How do I get into entertainment law?
Everyone wants to “go Hollywood.” The glitz and glitter of representing movies stars and A-list directors is too damn tempting, isn’t it? Not to mention the 5% commission entertainment attorneys charge, which means there’s no such thing as billable hours! Too good be true, huh? It is.
It’s the best legal gig in the world, if you’re lucky enough to pull it off. But it’s not easy. You’re not the only one who thinks making two mill a year for hanging out with Reese Witherspoon is a good job. There’s a lot of competition and no obvious career path. So the battle is to get in the door—and the best way to make that happen, in my opinion, is to work at the most prestigious firm you possibly can for two or three years. Sullivan, Cravath, Skadden, O’Melveny… While there, exploit every Hollywood contact you have and try to get a job as a grunt at one of the boutique LA firms.
Stay away from the posers and corporate firms who pretend to do entertainment law. Focus only on the 5% of boutiques representing talent. Not studios, not “film financiers.” Talent. Find the firms who represent movie stars, big-budget directors, and high-profile TV producers. They’re the only firms really in the game. It’s not easy to get an interview—and the lawyers themselves tend to be very snotty and aloof—but keep trying. They always need bitches to draft contracts and do the pedestrian legal work none of them really want to do. These cats fancy themselves dealmakers/agents/schmoozers, so they don’t want to draft long-form agreements and do legal research. So get a few Big-Firm years under your belt and start networking your ass off. Don’t take no for answer. More importantly, read the interview on Bitter Lawyer with Carlos Goodman.
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