Sports & Entertainment Lawyers
Are you a sports or entertainment professional or entity? If so, you may need the services of an entertainment lawyer at some point in your career. But what exactly is an entertainment lawyer? In this article, we address what entertainment and athletic professionals need to know about finding and working with an entertainment lawyer.
Entertainment law is a unique and nuanced practice of law centered around the sports and entertainment industry. Transactions and relationships within these industries are often very complex, which is why it’s important to have an attorney who understands the sports and entertainment industry and can effectively represent you or your business’s interests.
As with any other business, there are a variety of legal issues that can arise in the sports and entertainment industry. From contract disputes to disputes over the use of one’s likeness, an entertainment lawyer can help you navigate these complex legal issues.
What is an Entertainment Lawyer?
An entertainment lawyer is a type of attorney who specializes in representing clients in the sports and entertainment industry. Entertainment lawyers can work in a variety of different settings, such as representing individual clients, working for a specific entertainment company, or representing a corporation that does business in the entertainment industry.
While the sports and entertainment industry is unique, entertainment lawyers must still be licensed to practice law in their state. In addition, many entertainment lawyers choose to specialize in a particular area of law, such as intellectual property or transactional law.
Entertainment law as a whole can encompass a wide range of legal issues, including drafting and negotiating contracts and deals, protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights like trademarks and copyrights, and litigating disputes that may arise in the entertainment industry.
Who Does an Entertainment Lawyer Serve?
Entertainment lawyers can serve a wide range of clients throughout the sports and entertainment industry, including individual artists, athletes, entertainers, teams, leagues, clubs, agents, managers, production companies, event promoters, venues, and sponsors.
Many entertainment lawyers also represent talent agencies, record labels, publishing companies, and other businesses that are involved in the sports and entertainment industry.
What are the Differences Between an Attorney and Agent?
While both attorneys and talent agents can provide legal representation to their clients, there are some key differences between the two.
To preface, an agent is defined as someone who represents another person or entity in business dealings. In the sports and entertainment industry, agents typically represent athletes and entertainers in their professional dealings, such as negotiating contracts, booking gigs, and finding sponsorships.
On the other hand, attorneys are licensed legal professionals who provide legal representation and advice to their clients. Unlike agents, attorneys are not typically involved in the day-to-day business dealings of their clients. Instead, they provide legal advice and assistance when needed, such as preparing and negotiating contracts, litigating disputes, and protecting intellectual property rights.
While both agents and attorneys can be involved in contract negotiations on behalf of their clients, only attorneys are legally bound to uphold the fiduciary duty to their clients, meaning they must always act in the best interests of their clients.
When Do I Need to Hire an Entertainment Lawyer?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this question. It depends on your particular situation and needs.
For example, if you are an athlete or entertainer who is just starting out in your career, you may only need an agent to help you get started. However, if you are an entertainer who is looking to sign a record deal or enter into a business venture, you may need both an agent and an attorney. The agent would help you with the business side of things, such as finding gigs and negotiating contracts, while the attorney would provide legal advice and assistance to ensure that the contracts are fair and protect your best interests.
The bottom line is that it is important to consult with an entertainment lawyer to discuss your specific needs and determine whether or not you need an agent and/or an attorney.
How to Find an Entertainment Lawyer
If you’re an artist, athlete, entertainer, or a business professional who is involved in the sports or entertainment industry, it’s important to find an experienced entertainment lawyer who can help you with your legal needs.
There are a few different ways to find an entertainment lawyer. One way is to ask for referrals from people you know who have worked with an entertainment lawyer in the past. Another way is to search for lawyers online using directories.
It’s important to understand what your particular legal needs are before you start searching for an entertainment lawyer. This will help you narrow down your search and find a lawyer who is experienced in the specific area of law that you need.
For example, if you are building out a brand, you will need a lawyer who is experienced in intellectual property law. If you are an athlete who is looking to sign a professional contract, you will need a lawyer who is experienced in transactional law.
Once you have a good understanding of your legal needs, you can start searching for an entertainment lawyer. When searching for a lawyer, be sure to read reviews and check out the lawyer’s website to learn more about their experience and practice areas.
Once you have a few lawyers in mind, it’s important to schedule an initial attorney consultation to meet with the lawyer and get a better understanding of their experience and how they can help you.
What to expect when meeting with an Entertainment Lawyer?
An initial consultation with an entertainment lawyer is typically an introductory meeting where you will discuss your specific legal needs and the lawyer will provide you with information about their experience and how they can help you.
Consultations vary depending on the attorney and firm, but many initial consultations last around 15-minutes to an hour. Some attorneys provide free initial consultations, while others charge a fee. Be sure to ask about the attorney’s consultation fee before you schedule a meeting.
When meeting with an entertainment lawyer, it’s important to come prepared with questions. This will help you get the most out of your consultation and allow you to make an informed decision about whether or not the lawyer is a good fit for you.
Some questions you may want to ask include:
- What is your experience with entertainment law and the entertainment industry?
- What are some of the most common legal issues you help clients with?
- Do you have experience with my specific legal need?
- What are your fees and how do you charge for your services?
- What can I expect if I decide to work with you?
After meeting with the lawyer, you should have a good understanding of their experience and how they can help you. If you decide to work with the lawyer, be sure to get everything in writing, including an estimate of their fees.
It’s also important to understand that entertainment law is a complex area of law. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to ask the lawyer for clarification.
Entertainment lawyers can help you with a variety of legal needs, such as contract negotiation, business advice, and brand enforcement. If you’re involved in the entertainment industry, it’s important to find an experienced entertainment lawyer who can help you with your specific legal needs.
When searching for an entertainment lawyer, be sure to ask about their experience, practice areas, and fees. You should also schedule an initial consultation to meet with the lawyer and get a better understanding of their experience and how they can help you.
Need an Entertainment Attorney? Learn more about our sports & entertainment law practice or schedule an initial consultation here.
Aaron Rice, Esq.
Sports & Entertainment Attorney
Chair of Sports & Entertainment Law Division
Aaron Rice is the Chair of Founders Legal’s Entertainment Group and managing attorney of the firm’s Nashville location. Aaron’s experience extends beyond legal expertise, providing his clients with a deep understanding of the entertainment industry through his own success as an award-winning musician and songwriter.
Prior to establishing his legal practice, Aaron received recognition as an award-winning, Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer. He was signed to both major and independent publishing companies, penned multiple Billboard chart-topping singles, and received numerous ASCAP and SESAC radio awards as a songwriter.