Music Lawyer: Salary Info, Job Description and Requirements

Sep 18, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a music lawyer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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.

Essential Information

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 (2018-2028)* 6% for all lawyers
Mean Annual Salary (2018)* $144,230 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 $144,230 in 2018 ( 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 $69.34 in 2018.

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 $144,230 annually.

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