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What questions should I be asking when looking for a contract attorney?

Los Angeles, CA |

At the advice of my CPA, have recently formed a California S-Corporation within the entertainment industry, and am hired "For Services Offered" as an individual through my corporation.

The deal terms and contracts that are being presented to me as a company are a bit more complicated than the contracts I would enter into as an independent contractor / employee.

I am looking for an attorney to represent my company's contracts, both reviewing the terms I am agreeing to, as well as writing contracts that I enter into with my clients, and want to make sure I am protecting my company. Does this sound like something any Contract Lawyer could manage, or should I be asking more specific questions to find someone who can understand what to look out for, particularly in the entertainment world?

Attorney Answers 10

Posted

Get an entertainment attorney. A full consultation would be necessary to properly advise you.

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Posted

If it were me I would look mainly for experience and referrals.

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Posted

Entertainment law and contracts are more specialized than the run-of-the-mill business contracts. I'll change the practice area for you so that the experts can respond.

I am an Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practice law only in the state of California. Unless we have both signed a formal retainer agreement, you are not my client, and my discussion of issues does not constitute legal advice. Opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of those who hold other opinions.

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Posted

Absolutely find an attorney with experience in the segment(s) of the entertainment industry in which you are working. Specialized knowledge of the industry is key, and someone who has contacts within the industry can be invaluable.

If my answer was helpful to you, I would appreciate if you would mark it either "helpful" or "best answer" if you feel that applies, as AVVO gives us rating points based on feedback. Thank you! Please note that the above answer is not to be construed as legal advice. It is my personal opinion based on your question, and it was given without obtaining the detailed information that I would normally request in order to render comprehensive legal advice. I advise you to consult with a local attorney of your choosing to obtain specific legal advice. The fact that I answered your question does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and me.

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Marc Jacobson

Marc Jacobson

Posted

This is the best answer. The segment of the business is important, because the customs and standards are different between say, the film business and the TV business and the music business. Ask the lawyer what kind of business he focuses on.

Posted

Entertainment law is a highly specialized area. It does not only involve multiple areas of law such as intellectual property, contract law, agency law, labor law, etc., but more importantly, it involves the interaction of business concepts and recognized practices and how the multiple areas interact with each other. The attorney you select should be specialized in entertainment law or you may end up paying for an inexperienced attorney to learn on your dime with the potential risk of making costly mistakes. Do your research on Avvo.com, there are many highly qualified entertainment attorneys listed on this website.

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Marc Jacobson

Marc Jacobson

Posted

Tax and pension/retirement law are extremely important now that you have a loan out corporation.

Posted

As my colleagues have said, definitely find an attorney with experience in the entertainment industry, but you should also make sure the attorney has experience in the part of the business you're in. Someone experienced in just talent representation probably couldn't help you if you're on the technical side of the industry. And an attorney with just film experience may not be a good fit if you do television or Internet-related work. You didn't mention what you do, but make sure the attorney's experience fits your needs.

I've done work in Hollywood for over 25 years in all parts of the industry. And if I can't help you, I'm sure I'll know someone to refer you to. Feel free to contact me directly.

Please note that this answer should not be considered "legal advice" and no attorney-client relationship is formed by answering this question. You should hire an attorney licensed in your state and familiar with the relevant areas of the law to conduct an analysis of your situation and provide you with fully informed legal advice. This answer is posted for general purposes only.

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Posted

I am assuming you've formed a "loan out" company for your services in order to receive favorable tax treatment. If that's the case, companies that contract for your services will be contracting with your company (not you) for your services. Your company will then induce you to perform services (through an inducement clause). You need an entertainment attorney. If you are a member of a guild you will want to ask if they are familiar with the latest minimums set forth by your union.

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I recently wrote a magazine article for a Los Angeles music business magazine ("Music Connection") on just that topic. "Hiring an Entertainment Attorney—Some Insider Tips" You can find it online at http://musicconnection.com/hiring-entertainment-attorney-some-insider-tips/ Good luck.

The above is not intended as legal advice and does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship, as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication. Furthermore, the attorney's answer above is intended to be general information only, and there may be facts not contained in the question which could change the answer, so the answer above should not be relied upon without first obtaining legal advice from your own attorney.

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Posted

You are the best person to figure out what kind of questions you should ask. You didn't provide much information above. As my colleagues have suggested, do your homework and find an entertainment lawyer who has experience in the particular areas you deal with. Many attorneys offer free consultations. Make some calls. Ask people you know for recommendations. Finding the right attorney is like finding a mate. It takes time and thought to find the right one, but when you find him/her, it's worth the extra effort.

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Posted

As explained by my Avvo colleagues, you need an entertainment attorney. Like in-house counsel generally, yours will indicate outside legal counsel from time to time. Steer clear of attorneys representing your competitors.

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