Not everyone knows this but the backbone to every record deal, every talent contract, and any other commercial relationship in the entertainment industry is a first rate legal team. This includes both lawyers and entertainment paralegals, whose job it is to crank out the contract details of an artist’s rights and obligations before signing that deal.
The entertainment paralegal works behind the scenes. While writers, instrumentalists, producers, sound engineers, and other creative and talented professionals get almost equal share in the artist’s fame as a their record goes platinum or as the movie hits box office hit status, the entertainment paralegal remains largely in the background.
Still, that does not diminish in any way the part he played in making an artist’s career a successful one. In fact, many entertainment paralegals are quick to point out that they get some satisfaction just knowing that they played a small part in an artist’s career.
What does an entertainment paralegal do?
One thing you can say about the job of a paralegal or legal assistant is that the work is fast-paced and exciting. The challenges can be overwhelming at times, with deadlines coming in from all sides, but every job has moments like these.
Basically, what an entertainment paralegal does is to assist the entertainment attorneys. Their tasks can range from filing copyright applications to preparing initial drafts of recording, producer, mixer, management and termination agreements.
Lawyers may also ask an entertainment paralegal to draft letters on behalf of a client advising the contracting party they have failed to perform certain obligations under the agreement. Lawyers may even have entertainment paralegals to translate contracts or agreements into “plain English” so the artists would understand and know what they are signing.
The responsibilities are as varied as the nuances of the whole entertainment industry and an entertainment paralegal must be prepared to take on any of the challenges and tasks that an entertainment attorney may delegate to him.
Getting Started as an Entertainment Paralegal
As of this time, there are no standard employment requirements for entertainment paralegals. However, most employers agree that some formal training or higher education, particularly in paralegal studies is a must. Work experience in the legal community is also a huge plus and may increase your employment prospects.
Many entertainment paralegals today did not always start out as entertainment paralegals. Some of them took up law courses or have some experience working in a law firm or legal office. Their work experience, reinforced with their working knowledge on important legal concepts, substantive law, and legal procedures, are assets to have when considering a career as an entertainment paralegal. Most paralegal programs currently offered in many community colleges and universities provide exposure to pertinent areas of paralegal studies.