Surviving the Start: Advice For 1L Students

UCLA School of Law

Want To Study Entertainment Law? Read This

It’s full of glamour, controversy, and gossip.
The entertainment industry may seem like a fantasy, but to many, it’s a career.
Behind the glamorous celebrities and athletes, you’ll find S&E lawyers.
“Above all, the most important thing we do as entertainment lawyers is tell our clients the truth,” Jeff B. Cohen, a transactional attorney, writes in an ABA blog post. “That may sound simple, but believe me, in the entertainment industry, it is not. It’s hard to tell powerful and famous people things they don’t want to hear. But, if no one does, they can become detached from reality and make poor decisions.”
For those set on pursuing S&E law, the path may not seem as clear cut as say, criminal law.
Luckily, Daniel Waldman, a contributor at US News, recently broke down how aspiring S&E lawyers can pick the right law school for their S&E career.
Location is Critical
Of course, if you want to become an S&E lawyer, it might be helpful to be near the action.
The entertainment industry is all about connections. Waldman says that while attending a high-ranked, big name school is ideal, small schools can be just as beneficial in building those connections.
“First, law firms are generally more receptive to taking in alumni of local schools, even those ranked lower than their out-of-state counterparts,” Waldman writes. “Furthermore, by being located in or close to an entertainment hub, you will have more networking opportunities hosted by your school, law firms or even state and local bar associations. Attending those is important in any setting, but in such a competitive market the connections you make are invaluable.”
Look For Special Journals, Clinics, and Classes
It’s important to look for a law school that can offer journals, clinics, and courses in S&E law, Waldman says.
“One way a student can signal a prospective employer that she is serious about her S&E law aspirations is taking on as much relevant academic or practical load as possible,” he writes. “The availability of S&E opportunities fluctuates wildly between schools, so you want to make sure that your schools has at least a few available.”
For instance, at UCLA School of Law, there are three entertainment law clinics available. But at Penn State Law, a smaller school, there are also a number of S&E clinics available to students.
Look At Extracurriculars and Opportunities Available
Coursework is important, but having the opportunity to actually partake and experience S&E law is critical.
Waldman suggests applicants look at schools that have organization dedicated to S&E law or that are constantly bringing in speakers from the field.
“The University of Miami School of Law’s Entertainment and Sports Law Society, for example, embarked on a trip with the Miami Dolphins for a Legal Learning Series,” Waldman writes. “Another option is targeting schools that organize S&E law conferences. While those usually take place in larger schools, smaller schools like Fordham University School of Law hold those as well, and getting involved will help you connect with lawyers and other important figures in the area.”
Most importantly, Waldman says, it’s crucial to know that everything in entertainment revolves around networking.
“If much of the advice sounds like mostly different ways to network, it’s only because it is just that,” Waldman writes. “In the entertainment industry, networks matter quite a bit, and the legal side is no exception. The competition is tough, so make sure to stay driven and engaged.”
Sources: US News, American Bar Association

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