Friday at CMJ meant the slower side of things when the 5th Annual Entertainment Business Law Seminar: How To Take It With You brought lawyers and law students from across the city to NYU’s Kimmel Center. Sponsored by CMJ and chaired by the Entertainment and Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, guests enjoyed such presentations as a discussion of publicity rights by Frankfurt, Kurnit partner Richard Kurnit and a keynote address by Jason Flom, founder and president of Lava Records.

The event was a must for anyone thinking about entering the industry. “It was very educational,” said one first-year law student in attendance. “The whole day was filled with advice and exposure to some of the top talent in New York entertainment law.” The seminar wasn’t short of networking opportunities, either. Beginning with a breakfast panel entitled Today New York, Tomorrow The World, this discussion on licensing for overseas markets gave guests plenty to talk about going into sessions which covered everything from app development to mobile TV rights and digital film distribution.

CMJ’s Entertainment Business Law Seminar was well-suited as the centerpiece of the festival. Additional highlights included a panel titled Ethical Issues In Representing Entertainment Clients. Now more than ever, lawyers are assuming less traditional roles in helping their artist-clients guide their projects to success. This means venturing into areas where longstanding answers to ethical questions may not apply. In an age where iTunes reaps 50% of music sales, lawyers are providing business and legal counsel in new ways to ensure clients’ rights remain protected and everyone gets paid. Is it unrealistic to think the old ways of doing things can still work? The leading opinion among the speakers was yes and How To Take It With You provided a forum for Manhattan’s top advocates in the field to share their approaches.

As if CMJ readers needed it, the seminar was yet another reminder of the importance of persistence in this business. An undoubtedly common quality among all the speakers was a willingness to take chances, evidenced by their success in ventures that probably were not obvious home runs at the beginning. Jason Flom perhaps said it best when asked about the future of his business. “There are no real rock stars anymore.” His closing, however, could have been addressed to any of the young lawyers and law students present and looking to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry. “Am I optimistic the next Prince will walk into my office someday? Absolutely. All positives start with the music.”

– Jason Rindenau