November 10, 2010

So You’re Thinking About Law School

Think you look pretty snazzy in a suit?

Enjoy arguing over semantics?

Thinking about entertainment law?

Hold on – not so fast.  There are a few things that you should know about law school and entertainment law before you crack open that LSAT prep book….

1.     Don’t do it for the money.  This is the first thing that everyone will tell you about law school in general.  If you are thinking about law school solely because you don’t want to live in a box for the rest of your life, you are doing it for the wrong reasons and will be miserable in and after law school.  Just because you have a law degree, you are not guaranteed to make six figures.  Most lawyers don’t.  Not only that, but there is currently a lot of controversy about the number of new law schools opening up that are churning out more lawyers than the market needs.  That combined with the recession makes the competition for top jobs fierce.  Unless you go to a top law school or graduate number one in your class, don’t expect to be rolling in dough any time soon.

2.     It’s not the easy way out.  Too often people will say, “Well, if your dreams don’t work out, you can always go to law school.”  They make it seem like law school is for quitters, or people who have given up in general.  I have no idea where this mentality came from, but law school is not easy.  After your first week, you will wonder what you have gotten yourself into.  You will contemplate dropping out at least a dozen times your first year, and you will seriously question your sanity when you don’t.  I’m not saying that it’s all bad, but law school is not something that you can sail through on your way to easy money.

3.     Don’t do it to delay “the real world.”  Graduating from college is scary, especially when you majored in something in like music or music industry.  A lot of people go to graduate school to put off having to enter “the real world” and find a job (or more recently, to wait out the recession).  These, while tempting, are not good reasons to go to law school.  If you really love making music or recording bands, DO IT.  Don’t give up just because it’s a tough road ahead.  On the other hand, if you really enjoy the legal aspects of music: contracts, copyrights, trademarks, etc., then this may be the right choice for you.

4.     Entertainment lawyers are the rock stars of the legal world.  And like rock stars, everyone wants to be one.  Going into law school, I thought that I’d have no problem finding a job in my chosen field.  Wrong.  Employers want to tell you what field you’re going to be working in – not the other way around.  Every entertainment lawyer I have spoken to has told me the same thing: “I knew somebody.”  Breaking into entertainment law is tough; just as tough as breaking into the music industry in general, if not more so.  So unless you’ve already got an in, you’re going to have to work extra hard to make sure that you’re not stuck doing tax law for the rest of your life (more on that some other time).

For those of you who are still thinking about a career in entertainment law, I’ll be continuing to post on music law and legal interning.  If you have any questions or future post ideas, feel free to leave a comment.  You can also follow me on Twitter: @musicn3rd or email me at

-        Lauren
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