Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

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  • finalact4
    replied
    Re: Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

    I wanted to come here and amend my previous statement. I had a lawyer with an A-list company (think Brad Pitt, Tarantino, etc), and the lawyer was a partner. He did assist with two contracts that were never executed. He was also my manager's (really a producer) lawyer, so in retrospect, this may have just been a favor he was doing for my manager-not-manager, as I call him, at the time.

    I sent him a new contract option/purchase and his immediate response was, "Good to hear from you. Unfortunately, I don't think I can help you with this." I don't even think he looked at the offer-- it was that fast. No offer to pass me down to a lower ranking lawyer, just a "I wish I could do more to help."

    That cut and dry. C'ya later, bye, girl.

    I have a new lawyer, recommended to me by a fellow writer I respect and trust. The new lawyer sent me an Engagement Letter, which I've since signed. I think a lot of business is done with a handshake and a lot of business is done with a legal document that details the expectations. It's not a bad thing to sign a document.

    My point is that engaging an entertainment lawyer can happen both ways-- with a handshake or with a legally enforceable document. The deal is 5% on gross proceeds. And he can handle novel/book (fiction) contracts for the same percentage.

    And remember, in the state of California, you can fire your lawyer at any time, for any reason.
    Good luck all,
    FA4

    It's funny... you don't know, what you don't know until you know you didn't know. I'll be more careful in the future to stipulate, that "based on my experience," as not to proclaim my experience is the truth of all situations. ☺

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  • finalact4
    replied
    Re: Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

    I never signed anything. We just started working together with the first contract my manager at the time sent him. He's negotiated two contracts that we did not execute and he hasn't made a dime yet, because it's based on commission.

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  • Satriales
    replied
    Re: Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

    Never signed anything or paid a dime that wasn't commission.

    Leave a comment:


  • AGWriter
    replied
    Re: Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

    Originally posted by gs1979 View Post
    Hello, for those who have lawyers -- I'm wondering... Did you have to sign an agreement? Or was it just a handshake? If you had to sign a legal agreement, besides the customary 5% fee, was there a paragraph that read:

    "If we make any reasonable and customary out of pocket disbursements (messengers, air couriers, photocopying, and long-distance call) for you, you agree to reimburse us on a monthly basis".

    Maybe this is normal and I'm just being paranoid.... but I'm concerned about the paragraph because it could allow them to charge me anything without a cap. When I requested to include a cap, they wrote me back saying that's not necessary, they will just confirm with me before any cost is incurred.

    So not sure if I should push for them to add that language into the contract even though they're not interested in doing so... or if I should look elsewhere?

    Thanks.
    I've had three entertainment attorneys in my film/tv career and never signed an agreement with any of them. It was all a handshake. My current attorney who is one of the top entertainment attorneys right now didn't even ask for commission after negotiating my last tv sale. I had to bring it up and he was like yea it's 5 percent just send it whenever. I've also had them messenger stuff to my business managers and that's just a courtesy thing, he doesn't charge me for it. Maybe that's because he's with a big firm but just something to think about.

    Leave a comment:


  • catcon
    replied
    Re: Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

    I originally signed an agreement with my attorney (in L.A.) and he also wanted a $1000 retainer. At the time, I had the money. The retainer was there to take care of all of these incidentals you've mentioned.

    Now that I'm a poor retiree, he'll take care of me without the retainer, but I can expect small monthly bills. I pay him via E-transfer, and make sure he get paid promptly. I've always thought he was doing me a favor, since I'm way, way out of town.

    It's bad enough that I (we writers) do so much for free before we ever get remunerated, so I'm not sure I'd trust an attorney who did stuff for free. They'd be bound to make you pay big time someday or somehow or somewhere else.

    In terms of negotiating the deal, he's also my substitute for an agent since I don't have one. Further to this, he's also charged me a fee to do submissions (in a special project to NBC way back in 2009, etc.) At first, he included a one-hour fee to do a scan read of the script (ouch), but now that I'm a proven quantity (quality), at least to him, he only charges me the time (1/5 hour) to do up the email and send the attachment.

    The fellow knows that I'm doing 99 percent of the work and only approach him for stuff like submissions when I have no other option -- or when the submission represents an unusual opportunity. (In 2 or 3 of the examples, the company has subsequently let me to make submissions directly ... and no, I'm not talking NBC as one of those! )

    But most importantly, my lawyer is my biggest fan/supporter and yearns for the day that he gets to neg my first big deal!

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  • gs1979
    replied
    Re: Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

    Awesome! Gracias.

    Leave a comment:


  • JoeBanks
    replied
    Re: Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

    Originally posted by gs1979 View Post
    Hello, for those who have lawyers -- I'm wondering... Did you have to sign an agreement? Or was it just a handshake? If you had to sign a legal agreement, besides the customary 5% fee, was there a paragraph that read:

    "If we make any reasonable and customary out of pocket disbursements (messengers, air couriers, photocopying, and long-distance call) for you, you agree to reimburse us on a monthly basis".

    Maybe this is normal and I'm just being paranoid.... but I'm concerned about the paragraph because it could allow them to charge me anything without a cap. When I requested to include a cap, they wrote me back saying that's not necessary, they will just confirm with me before any cost is incurred.

    So not sure if I should push for them to add that language into the contract even though they're not interested in doing so... or if I should look elsewhere?
    Yes, all attorneys are required to enter into a fee agreement with each client that specifically details the scope of engagement and the fee structure(s) to be charged.

    And yes that reimbursement clause is typical and almost never amounts to anything substantial in the normal course of representation -- like I would be shocked if it's ever more than $50/month absent some extraordinary situation.

    Leave a comment:


  • gs1979
    started a topic Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

    Signing with Lawyer -- Lawyer agreement question

    Hello, for those who have lawyers -- I'm wondering... Did you have to sign an agreement? Or was it just a handshake? If you had to sign a legal agreement, besides the customary 5% fee, was there a paragraph that read:

    "If we make any reasonable and customary out of pocket disbursements (messengers, air couriers, photocopying, and long-distance call) for you, you agree to reimburse us on a monthly basis".

    Maybe this is normal and I'm just being paranoid.... but I'm concerned about the paragraph because it could allow them to charge me anything without a cap. When I requested to include a cap, they wrote me back saying that's not necessary, they will just confirm with me before any cost is incurred.

    So not sure if I should push for them to add that language into the contract even though they're not interested in doing so... or if I should look elsewhere?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by gs1979; 07-22-2020, 02:59 PM.
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