Music lawyers handle client contracts and assist them in making sure they aren't violating any laws. A music lawyer must earn a college degree, graduate law school, and become licensed by passing the bar exam. While in college, taking courses in music business can be useful.
Music lawyers are entertainment lawyers who represent many different professions within the music industry. They may spend their time drafting and negotiating record label and live performance contracts on behalf of music artists. Music lawyers may also work with songwriters, managers, producers, and record labels, drafting and negotiating distribution, music publishing, music placement, and other contracts in order to protect their clients' interests. Music lawyers can file lawsuits when their clients' intellectual property rights or copyrights are infringed.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in any major, followed by Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school|
|Other Requirements||LSAT test for entry into law school
Bar examination required for licensure
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for all lawyers|
|Mean Annual Salary (2015)*||$136,260 for all lawyers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Music Lawyer Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that lawyers earned a mean salary of $136,260 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Music lawyers are usually paid by the hour, but sometimes earn a percentage from deals that they negotiate or settlements that they make on behalf of their clients. Their average hourly wage was $65.51 in 2015.
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Music Lawyer Requirements
In order to become a music lawyer, one must first earn a bachelor's degree in any major. Undergraduate courses that are recommended for pre-law students include English, public speaking, philosophy, history, and economics. These courses help students develop skills in reading, writing, speaking, and thinking logically, which are all important skills for lawyers to have. Students who wish to become music lawyers may also find it helpful to take courses in music and music business.
The next step is to go on to a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), which usually takes three years to complete. In order to be admitted into law school, students must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). During the first half of law school, students typically take core courses in contracts, legal writing, property law, constitutional law, and civil procedures. During the final half, students take courses related to their specialty in entertainment and music law. Students gain practical experience through part-time clerkships and activities such as conducting research and participating in mock trials.
Law school graduates earn their juris doctor (J.D.) degree. Lawyers must keep up-to-date on any new development that may affect their practice. For this reason, most states require that lawyers participate in continuing education.
All lawyers must be licensed before they can practice law. To become licensed, lawyers who have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school may take a bar examination, usually in the state in which they wish to practice. Most states administer a six-hour test known as the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). Additional tests required by many states can include the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), the Multistate Performance Test and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).
The job of a music lawyer is to manage legal matters for music artists, such as copyrights and contracts. Like other lawyers, completing law school and obtaining licensure through the bar exam are mandatory. On average, all lawyers, including music lawyers, earn $136,260 annually.