Is In-House Entertainment Law Right for You?

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on February 25, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Are you uninspired by your corporate law job and have an insatiable attraction to seeming glamour of entertainment law? With the Oscars right around the corner, your interest in the field might be intensifying.

Though an in-house position at a Business and Legal Affairs department might sound like a dream job, the road to getting there is often arduous.

Here are five tips to consider before gunning for an in-house entertainment position:

  1. Question your intent. If you're lusting after an entertainment gig because it sounds fun and might get your foot in the door to pursue your real passion (writing, acting, singing), this might not be the best route. An in-house entertainment position may be a dream job for a lawyer (especially a BigLaw one), but not for an aspiring creative. It's possible for lawyers to make their creative dreams come true, but pursuing an entertainment legal job is an unnecessarily circuitous way of getting into the biz.
  2. Find a mentor. If you have a strong corporate law background but you don't have much (or any) experience in entertainment, find a mentor who can provide you with resources and training. Your legal skills are highly transferable but you need allies to move forward. In return, make yourself useful to them and pay it forward.
  3. Move to Los Angeles. To maximize the potential of getting hired for a Business and Legal Affairs position, you should consider making the move to Los Angeles. Being in La La land will let you make critical connections and give you an advantage in getting the job. This is not to say that there aren't opportunities to do entertainment-related work in other cities, but the lion's share of positions are in L.A.
  4. Financially plan for the move. Be prepared to take risks and make compromises. You might have to forgo your current reasonably stable corporate law job and take a substantial pay-cut to make the transition and learn the ropes in entertainment. After all, you will need to work your way up, so build a healthy nest egg in savings to help ease your financial burden.
  5. Network, network, network. As Jeffrey Fuhrman, an attorney who went from BigLaw to Business and Legal Affairs at NBCUniversal, told Lawyerist, "Never underestimate the professional value of friendship and networking."

If you're passionate about the field of entertainment law -- which is, at the end of the day, another face of legal service -- making the switch from corporate to entertainment might just be your "dream job."

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