Entertainment lawyers play a crucial role in ensuring that the complex legal aspects of the entertainment industry run smoothly. These professionals, who work with some of the biggest names in the industry, help their clients navigate the legal terrain and protect their rights and interests.
We spoke with some of the top entertainment lawyers from leading Los Angeles-based law firms to get insights into their work, their clients’ needs, and the challenges they face in the industry.
According to Peter Paterno, a partner at King, Holmes, Paterno, and Soriano, LLP, entertainment law is an exciting and theatrical field. “Our clients are artists, actors, musicians, producers, and filmmakers who are creating something amazing,” he says. “Our job is to help them protect their vision, their intellectual property, and their financial interests.”
Paterno adds that his role as an entertainment lawyer is to facilitate fair compensation for his clients. “We negotiate contracts, deal with copyrights and trademarks, and help our clients monetize their work,” he explains. “At the same time, we must also protect their privacy and help them navigate the media.”
Amy Sommer at Schwab, Goldberg, Price, and Dannay adds that entertainment lawyers must be familiar with the unique nature of the industry. “In this business, creativity and technology change constantly,” she says. “We need to stay up to date with trends and be able to respond quickly to any legal issues our clients may face.”
Sommer also says that entertainment lawyers must be prepared to work with a range of professionals in the industry. “We interact with agents, managers, and publicists, as well as other lawyers,” she says. “It’s important to have good communication skills and to be able to collaborate effectively to achieve the best outcomes for our clients.”
Challenges in the entertainment industry can come in many forms. For A.J. Varma of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, some of the biggest challenges include keeping up with constantly evolving technology and copyright issues. “As technology changes, copyrights and trademarks evolve,” Varma explains. “We need to ensure that our clients have adequate protections for their work and that their agreements with studios, production companies, distributors, and streaming services are negotiated fairly.”
Overall, entertainment lawyers play a critical role in the big business that is Hollywood. They help to ensure that artists, performers, and other creatives are properly compensated, and their work is protected. With such unique challenges, it’s clear that only a select few possess the skills and knowledge necessary for the job.