how to become entertainment lawyer

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how to become entertainment lawyer

An entertainment lawyer is a law professional who specializes in legal matters related to the entertainment industry. Entertainment lawyers may focus on advising clients on entertainment contract laws, intellectual property or entertainment labor laws.

Entertainment lawyers can represent a variety of entertainment professionals, including authors, music producers and actors. They may work with clients in any entertainment industry, such as:

Music
Print media
Digital media
Film
Television
Comedy
What does an entertainment lawyer do?
An entertainment lawyer can specialize in certain entertainment industries or legal aspects. Their duties can vary depending on their area of specialization, but common responsibilities can include:

Assisting with the negotiation process for entertainment contracts
Drafting deal and payment agreements regarding bookings or events
Advising clients on legal matters and answering questions related to the entertainment industry
Establishing intellectual property rights for clients
Protecting a client’s intellectual property rights
Networking with clients and making new connections
Helping clients gain distribution rights for their creative works
Representing client’s in court and pursuing legal action regarding intellectual property
Connecting clients with other entertainment professionals such as managers
Where does an entertainment lawyer work?
Entertainment lawyers can work in a law firm or they may work directly for a large entertainment company. Many entertainment lawyers live in or near large cities because cities tend to have more entertainment opportunities. An entertainment lawyer may choose to work in a certain location depending on their specialty. For example, if they want to pursue film law, they may work in a city with multiple movie studios.

How do you become an entertainment lawyer?
If you are interested in becoming an entertainment lawyer, consider following these steps:

Earn a bachelor’s degree
The first step to becoming an entertainment lawyer is earning a bachelor’s degree. Law schools don’t require a certain major, but aspiring lawyers may choose to study a field where they can develop helpful legal skills, such as communication, negotiation and writing. Some majors to consider include:

English
Economics
Political science
History
Business
Sociology
Psychology
Some aspiring entertainment lawyers choose to study an entertainment subject, such as music or theater. This can give them industry knowledge and insight into the entertainment field.

Pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, aspiring entertainment lawyers can apply to law schools. To apply for law programs, students must first take the LSAT. This test includes five multiple-choice sections covering areas such as reading comprehension, analytical thinking, critical thinking and argument skills. After the multiple-choice sections, there is a written portion.

Many law students study for the test for at least several months. They may take an LSAT preparation course, join a study group or take practice tests. When they feel prepared, they can register for the LSAT at various testing locations. If you are interested in becoming an entertainment lawyer, consider exploring the preparation and testing opportunities near you.

Apply for law school
After passing the LSAT, you can begin applying for law school programs. Consider researching and exploring programs in your desired field. Some schools offer specialized entertainment law programs. Attending a school with this specialty could help you begin your career. These programs are often in or near large cities. During their studies, students may complete an internship program with a local entertainment law office or entertainment company.

When preparing your law school applications, you may need to gather the following documents:

Undergraduate transcripts
Proof of passing LSAT score
Personal statement
Letters of recommendation

Earn a law degree
The next step in becoming an entertainment lawyer is earning a law degree. The common degree for entertainment lawyers is the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. This degree program typically takes three years to complete, although many schools now offer part-time programs. Part-time programs take longer, often about four years to complete.

During your studies, consider taking courses related to entertainment law. In the first year, law students typically student general law concepts, but they can focus on specializations in the second and third years. During this time, you may choose to study topics such as:

Copyright law
First amendment practices
Intellectual property law
Negotiations
Income taxes
You may also choose electives related to the entertainment field you want to practice in. For example, some programs offer courses in music law or film law. This can be a great way to develop specific skills and industry knowledge for your career.

Consider a certificate
Some law schools offer an entertainment law certificate. This can help you begin or advance your career. Law students can complete this certification while earning their law degree. In this program, students may study law concepts related to the entertainment field, including contract law and labor laws. Consider what area of entertainment you want to work in when choosing a certificate program.

Pass the bar examination
After graduating from a law program, aspiring lawyers must take and pass the bar exam. States can set guidelines for this exam, but typically it involves a two-day test. Lawyers must pass the bar in the state they want to practice in. For example, if you want to practice law in California, you must pass the California bar.

Geographic location is an important part of entertainment law, as some cities have more career opportunities than others for the entertainment industry. When completing the bar exam, consider where you want to work. Explore locations that have opportunities within your entertainment field. For example, if you want to work in the music industry, you may explore locations that have a lot of music studios or vendors.

Gain professional experience
After passing the bar exam, lawyers can begin practicing law. Many entertainment lawyers begin their careers as legal associates. When searching for entry-level legal positions, consider exploring both law firms and entertainment companies. Some large companies hire in-house entertainment lawyers. For example, a large movie studio may hire its own lawyers to draft contracts.

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