You have probably heard countless tales of young DJs/Producers being ripped off. The simplest way to reduce your risk of being treated shabbily is to find a good lawyer.
A good Entertainment Lawyer will do several things for you:
1 – Explain what each legal document actually means. You can probably read a contract and understand what each word means. Your lawyer should be able to take that concept forward and explain what the contract (or other document) means in terms of your income (in particular, how much and when) and your obligations.
2 – Your Entertainment Lawyer should be able to give you some sense about whether you are entering a good deal or a bad deal.
3 – The lawyer will have experience in the area in which the deal is being done (if he or she doesn’t, then run away) and so will be able to tell you about similar deals he or she has come across.
4 – A lawyer cannot guarantee you will get a good deal. If there is only one deal on the table, and it is a take-it-or-leave-it deal, then all your lawyer will be able to do is warn you about the risks. In this case, the lawyer cannot make the deal financially better, although he or she may warn you away from disaster.
5 – When you do appoint a lawyer, it is particularly important to find one who has experience in the music industry and music industry practices. Given the long-term nature of deals within the industry, advice from a less than competent lawyer can cause you problems over a very long period. Indeed, poor legal advice may end your career.
How Much Do Entertainment Lawyers Charge?
Lawyers’ charges depend on the jurisdiction within which the lawyer is operating and the rules of the body that regulates the lawyer (assum- ing the lawyer is regulated).
In the UK, lawyers are typically paid on an hourly basis, so you will pay an agreed-upon fee for each hour that a lawyer works on your account.
In the US, hourly rates are still used, but they may be less common. Some lawyers are kept on a retainer, so the client pays a monthly fee, and the lawyer advises as necessary. Other lawyers charge a percent- age of the deal on which they are working.