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|Posted on August 7, 2019 at 7:50 AM|
Why did I become an Entertainment Lawyer?
In 2013, I made the difficult decision, and planted a foundation, to leave a well-
paying federal job and transition to a solo firm. My grandmother had months to
live, my first grandchild had just been born, and honestly, I felt stagnate,
professionally. In October of that year, my plans were thrust into full action,
ahead of schedule, and I was laid off from my cushy government job during
massive budget cuts. I decided to jump-start the Law Office of Deborah E.
Johnson, Esq. immediately, in a Dallas suburb.
Colleagues often ask me, “Why did you choose entertainment law?” The truth is -
it chose me. My best friend, who is also a lawyer, married a gospel recording
artist in 2011. Artists and others in the entertainment industry, knowing she was
a lawyer, sought her legal expertise; however, with a full-time position in another
legal field, she genuinely did not have the time or resources to field all of those
potential clients and legal issues. She and her husband heavily encouraged me to
start my own entertainment law firm. They said I possessed the intelligence, wit,
and personality for this unique field. I was hesitant at first, but the demands of
family and desire to spend more time with my children and grandchildren caused
me to consider it. After being laid off, I jumped right into the entertainment law
I hit the ground running, with my mind geared towards mostly a transactional law
firm. I read every article and book I could get my hands on. I accelerated my
learning by attending entertainment law seminars and shadowing other lawyers.
At times, I found the field challenging because Dallas is not really known as a hub
for entertainers. Although Austin is considered a film and entertainment capital, I
quickly discovered that there were only a handful of entertainment lawyers in the
Starting a new solo firm is challenging in itself, especially for a working mom. But
starting a new solo firm, in an area that is primarily dominated by men, and is
rarely practiced in your geographic region, with very little hands-on experience,
turned into my miracle.
The truth is I went to law school because I wanted to make a difference. What I
found was that much of the practice of law centered around making money,
when what I really wanted to do was serve my community and represent the
What I discovered is that in any area of law, you can do just that. Once I hung my
shingle and the word started to get out that a new entertainment lawyer was in
town, independent artists, filmmakers, musicians, actors, and models all around
the State of Texas began to contact me for legal representation. The variety of
services I provide range from the very simply work-for-hire agreement, to the
extremely complex, such as representing a well-known recording artist who
desires to be released from a tremendously unbalanced and unfair recording
Second, I discovered that people are just people, and you can make a difference
anywhere. The truth is, starting a solo practice is challenging no matter what area
of law you choose. People need help in every area of law. They need your
expertise and education.
Last, in this process, I found a new love and commitment for my family. I found
joy in the luxury and flexibility of having my granddaughter crawl across my office
floor. I found balance in being able to travel to all of my son’s soccer games. I
found life – the way it was meant to be. And I will say this, as women, I do not
believe we can have it all, not all at the same time. I did sacrifice my path up the
career ladder with the six-figure salary to some extent. Yet, what I found was that
I could live on a smaller salary, and I could also provide some stability for my
family (which in the end, actually ends up saving you money in places you did not
So, how did I end up as a female lawyer in a field that is sometimes viewed as
Truth - It chose me. Life chose me. Family chose me. And I would not change a
The Law of Deborah E. Johnson, Esq. is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
For general information or to set up a consultation, email: email@example.com.
You can also connect with Attorney Johnson on LinkedIn
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