View Full Version : Explain the lawyer thing to me...
07-29-2004, 01:22 PM
I was introduced to an entertainment lawyer by a friend. He found out we're from the same town and wanted me to email him. I did. He said let's have a meeting and see if there's a way for us to work together. Then he made a joke of not charging me a fee for initial consultation. Or was it a joke?
For those who don't remember, I'm unrepresented. This guy has some very big clients--names we all know. So that's not an issue. But what do I need to know about fees, procedure, and so forth? How can I benefit from this guy? Is this worth pursuing considering the position I'm in?
Maybe suggest that you buy him lunch? That way it's not a formal 'office the clock is ticking' meeting but an informal chat.
Even a lawyer couldn't accept lunch AND charge you...... could they?:eek
Just have a chat, talk about what you're after and ask him what he thinks, what he suggests and what arrangement he'd have in mind. There are different ways of sorting out fees, pay him by the hour or give him 5% of any deal (though I'm no expert) so it would be usual to ask what he has in mind.
And if the meeting doesn't go well, escape out the restroom window and land him with the check!
07-29-2004, 04:57 PM
If he has major clients, his firm probably works only on percentage (5%)/retainer. There would be no out-of-pocket for you, he would recoup out of your sales.
The consultation comment was probably a joke, if he is as you say he is.
Everybody needs a lawyer at the time of major transaction, so lawyers can mostly just parachute in and start client relationships at that point with no risk. Obviously, any efforts/expenses with an unproven writer would be at his risk. For an unproven writer, these outputs might be time drafting contracts for deals too small to be worth his 5%, or sending out scripts (copying and postage). Law firms generally don't want to be in the business of sending out scripts. Think about it: a partner at a law firm bills around $400/hr.. Small indie deals around $10K won't be worth his while.
If he responds to your work, or just wants to be nice, he may take you on (this happened to me). This is a good situation to be in. It will allow you to submit to many places that otherwise wouldn't accept your script. If he doesn't want to get caught in the morass of doing small deals for you by actually having you as a client, you might want to see if he would be open to sending scripts out for you. You could offer to mitigate his expenses, by dropping off copies/paying for postage whatever.
If it's a reputable law firm, and you can get him to agree to at the very least citing your association in query letters, it can give you a leg up getting your stuff read. The actual association could be informal or formal.
07-29-2004, 04:59 PM
I met my lawyer four years ago. Since then, he's been a friend and consultant and never charged me a dime. He's looked for representation for me and finally hooked me up with an awesome manager. He just offered to rep me officially, sent me a contract and after four years, I'm finally a for-real client. Before that, he was helping for free because he liked me, liked my potential, and probably thought I'd pay off in the future in the form of the 5% of gross movie related income I've agreed to give him. He's done the same for a lot of writers and directors without signing them. Hmm. Are you from Tacoma by any chance?
Meet this guy and see if you click. If he's got a lot of big name clients (maybe even if he doesn't), he could be very helpful.
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