Understanding and finding lawyers for screenwriters

Lawyer The Fuck Up


For employment contracts, most entertainment lawyers charge a 5% fee, so you don’t have to pay before the deal closes.

Find A Lawyer:

Be selective. Find someone you’re comfortable communicating with. This is a relationship you’re starting.

Here are some lists of entertainment lawyers and law firms:

see also: Entertainment Law Exposed on Clubhouse

Notes on Working With Entertainment Lawyers:

Ask Your Questions

  • Once you have a lawyer you are going to work with on a regular basis, they tend to be pretty open to the occasional quick question. Don’t abuse their attention, but also don’t hesitate to call them when something feels sketchy.
  • Calling to ask, “should I sign this?” takes 2 minutes on the phone and can save you millions of dollars in lost revenue.
  • If they’re not open to infrequent quick consults, or they ignore you or bill you for every second of their time, you may want to find a different lawyer.

Don’t Release Me

  • Most entertainment lawyers will advise you not to sign those rights-grabby submission release waiver whatever forms a lot of agents, managers, producers, and competitions often require new screenwriters to send before they’ll look at an “unsolicited” script.
  • Once you’re properly represented, whenever someone asks you to send them a script, you should be able to just email them the PDF and copy your lawyer (see note below) the same way you would when represented by an agent or manager. As a client of an established entertainment lawyer, you do in fact have representation.

Note: ABSOLUTELY DO NOT try to fake having an entertainment lawyer to submit materials. It will not end well. It’s a small fucking town.

Good lawyers for screenwriters are usually pretty nice people.

Most entertainment lawyers are people who like working with artists or they wouldn’t have taken the job.

If you stay professional, manage your expectations, do your own homework, ask good questions, and bring them opportunities to profit, they should look after you fairly well.

If you get a sense that they’re not interested in you, or they’re just in it all for ego reasons, find a different one.

Looking for referrals? Network with other screenwriters to find the best lawyers for screenwriters.

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