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How do I Become a Music Attorney?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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To become a music attorney, you must complete all necessary courses needed to become a licensed lawyer in your area. This usually involves graduation from a four-year college or university, followed by several more years in law school. After graduation, you should involve yourself within the music industry and become familiar with practices and ways of doing business. Once you have a good handle on the lingo and business practices of the industry, you can go about finding clients.

Most areas require anyone who wishes to become a music attorney to complete law school. This requires finishing a degree at a four-year school, followed by three to four years at an accredited law school. Before entering law school, you will likely have to pass a specialized test. Upon completion of all law courses, you will also need to take the bar exam in order to become licensed as an attorney in your area. If you plan to move elsewhere to an area with more musical opportunities, you will likely need to become licensed in any areas you wish to work.

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Once you have graduated from school, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the music industry. You can do this by working with an established music attorney in an internship or as an apprentice. While doing your job you will learn the ins and outs of the industry, how to find clients, and how to properly represent them. You may also figure out in which area you want to work within the industry.

The role of the attorney varies based on the individual. A graduate who has become a music attorney may decide to pursue a career as a musical talent agent. An agent is someone who scouts new talent and attempts to sell the artist’s music to record labels. In return for the agent’s efforts, he or she will receive a portion of an album’s sale to the label and sometimes additional royalties depending on the client/agent contract. Other attorneys may work alongside an agent to help with writing contracts and looking over contracts being offered.

A good agent has to know the ropes within the industry. This means he must form relationships with studio executives and get to know people who work in the media. He must become a master at publicity and maintaining personal relationships, as well as understand the legal aspects of music contracts and record deals to ensure his client is getting a fair deal.

Other tasks you may perform once you've become a music attorney include reading over contracts, settling disputes between artists and record labels, and representing artists in cases of slander or copyright infringement. In some cases an attorney may specialize in one of these areas, while others handle cases of all sorts. Some attorneys may also work as a primary attorney for one particular record label or recording star, although this is rare and generally comes after years of hard work and success.

To land the job you want, the most important thing is networking. Get in contact with record labels, other attorneys, and potential clients. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and attend social events where you may run into someone important in the industry. If your goal is to work for a particular firm or agency, call them personally and ask about potential job opportunities. Remember, though, that you may have to start at a smaller firm and work your way up to the bigger names once you’ve proven yourself as competent and talented.

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