Entertainment Industry has existed since decades but it is only a few years back that it started gaining importance as a full-fledged profession amongst lawyers. With the rising importance comes rising competition. Therefore, how can you, as a law student, decide which course of action is best for you and how can you succeed in this fast-growing profession?
Guiding your way
Media & Entertainment Lawyer, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. She graduated from JGLS in 2017 and then went onto pursue her LLM in M&E from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Prior to her stint at CAM, she was working with Naik Naik and Company as an associate. Her work is primarily transactional M&E law and involves drafting, vetting, negotiating talent, production and other related contracts, script reviewing, advisory for clients ranging from artists to production companies.
Media and Entertainment Law as a profession majorly focuses upon IP Laws for the protection of artistic works and talent. It is for the rising awareness regards to the protection of art that this profession quickly gained so much importance in recent years. Movie scripts, journalism stints, talent production, and the likes are some of the areas which require protection from being copied and produced by another party without credits. Let’s dive into this profession as a career journey from the perspective of our industry expert.
Understanding the work of an M&E lawyer from the inside
As an M&E lawyer, each day is different yet exciting. I get to work on a range and variety of transactions. It can be drafting or reviewing an actor's agreement for his engagement in a film or a production/distribution agreement or various rights agreements to negotiating the same.
I also do script reviewing which can be fun. Due diligence to ensure chain of rights and a wide range of advisory. It is a lot of fun, hard work and juggling between too many things (nothing like they show in the films though ;). Sometimes my work can spill over to other practice areas like tax or corporate law or even litigation and it's great because I get to learn something new every day. Can't complain!
Therefore, a career as an M&E lawyer is extremely interesting, challenging (like any other lawyers job) with sometimes having an added bonus of getting entertained while working.
1. Evolution and the rising importance of this Profession
I am honestly so glad the importance is rising for this field of expertise. M&E law is a very developed and robust field in most developing and developed countries in the world and to see it getting the kind of traction is truly heart-warming.
I credit this to the changing Media and Entertainment landscape in our country- how we consume content and the kind of content we consume has changed drastically (especially over the past 4-5 years) and stakeholders are realizing the importance of protecting and safeguarding their IP rights from exploitation.
Advice to Freshers
1. What kind of work can you expect?
M&E law is vast and therefore, fresh graduates can expect a lot of transactional work (if that's what they chose to do) which is contract drafting and negotiation for clients ranging from actor agreements, endorsement agreements to production agreements. While on the other hand, non-transactional M&E is primarily litigation work.
2. Getting an edge of others and the importance of LLM
While pursuing a specialized degree in this area helps with adding that edge, I truly believe that all law students are certain of what they want to specialize in or what piques their interest.
Sometimes what one studies and the work one does can be different. I do however think that structuring ones CV in a direction that they want to pursue is extremely important- publishing, blogging, taking up electives in law school which are M&E driven can also help add that edge to one’s profile.
This practice area is a lot of hard work (like any other) and it is the serious side of the media and entertainment business. I say this because the misconception is that M&E lawyers are partying all the time, have all the gossip in the world and that is not true. This practice requires dedication, resilience and a lot of passion.
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