I’m Interested in Entertainment Law


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.

Got a question for Ex-Bitter?  Email it to advice@bitterlaywer.com

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

8 Comments

  1. Alma Federer

    September 22, 2008 at 5:36 am

    They always need “bitches to draft contracts”? 

    “and do the pedestrian legal work none of them really want to do?”
    How sexist is the bitter lawyer?  How about male “bastards”?  Arent they hiring penises?
    You guys ought to be more careful in what you write about. It’s bad enough being dumb; why add sexist to the mix?

  2. murphy

    September 22, 2008 at 8:01 am

    wow.  overreact much?

  3. OK

    September 22, 2008 at 8:02 am

    I think the use of “bitch” in the article is gender neutral.  You should focus on more pressing feminist issues like renaming “manhole” covers.

  4. alma is lame

    September 23, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    this story is the same for trademark law

  5. Glitz

    September 23, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Yeah, Alma is Lame, nothing sexier than trademark law.  bet it’s the same for trusts and estates too.

  6. same for TM

    September 24, 2008 at 10:34 am

    minus the sexiness…lol

  7. Al Dickman

    September 25, 2008 at 3:13 am

    Actually, I don’t think entertainment law is particularly sexy at all.  For the most part, youre drafting long and dull contracts, and you dont get to see celebrities or do fun things.  Just because youre in legal, does NOT mean youre going to get to the red carpet parties.  We never see any lawyers stepping out of limos with starlets.  There’s a better chance for fun doing corporate work; at least there you get to work with I-Bankers who will take you out to strip clubs after holding a closing dinner celebration.  That’s the closest you’ll ever get to deductible party expenses.

  8. Shawn

    October 3, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Wow, Alma. You took it out of context, bitch was not used to refer to women in that statement, another slang definition for bitch is someone who does the hard work for someone else who is sitting on their ass. Ever here of bitchwork? Get on point.

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