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Is There a Lawyer in the House?

Reader Matt writes:

I, like you, am a PA/aspiring writer.  I met a producer recently and pitched a script.  To my surprise, he said he wanted to make the movie!  He’s drawing up a contract, and now my writing partner and I find ourselves in need of an entertainment lawyer.

I’ve asked the writers on the TV show I work for, but all of their lawyers are incredibly expensive.  It’s a Catch-22: I can’t afford a lawyer until I get paid, and I can’t get paid until I sign the contract.

Since you’re in a similar point in your career, I thought you might know a more affordable attorney?

You’ve sold a script, and now you need someone to look over your contract? This is a classy problem to have, my friend. I wish I was at a similar point in my career.

I asked some of my own writer acquaintances, and got the same response. A lawyer’s gonna run you several hundred dollars an hour to review a contract, and even more if you want to retain him. (Which is not advisable at this point; one script does not a career make.)

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Maybe one of my other readers can offer a better suggestion?

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6 Responses

  1. I am an entertainment attorney, and I am more than willing to work with clients who are growing and have deals in the making. Shoot me an e-mail.

  2. Why don’t you find someone just starting out as an entertainment lawyer and will do it for cheap or free. Oh wait, that only happens in our industry!

  3. My entertainment lawyer works on a percentage, like my agent. So he only makes money (5%) if I do. I was under the impression that this was standard practice.

  4. There may be some young hungry attorney building a solo practice that would be happy to help you at a “lower than prevailing” rate. Drop me an email and I can see if I have a good candidate for you.

    scurphey@msn.com

    All the best,

    Sam

  5. I am an attorney who has done some entertainment work. However, I am not doing entertainment law right now and haven’t been practicing long enough to feel comfortable reviewing a contract myself. But, in law school and afterwards, I did some work for a solo entertainment attorney in San Francisco named Liz Hasse. Her is practice is called the Creative Industry Law Group – http://www.creativelawgroup.com/. I am not up on her current rates, but usually she charges a flat fee for something like contract review. She has done work for producers and writers and I highly recommend her. Also, there is an organization called California Lawyers for the Arts, http://www.calawyersforthearts.org/index.html, which offers lawyer referral services for independent artists.

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