John Branca, a graduate of Occidental College, is an award-winning entertainment attorney with big names in the industry. He is a partner and heads the music department at Ziffren Brittenham LLP, a prominent entertainment law firm and the current chairman of The Michael Jackson Company.  There is so much that upcoming entertainment attorneys can learn from him because he is a veteran in the industry.

Personal Branding

He emphasizes the value of personal branding. John Branca says he owes his success to his efforts and investments to build a unique brand and image for himself.  Clients do their due diligence before choosing an attorney; having a reputable brand, therefore, serves a competitive advantage.

Focus on representing clients

What differentiates John from other entertainment attorneys is his focus on representing artists rather than record companies.  Artists are looking to hire individuals that have their interests at hand. Representing a record company is not equivalent to representing its artist, a fact that any entertainment attorney should understand.

Separate art from the artist

During an interview at Harvard, John was asked about his view on representing artists with negative publicity. He said, ‘you have to separate the art from the artist.’ An attorney has the liberty to represent a client they believe in their work regardless of the kind of publicity they receive.

Negotiation Skills

What is an attorney without good negotiation skills?  The power of good negotiation cannot be underestimated when it comes to the law and the entertainment industry.  John advises attorneys that before presenting themselves at a negotiation table, they should do the following;

  • Plan well
  • Be well conversant with the parties involved
  • Build leverage
  • Determine objective- what are you hoping to gain?
  • Know what the other party holds important

In any negotiation, confidence, clarity, and preparedness are the key qualities needed.

Be yourself

In the entertainment industry, it is essential first to find yourself. This not only applies to artists but also attorneys.  The industry is diverse, and there are different angles one can view it from. The point is, don’t try to be someone else; find your true cause and focus on building on it.  For any upcoming entertainment attorney, finding a mentor has a significant impact. 

Attorneys are not the only ones who can learn from John Branca; he also speaks to artists and key players in the entertainment industry.  His presence greatly impacts the music industry by serving as an advisor and attorney to corporations and businesses.