UCLA School of Law Is Offering Free Music Industry Legal Advice + Contract Help

UCLA School of Law
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UCLA School of Law
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photo: Coolcaesar (CC 3.0)

Nothing’s free in this world — except for complicated music industry legal advice and contract assistance at UCLA’s School of Law.

A bad contract can complicate an entire music career.  Or, flat-out end it.

Entire companies have been destroyed by bad legal advice — or, no legal advice (don’t wing it).

Part of the reason is that competent lawyers and legal services are expensive.  And the tables are always lopsided in favor of the giant media company (who’s money, support, and connections you probably need).

So here’s one hack around that.

UCLA’s School of Law is now offering a Music Industry Clinic.  It includes lots of free legal advice to anyone in the music industry who needs it.

Plus, they’re also willing to help you draft contracts, negotiate agreements, and figure out your legal defense strategy (or attack).

If you’re Sony/ATV, you can afford this stuff.  If you’re an emerging indie label, artist, producer, songwriter, publisher, or startup without legal representation, you might want to pay these guys a visit.

Here’s how the Music Industry Clinic works. 

Basically, students at the School of Law will assist artists, entrepreneurs, and indies as a way to gain industry experience.  In exchange, you — a player in the actual industry — get a bunch of very competent legal advice.

These are students, not bar-certified barristers.  So there’s a trade-off.  But the entire program is being supervised by three pros: Susan Hilderley, Susan Genco and Jeffrey Light.  Accordingly, they’ll be overseeing the interactions, contracts, and advice.

Actually, there are a ton of different scenarios this program hopes to examine.  According to law student Paige Kaplan (class of 2019), the program spans ‘production, distribution and publishing of music for individuals based in LA; including agreements among band members, management and agency agreements, co-writer agreements, producer and mixer agreements, sample licenses, indie recording and production agreements, merchandising agreements and work for hire agreements.’

So who’s eligible?

UCLA indicated that this is for LA-based artists and companies (see above).  Not sure if that means you can make a trip to qualify, or whether you need a bona fide LA-area address.  But give them a shout to see — in fact, they may be willing to stretch things if your situation or niche isn’t well represented in their program (after all, they need exposure to a breadth of different industry areas).

Right now, the program is accepting applicants for the Spring 2018 semester.  So if you’re getting buried in court or getting signed at this exact moment, try to delay things for a few months.

Of course, there’s limited capacity.  And limitations to the assistance they can offer.  But here’s how to apply:

1. Go to www.law.ucla.edu
2. Go to the ‘Academics’ drop down menu
3. Go to ‘Clinical & Experimental Programs’
4. Then go to ‘Music Industry Clinic’
5. This page is full of useful information and a link to our application

And, here’s a detailed flyer outlining the program.

Drop an email to mic@law.ucla.edu with any additional questions.

And one last thing: you’re welcome!