As a general rule of thumb, when the person you are making a deal with decides to hire a music lawyer, you need to hire a music lawyer of your own. Finding an entertainment lawyer for the first time can be a little overwhelming, but it is possible to find one who understands your needs and your budget. This advice will help as you try to find a music lawyer.
Identify Your Needs
Do you need an entertainment lawyer on a one time only basis, or do you need to keep a lawyer on retainer? Do you need help with contract negotiation or dealing an intellectual property right violation?
Music lawyers are specialized entertainment lawyers, and within the world of music lawyers, many attorneys have further specialized in dealing with a certain part of the industry. Understanding what you need legal help with will make it easier for you to find a lawyer who is up to the task. Knowing whether you are looking to build a long term relationship with a lawyer will also impact the process.
Once you know what you need from a lawyer, start asking around among your music industry circle. You are almost certain to know someone who has had to visit a lawyer for a music industry issue before. There is no substitute for a recommendation from someone who has had a good experience with a music lawyer - or a warning from someone who has been burned. Your contacts' contacts are your best pool of information.
Do Your Own Research
If you have can't find anyone who can recommend a good lawyer - or even if you can - invest a little of your own time into researching your options. Start by Googling the entertainment lawyers in your area. If you live in a town without any music specific attorneys, expand your search. Read reviews from old clients and check out websites to figure out who specializes in what part of the music industry.
While you are doing your research, be sure to check for any complaints about your short list of lawyer names with the bar association. Avvo.com can also help.
Meet With Your Short List
Whether you do it by phone or in person, have a brief question and answer session with your short list of lawyers. Find out what they specialize in, how soon they can work on your case, how much they charge and what their payment terms are.
Hire Your Music Lawyer!
After you have had your initial meetings with your short list, choose the lawyer that has the skills for your particular case at a price you can afford. It is also important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer. You need someone who listens to you, not rolls right over you.
Watch Your Sources
Recommendations are the best way to find a lawyer, but don't take the recommendations of the person on the other end of your legal issue. Even with the best intentions in the world, it is never a good idea for two parties in contract negotiations to have the same lawyer, especially if they have worked with this attorney for a long time and you are a new client.