IT’S THE LAW BABY

drawing by: Casey Koerner
article by: Kendal Dix

I tried to write this specifically but I think the specifics will really depend on the situation, so I wrote this more as a generic scare tactic type of thing.

Planning is probably the most important thing in the legal industry, and it pays to be obsessive compulsive. In the 21st Century, lawyers have been trying to bring a new era of civility to the legal profession and leave the contentious adversarial process for TV and movies. This is undoubtedly a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that we’re suddenly living in a magical gumdrop world with rainbows and unicorns.
Lawyers like to pretend that they’re all buddies and working together to achieve something to benefit both their clients. In reality, attorneys are as devious as ever. Every lawyer has a plan and each phone call, letter, and clause in a contract has a purpose, which is usually to cover that lawyer and his/her client’s asses if the other guy decides to drop the act and start playing hardball. It’s therefore important that you always have a goal and a plan in mind no matter what you’re doing. Become familiar with all the bullshit details that you think don’t matter because knowledge is power when it comes to negotiation and litigation. Think several steps ahead. Know what the response to your action is going to be before it happens. And always assume the worst.
You can be nice but just be detail-oriented and ready for what what comes next. Sometimes it can help to plan on revealing your true motives in a really backwards way. If you want it in your rider that you get a football helmet filled with cottage cheese at every venue, don’t tell them it’s really important to you. Tell them it’s really important that you get more points on the back end of your iTunes sales. After you go back and forth for a while, let them know you’re not happy about it but you’ll take a beefed-up rider in place of the money.
If you’re negotiating a deal and you think the other lawyer and client are nice, there’s a good chance that they are and you’ll enjoy doing business together. It really does happen all the time. But you have to be prepared for them to fuck you if it’s in their best interest Acting in self interest is one of the most reliable of all business characteristics, so cross all your T’s and dot all your lower-case J’s. When they stop putting that cottage cheese helmet in your dressing room because you trashed your last hotel room, you’re going to want to make sure you have everything in order to tell them to fuck off because you have the legal language on your side. Just think back to all the musicians who were getting cars and advances from their record companies but ultimately end up with no rights to their music and die penniless. Have a plan and don’t be that band.

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