How Much Do Entertainment Lawyers Make?

how much do entertainment lawyers make a year
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Entertainment lawyers work with clients in the entertainment industry like actors, writers, directors, musicians, and athletes. They handle complex deals and contracts related to employment, intellectual property, licensing, royalties, and more. But how lucrative is this career path? What is the earning potential for entertainment lawyers?

Required Education and Training

To become an entertainment lawyer requires years of higher education. Aspiring lawyers must first complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree. Then they must graduate from an accredited 3-year law school program. After graduating law school, lawyers must pass the bar exam to practice law in their state. So in total, it takes about 7 years of schooling after high school to become a licensed lawyer.

how much do entertainment lawyers make
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Salary Potential and Pay Scale

On average, entertainment lawyers earn comfortable salaries. However, pay can vary substantially based on factors like:

– Years of experience
– Reputation and clientele
– Firm size and location
– Type of law practiced

According to official labor statistics, the average annual pay for all lawyers in the U.S. is around $126,930 per year. However, the top 10% of earners make $208,000 or more annually.

Entertainment lawyers working at elite firms or with A-list celebrity clients can make $500,000 a year or more. But newer entertainment lawyers at smaller firms likely start around $50,000 to $90,000 per year.

Solos vs Firm Lawyers

There are also major earning differences between solo practicing entertainment lawyers and those working at large multi-practice law firms.

Solo entertainment lawyers need to cover their own overhead and costs associated with running an independent practice. So initially, they tend to make around $50,000 to $150,000 per year.

Whereas lawyers employed by large national firms earn salaries of $150,000 to $250,000 or more, plus bonuses and profit sharing. Big firm lawyers handle huge entertainment contracts and cases on behalf of major networks, studios, or celebrities.

what do entertainment lawyers do
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Geography and Market Size

Unsurprisingly, entertainment lawyers working in major entertainment hubs like Los Angeles, New York City, and Nashville make the highest legal salaries. These big markets have more business opportunities and demand for niche entertainment legal services.

For instance, the average lawyer pay in NYC is $167,160 per year. Whereas entertainment lawyer salaries in small markets hover closer to $80,000 to $120,000 annually.


In summary, entertainment lawyer salaries can vary widely from around $50,000 for solo practitioners to over $500,000 per year for elite lawyers handling mega deals in entertainment hot spots like L.A. or NYC. The key factors impacting pay rates include years of experience, reputation, firm size, clientele, and geographic market. But overall the earning potential in this industry can be quite lucrative for top legal talent.


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