BESLS PRESENTS: A PANEL OF ATTORNEYS AT THE FOREFRONT OF MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT LAW
By: Taylor Collins
(1L Delegate, Music Chair)
On October 28th, BESLS invited Erika Stallings (Attorney, Broadcast Music, Inc.), Marcie Cleary (Associate, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC), and Kyle Brett (Associate, Schreck Rose Dappello Adams Berlin & Dunham, LLP), to speak on a panel moderated by Lucas Wherry (President, BESLS).
The music and entertainment professionals provided insight into the roles lawyers play both in-house and at law firms. They also advised students on how to break into the industry, and once hired, how to succeed.
Prior to working at Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”), Ms. Stallings worked as a litigator at various biglaw firms. These experiences taught her how to think in an anticipatory way (e.g., making sure you’re executing the best deal possible for the client, while trying to minimize potential risk), and she applied this method to her work at BMI. In addition to representing BMI, Ms. Stallings strives to educate artists on the importance of documenting their work for copyright protection and registering their works with the performing rights organization.
· Subscribe to the Penny Fractions newsletter (weekly analysis of the music streaming business).
· Read the book, All You Need to Know about the Music Business.
· (Genuinely) help people in law school. You never know when these acts will come back around.
· If you are meeting an industry professional for coffee, respect their time, and come prepared.
Prior to working at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC (“Frankfurt”), Ms. Cleary worked as a corporate associate at a biglaw firm. When she transitioned to her current role at Frankfurt, she began to work much more closely with a great number of individual clients. Ms. Cleary stressed the importance of staying organized and knowing your clients’ business needs, while also getting to know them on a personal level.
· Rather than send one follow-up e-mail after a coffee meeting, send periodic correspondence that includes relevant updates.
· Keep in touch with the people you intern for. This can lead to job opportunities.
· Read articles on Billboard, Deadline, Hollywood Reporter.
Prior to working at Schreck Rose Dappello Adams Berlin & Dunham, LLP, Mr. Brett worked in mergers and acquisitions at a biglaw firm. In the entertainment industry, a client may not always know the legalese, but they certainly know the project they’re involved with (and care about it, intensely). As an entertainment lawyer, you must share this passion; anticipate the client’s needs; and maintain an acute level of attention to detail.
· Mr. Brett advised students to test out his “whirlpool” networking approach. Pick six people and focus on developing a rapport with each one of them. Furthermore, do not be afraid to e-mail your “six” with thoughts on a current industry matter, or updates on relevant work experience you completed. Some of these relationships can become self-sustaining, and they will continue to benefit you throughout your career.
· For the long-term, it is important to work in an area of law you are passionate about. Your client’s deal becomes your deal. This mindset will provide you with motivation to overcome obstacles at your firm and in the industry.