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Taking Care of Business
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Old January 10th, 2004, 09:36 PM   #1
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U.S. attorney for paid consultation

Anyone know an attorney in the U.S. they want to recommend for occasional paid legal consultation related to productions?

I'm looking for a contact that will be available whenever questions arise.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 11:54 AM   #2
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Boy I hate to throw this plug in here, but here goes...

There is a company in the USA called "Prepaid Legal Services" and it's around $25 a month to have a network of excellent attorneys on retainer...

It's like having "legal insurance" and it's totally legitimate and the attorneys are quite good. The reason this system works is because it's exactly how the insurance industry works. Many people need little more then a will or fixed speeding tickets... but for certain people, i.e. ones who need frequent legal council... it's really sort of a secret gold mine.

Your access to legal council and contracts is unlimited and the attorneys get paid REALLY well because of the vast network. It would be just like being one of the top guys at an insurance company. Do you think they get paid well?

Anyway, for anybody interested in signing up for this you can contact me directly via email and I'll be happy to do your paper work and get you the necessary information. Free of charge.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 02:18 PM   #3
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Oh, boy. I really hoped I wouldn't have to get into this here.

Do a google search on PTRAVEL (the screen name that I use on usenet) and PPL. I just had a long discussion about this with a PPL proponent (the discussion was terminated when the PPL salesman resorted to name-calling which, alone, says something I think). Short version: the PPL-contracted firms that he identified as providing IP services don't have attorneys qualified to do it. PPL does _not_ work like insurance. For a monthly fee, you get telephone access to lawyers, many of whom have "quotas" of legal problems to answer per hour. You get a free will drawn up and letters written, which is certainly of value. There are some other benefits, which I don't recall at the moment, but for something like, for example, drafting a license, responding to infringement litigation, tendering insurance claims, etc., you only get a "discount" from the lawyer's standard fee. _Any_ lawyer, however, will tailor their fee to their client, i.e. lawyers fees, like everything else in this world, are negotiable.

Lawyers are to sound business practice as doctors are to health. Make your selection based on level of experience, competence, communication skills and personal comfort level, not because either the lawyer or the doctor felt the need to base their practice on bulk rather than quality.

Any lawyer will give a free initial consultation. Call several, talk to them, see if they have a feel for your business, whether you "connect," whether their fee structure is reasonable and affordable, etc. Check their resumes and make sure they have the necessary experience and training to support your particular needs (_Any_ lawyer should be able to provide a resume listing education, bar admissions, representative experience, types of clients represented, etc.). THEN make your decision. Don't bet your livelihood on the luck of the draw.

Your local bar association can make referrals. You need to be more specific, though, about what kind of legal advice you need. "Related to productions" can mean anything from licensing to intellectual property to completion bonds, insurance, employees, financing, etc.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 06:56 PM   #4
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My "local bar association" is...ahem...Japan. Which is the whole problem. I need a legal contact back in the States...and rather than just finding a list of attorneys and throwing a dart at it, I'd hoped to get a referral.

I worked extensively with quite a few attorneys in my past employment and the one thing I do know is that all lawyers are not created equal. Out of the many I dealt with, only a handful stood out as being the type of attorney I'd personally want to be represented by. Unfortunately, though...it wasn't this kind of law they were practicing.

Hmm...time to get the darts out.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 09:53 PM   #5
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Specifically, what kind of law do you need?
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Old January 13th, 2004, 10:10 PM   #6
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I need a point contact who can either handle him/herself or refer me to someone else in cases of:

1. Exposure in "based on a true story" situations
2. Incorporating particular projects
3. Making contracts
4. Advice on copyrights and obtaining rights, and whether "Adapted from" scripts crossover into coypright infringement territory

etc. etc. ad nauseum

Basically... anyone who can help out with the millions of questions that come up in filmmaking and especially prior to release... but on a PAID BASIS rather than advice in a forum...and someone who I'll be able to turn to for years to come.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 02:01 AM   #7
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Drop me an email at:

ptauger at schnader dot com

I don't do a lot of this work, but I'll ask around and see if I can find someone who might be able to help.
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