Law 767 - Music Industry Clinic

Jeffrey Light

Jeffrey Light

Lecturer in Law
A.B. Columbia University, 1979
J.D. Columbia Law School, 1983
Course Description:

The Music Industry Clinic will allow students to take on the role of providing legal advice along with negotiating and drafting agreements related to the production, distribution and publishing of music which could include: (1) agreements among band members; (2) management and agency agreements; (3) co-writer agreements; (4) producer and mixer agreements; (5) sample licenses; (6) indie recording and production agreements; (7) merchandising agreements; and (8) work for hire agreements.

Students enrolled in MIC will gain substantive expertise in client intake and legal representation in various facets of the music industry including the ethical considerations involved. Students will work in teams of two to provide legal representation to musical artists or entrepreneurs who meet the Clinic’s eligibility requirements. The Clinic will hold mandatory weekly two-hour group classes covering the substantive business, legal and ethical issues raised by the client matters, through presentations, discussion groups, and simulations. These weekly classes will include instruction along with the opportunity for students to receive feedback from the instructor and their peers about their clients. In addition, the students will engage in simulations which provide an opportunity for the students to develop their client interaction and negotiation and drafting skills.

The Clinic will also require frequent supervision meetings where each student team will meet with their supervising faculty member to discuss ongoing strategies in their projects. Creating the agenda for these meetings will be the students’ responsibility. These one on one meetings will be an opportunity for students to review specifics of their matters and receive input on their written work.

Students will deepen their practical understanding of the role of a music lawyer through both seminar activities and client interaction, where they will develop and practice a wide range of transferable skills and strategies. These skills and strategies include: interviewing clients; devising strategies for solving client issues; preparing and revising documents; developing effective communication skills for dealing with clients; and negotiating agreements including deal points.

Students in this four-unit course will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Students will also participate in a mid-semester evaluation to review learning goals and objectives. Music Law 303 is a prerequisite for the course.

Course Learning Outcomes:

1.         Attorney-Client Relationship andEthics

Students will be able to create an attorney-client relationship which ensures that the client is at the center of the representation and recognized as the ultimate decision-maker and perform the ethical duties of a California attorney, including competent representation, protection of client confidentiality and management of potential conflicts in client representation.

2.         Time and Project Management

Students will be ableto be more effective in their time and project management including client interactions to ensure that each client representation is completed in a timely and thorough manner.

3.         Communication

Students will be able to effectively interview clients in order to obtain the necessary information, gain the client's trust and confidence, and recognize and respond to the client's concerns.  Students will be able to communicate with clients in plain English regarding legal and business issues.

4.         Oral and Written Advocacy in Negotiations

Students will be able to negotiate on behalf of the clients orally and in writing by expressing their positions clearly and persuasively in negotiations and contract drafting.

5.         Collaboration and Professionalism

Students will be able to collaborate effectively and professionally by working with one other student in a manner that enhances the client representation and collaborationamong peers.  Professionalism involves processing feedback constructively and employing the diplomacy skills necessary to provide perspectives to the other students and advocate passionately but respectfully on behalf of their clients.

6.         Self-Evaluation

Students will be able to evaluate their own work by comparing their performance to standards, including those setby the student, the professor, and/or other students.

At the conclusion of this course, students should feel comfortable exercising the following skills:

·           Interviewing Prospective Clients

·           Evaluating the Appropriateness of Accepting the Client

·           Collaboration

·           Client Counseling

·           Oral and Written Negotiation Skills

·           Drafting and Reviewing a Wide Variety of Contracts