If you are starting to make a name for yourself in the entertainment industry, you might find that you need an entertainment lawyer. Lawyers not only ensure that contracts you are signing are in your best interest, but they can also help introduce you to different producers and directors and can even help in the hunt for a perfect venue. Additionally, if you have a deal that has gone south, a good attorney can defend your interests. So, before you go off and hire the first lawyer who hands you their business card, here are some things to know.
Choose the Right Person
Just as in other areas of the law, all entertainment lawyers are not the same. They have different areas of expertise, and you want to make sure that you are hiring the right kind of lawyer for what you need. If you only need someone to negotiate a contract for you, you need a transactional attorney. If you only need someone to handle a lawsuit and to represent you, you need a litigator. Some take on more than one role, like John Branca, but they can be harder to find. Taking the time to find the right kind of lawyer can save you a lot of money and a lot of time in finding the right one after the wrong one couldn’t get the job done correctly.
Conduct Your Own Interview
You should always interview an attorney to ensure that you want to work with them. At the initial consultation, explain your situation to the attorney and see how they propose to handle it. Also, ask them for references. It can be beneficial to speak to other people that have worked with the lawyer before.
Furthermore, ask how long it is estimated for your work to be finished. If it involves the court system, keep in mind that it can take much longer than you think it should. Ask if your desired outcome is even possible. A good lawyer will be honest with you and won’t take you on as a client just for the money.
Talk About the Fees
Don’t just assume that the legal fees are fixed and that you will get a bill at the end. Many attorneys charge by the hour, which can add up quickly. Ask the attorney to estimate what they think it will cost and ask if you are required to pay a retainer up-front. The amount paid in the retainer will apply to your overall costs. Additionally, find out if you will be able to pay in installments and ask what kind of payment methods they accept.