When you think of entertainment law, you would typically consider the glitz and glamour of rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, right? Recently I had the privilege of sitting down with Michael Prywes who specializes in Entertainment Law. Michael and I discussed several interesting topics from his film and internet producing experience to setting up his new law firm. The hard work he and his partners have put into building a firm doesn’t sound all that glamorous but his clients sure do appreciate the work that he does.
Diagnosis: Starting New
Michael just started his firm last year, so he is sort of in the newborn phase of running a practice and he’s partnered with someone he trusts. I have probably talked to dozens of small law firms in times where two attorneys one night may have been having a couple of cocktails and thought it would be a great idea that they go into business together,not realizing it’s like a marriage. Three months down the road they want to kill each other because they didn’t realize that one of them doesn’t put the toilet seat down when they’re going to the bathroom. Obviously I’m being silly, but the point is, there are so many conversations to have if you’re going to do it. You have to know somebody’s philosophy on the simplest things. How is it they envision spending of the money? How is it they envision marketing? There are so many things to consider.
Michael and his partner started out addressing every need of the business from choosing clients to office office space and billing. Their approach was different and has allowed them to see great results.
Having systems in place in your law firm no matter what stage you’re in is absolutely important. Michael shared how a file management system is one of the first things you need to think about when starting a new firm. He actually created a file systems through Google apps for business for which he did research and discovered that not only is it encrypted, but they’ve got a special system called Vault which is eDiscovery compliant. Although you cannot be completely paperless as a lawyer, he has discovered how to make working virtually his primary flow.
Michael and his partners spent a long time drafting their retainer agreement and engagement letter, which is seven pages. It’s a little long, but it includes the client’s bill of rights. They wanted it to be understandable to the client. Before starting, they went through the Ethics Opinions to make sure that they were compliant from an ethical standpoint in terms of marketing. People who decide to start up their own firms, definitely want to take the time to consider the Code of Ethics as it relates to marketing.
Michael’s practice has a unique billing system. They pitch themselves where you get their time for free. They never bill for time. However, you get charged by the page for documents they draft, or read, or review.
Michael has a firm belief that if you’re in a service industry, you have to like your clients because these are the people who want your services. He lives by a quote that says his mission is to be an ongoing mentor and resource to artists and entrepreneurs.
Michael doesn’t actually feel like he has an avatar client yet. The reason is because he loves all his clients and so far has a wonderful relationship with each of them. However, they come from a certain place more than a set guideline. They are people who have a creative purpose, a creative drive, and see a purpose to whatever their project is; something that they expect to grow, and with it need more and more legal guidance and business guidance. That is my ideal avatar.
Michael’s story is so interesting. If you would like to learn more about Michael, visit his website at http://www.newyorkstartupattorneys.com/
This is a transcript of a recorded live presentation. It is in spoken-word format. While we have cleaned up the transcript a bit for easier reading, it is not in edited written-word format. – See more at: Entertainment Law with Michael Prywes