Media lawyers usually focus on providing legal services to individuals and companies that are part of the entertainment industry. Media lawyers are very knowledgeable about the laws that regulate electronic, print, and other media forms. They have a very broad job description, and they are great at things like drafting contracts and the litigation and mediation of disputes. These lawyers are often called entertainment lawyers.
A media lawyer often narrows their focus to just one or two types of media law. Some take cases dealing with contempt, defamation of character, privacy or censorship issues. Other media lawyers take cases that are concerned with confidentiality, copyright, or freedom of information. In most cases, media lawyers do transactional work, although some cases do make it to mediation. Anyone wanting to become a media lawyer needs to first graduate from law school and pass the bar exam. Getting into law school is dependent on completing at least three years of undergrad work at an accredited university. The law degree requires two to three additional years of study, and upon completion, potential media lawyers are required to gain work experience and pass an exam.
The quickest way to be a media lawyer is to get a job at an entertainment law firm. At first, you can get a position as an articling student or a researcher. Take your time, be good at what you do, and gain the respect and confidence of the firm's senior partners. Media law is becoming very prevalent in a lot of countries, increasing the need for lawyers that practice it. Therefore, the number of schools that offer courses in media law is also increasing. These programs usually focus on getting lawyers ready to practice entertainment law, and the schools can provide their students with an understanding of the policies and theories that relate to the entertainment industry.
Media lawyers that concentrate on radio and television will typically deal with broadcast regulatory and licensing issues, as well as disputes involving intellectual property rights. Those that work in the music business can negotiate agreements with producers and talent. They also deal with copyrights and synchronization issues. Film media lawyers negotiate contracts for motion pictures, distribution, film options, and talent.
If media lawyers specialize in theater law, they often review coproduction and rental agreements, and they are well versed in intellectual property law. Multimedia lawyers can handle cases involving the licensing of software, video game development and production. Media lawyers that handle print and publishing matters oversee contracts for models, ad agencies, and authors. They usually have some expertise in copyright law and intellectual property rights.
Media lawyers are responsible for attracting and gaining new clients. If you want to become a media lawyer, you should begin developing relationships with recording studios, talent managers, and sports agents. They will be aware of new talent that needs representation, and can provide good references.