If you’ve been following the media’s coverage of Britney Spears and her conservatorship controversy, then you understand how a legal team that understands the entertainment industry is an indispensable asset to a celebrity client. Lawyers who concentrate on handling the affairs of actors, musicians and artists can cater to the specialized needs of high-profile clients.
Here are five legal specialties to focus on if you want to become a prominent entertainment litigator.
1. Copyright, Infringement and Licensing
Creators often enter disputes over who owns the work. As a litigator, you’ll fight for your clients’ rights to receive compensation and royalties for the products they create. Listen to John Branca’s advice for law students wanting to dive into the entertainment space.
2. Media Information Access
Branding and public image are important for ensuring career longevity in the entertainment world. However, because of the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the media can play a significant role in how the public views an individual. As a lawyer, it’s your job to navigate the media space and protect your client’s reputation.
3. Defamation Law
Part of protecting your client is fighting claims that could be considered libelous or slanderous. If a broadcast or publication makes untrue and defamatory statements about your celebrity clients, you must respond aggressively and let the offenders know your clients won’t allow their good names to be dragged through the mud on the basis of false declarations.
4. Pre-publication and Pre-broadcast Review
For artists, the creative process doesn’t always include a filter. Additionally, as evidenced in how the Britney Spears case is unfolding on social media, emotions can run high when conflicts arise between public figures in the public domain. There may be occasions where your clients ask you to review content ahead of its release to screen for potential legal risks.
5. Contract Disputes
Whether it’s a movie deal, sports agreement or music contract, your clients will need your legal expertise to negotiate with managers, studios and production companies. Your knowledge of contract law as well as the intricacies of the entertainment industry will ensure you can competently and confidently ensure deals that serve the best interest of your celebrity clientele.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the legal capabilities you’ll need as an entertainment attorney, you can start planning your strategy for a long and successful career doing what you love while serving the stars.