How to Become an

Entertainment Lawyer

The complete career guide to be an Entertainment Lawyer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $136,260
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.6%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Deal Making
    Career Attribute

Entertainment lawyers represent clients who work in the entertainment industry. This may include film, theater, publishing, television, music, or digital media. They draw from a variety of legal disciplines—intellectual property, contract negotiation, and corporate law—to protect and defend their clients.

Recommended Schools

What is an Entertainment Lawyer?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in entertainment lawyer roles:

  • Meet with clients who work in the entertainment industry to better understand needs and concerns
  • Negotiate contracts with agencies and employers on behalf of clients
  • File suits on behalf of clients for issues like copyright infringement, defamation, or liability
  • Litigate in trials on behalf of clients who’ve been accused of wrongdoing
  • Network and market services to attract new clients

A Day in the Life

Entertainment lawyers represent clients who make their livings working in the entertainment industry in film and television production, music, theater, publishing, or digital media. They may work with movie stars, novelists, musicians, or YouTube personalities. The majority of entertainment lawyers live and work in the three major areas in the U.S. for entertainment: California, New York, and Nashville. However, many also work in secondary markets with a strong entertainment presence.

Some entertainment lawyers focus their efforts on transactional law. Transactional lawyers create contracts, engage in negotiations, and ensure contracted parties adhere to agreements. These lawyers often work with the agencies who represent clients, negotiating working agreements and pay rates that are favorable to clients, and ensuring clients do not enter into unfavorable agreements. They may also work with entertainment lawyers and participate in union negotiations or create union contracts.

Other entertainment lawyers are focused on litigation. These lawyers specialize in representing and defending clients who have filed lawsuits against a third party, or whom have had a lawsuit filed against them. Often, entertainment lawsuits revolve around issues of intellectual property, copyright infringement, defamation, or liability. Additionally, entertainment lawyers may need to defend clients against major corporations who’ve filed claims, so they must be familiar with corporate law as well.

Typical Work Schedule

Most entertainment lawyers work full-time schedules during normal business hours, but overtime is common in law practice. Attorneys may need to work in evenings or on weekends to accommodate client schedules, or to review or finalize paperwork to meet deadlines.

Typical Employers

Many entertainment lawyers work for private law firms: they may run their own practice, share a practice with one or more other lawyers, or work as an employee of a privately-owned law firm. Some may also be employed by corporations in the entertainment industry to handle paperwork and litigation. Others work for entertainment agencies, preparing legal contracts for clients on behalf—and in the best interest of—the agency.

Recommended Schools

How To Become an Entertainment Lawyer

The first step in becoming an entertainment lawyer is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Pre-law majors are common for aspiring entertainment lawyers, though political science, history, and English are sufficient as well. The major you pursue is less important than your overall academic profile upon graduation. Admittance into law school requires a high GPA, outstanding letters of reference from professors, and a high score on the LSAT—a standardized test administered to aspiring law school candidates.

After graduation, you’ll need to apply and be admitted into a law school. Law school is where you’ll learn how to practice as a lawyer. Three years of study is common, and law schools award Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees. In law school, you’ll want to focus your elective coursework on topics related to entertainment and media law, such as intellectual property law, contract writing and negotiation, and litigation if you plan to work in trials. After graduation, you’ll need to take the bar exam.

Passing the bar exam will allow you to practice law in the state where the bar exam was administered, so before taking the exam, it’s important to decide where you want to practice. Most entertainment lawyers practice in the major areas of entertainment production: Nashville, California, and New York. While work is available in other areas as well, most entertainment lawyers need to be familiar with the specific laws related to entertainment in these areas because clients may end up working in those areas.

Entertainment Lawyer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Entertainment Lawyer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Entertainment Lawyer's can make an average annual salary of $136,260, or $66 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $76,300 or $37 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #22 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Entertainment Lawyer. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Entertainment Lawyers

  • 91%   Doctorate
  • 4.1%   Masters
  • 3.5%   Bachelors
  • 0.5%   Associates
  • 0.4%   College
  • 0.4%   High School
  • 0.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Entertainment Lawyer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 43,800 jobs for a total of 822,500 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.6% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #401 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Entertainment Lawyers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Legal services 376,100 22,100 22%
Self-employed workers 165,500 -1,800 -2%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 55,600 5,300 5%

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