made based on personal choices and preferences, but the basic blueprint will be pretty much the same. Becoming an entertainment lawyer, or lawyer of any kind for that matter will require utmost dedication to your studies and a lot of perseverance. Some talent also won’t go amiss, but it is not a substitute for hard work, nor is the lack of it a big hindrance on your way.

Undergraduate Studies

After finishing high school, your first step towards a career in entertainment law will be an undergraduate degree or bachelor’s degree. Choose carefully your major. For instance, a major in Music may sound interesting, but it can also pigeonhole you and prevent you from working in other areas. The most important thing to pay attention to is your choice of classes. Basically, they will depend on your interest. If you are interested in working in the movie industry, select classes pertinent to it, like film history or production. The same goes for any other segment of entertainment, whether music, gaming, or sport. Establishing some early basic knowledge is essential for later job performance.

You also might want to choose classes that will help you once you enroll in a law school. One class we would recommend is the Federal Income Tax. It won’t make you an expert in taxes, but it will give you a basic understanding of how taxes work. That will be a major advantage later on. You can also consider classes like Accounting and Business Law, and anything else that may give you a leg up.

Taking the LSAT (Law School Admission Test)

LSAT or Law School Admission Test is a test all students trying to enroll in a law school must pass. The test is administered by the Law School Admission Council. It is held four times a year across the country in various testing centers. The LSAT consists of five segments, all of them based on multiple-choice answers. The most important skills it tries to measure are critical thinking, reasoning, and reading comprehension. You will also be required to write an essay on a given topic. The purpose of the essay is to test how well you can construct an argument. 

You can find plenty of examples on the Internet to see how well you would fare on it. The Law School Admission Council also gives free sample questions and topics to give you a taste of what it is expected of you. It is important to note that the LSAT score is not the only metric law schools will use to decide whether to admit you. But it is an important one, and a good score on it can only help you.

Enrolling at a Law School

Choosing a law school will depend on many factors, and most of them are personal ones. Many of them have entertainment law programs, but you might want to consider a school that is at or near one of the major centers of the entertainment industry. Of course, it is possible to enroll at any law school and still have a successful career as an entertainment lawyer. It is just that it is much easier to find internship opportunities when you are near one of these entertainment hubs. Internships during school are very important. They will provide you with an edge over other candidates once you apply for a job. Also, they will provide you with practical knowledge the school can’t teach you.  Once you graduate, you will hold a Juris Doctor degree or JD. It will allow you to practice law anywhere in the United States, provided you pass the bar exam.

The Bar Exam – The Last Obstacle Between You and Your Career

The final step on your way towards a career in entertainment law is passing the Bar examination. Generally speaking, you will need to apply for Bar admission in every state you want to practice law. But with the adoption of the UBE (Uniform Bar Examination), you will need to take the exam only once, since the score is portable. 

However, not all states recognize UBE. Some of them still have their own Bar exams that you will need to pass. It is one of the hardest tests in the world and, it will require a lot of hard work. That is why it is best to decide beforehand where you want to work and, ideally, already have a job offer from that state.