Career Tips If You Want to Practice Music Law

By William Vogeler, Esq. on July 19, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In the midst of World War II, songwriters Harold Adamson and Jimmie McHugh popularized the expression "on a wing and prayer."

They wrote several patriotic songs during the war, prompting President Truman to award them the Presidential Certificate of Merit. It was all good, except that they borrowed the "wing and a prayer" lyric from an earlier John Wayne movie.

It's a snapshot of history that illustrates something about the world of music law: it can be a glamorous business where your chances for success sometimes depends on fighting and a bit of luck.

Law School Path to Success

If you want to turn a passion for music into a legal career, it helps to know where to turn for an education. Billboard recently listed alphabetically its top 12 music law schools as follows:

  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
  • Brooklyn Law School
  • Cornell Law School
  • Fordham University School of Law
  • Harvard Law School
  • Loyola Law School
  • University of California Berkeley School of Law
  • University of California Los Angeles School of Law
  • University of Miami School of Law
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • University of Southern California Gould School of Law
  • Yale Law School

Typically, graduates from higher ranked law schools have an advantage in the marketplace. But as they say in the movies, it's not what you know, it's who you know.

Who You Know

Music law, a subset of entertainment law, is a niche known best by those in the business. And they say it takes hard work and good connections.

Tara Kole, who made it to the top among entertainment lawyers at the relatively young age of 35, said she got into the practice through a connection.

Kole, a Harvard Law grad who clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court, wanted to be an entertainment lawyer but didn't know anybody in the business. She did know Judge Alex Kozinski, however, which was close enough.

Kozinski introduced Kole to Bruce Ramer, a partner at the entertainment law firm Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown. The rest, as they say in Hollywood, is probably fiction.

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