Gordon Firemark

Gordon is an attorney whose practice is devoted to the representation of artists, writers, producers and directors in the fields of theater, film, television,and music. He teaches a course on how to create and build an entertainment law practice at Solo Practice University®.

Gordon is also the publisher of Entertainment Law Update, a newsletter for artists and professionals in the entertainment industries. His practice, Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark, covers intellectual property, cyberspace, new media and business/corporate matters for clients in the entertainment industry.

Mr. Firemark serves on the Boards of Governors of The Los Angeles Stage Alliance , (the organization responsible for the annual Ovation Awards for excellence in Theater) and The Academy for New Musical Theatre. He has also served as Chairman of the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Entertainment Law Section, and on that Bar Association’s Board of Governors.

Mr. Firemark holds a B.A. in Radio, Television and Film from the University of Oregon, and earned his law degree at Southwestern University School of Law. After working in the legal and business affairs departments at Hanna Barbera Productions and the MGM/UA Worldwide Television Group , Mr. Firemark worked at a prominent Los Angeles based entertainment litigation firm, and then hung his solo shingle in 1993. In 1997 Mr. Firemark joined with two other lawyers to form The Business Affairs Group, a transactional entertainment law boutique. In 2002, the partners went their separate ways, with Mr. Firemark returning to the flexibility of solo practice.

Gordon is also an accomplished producer of stage plays and musicals and serves as CEO of Fierce Theatricals, Inc., which is currently producing several touring productions. He has been involved with the entertainment industry in one way or another since his youth as a sound, lighting, and special effects technician in the theatre. Prior to becoming an attorney, he worked in the television industry, producing and directing live sports telecasts, public affairs programming commercial announcements, documentaries, and industrial videos.

Mr. Firemark teaches Business Law at Loyola Marymount University, and has offered courses in Theater Law at Cypress College, and Entrepreneurial Studies at California Institute of the Arts. Mr. Firemark has served as a moderator and featured panelist at seminars sponsored by the Beverly Hills Bar Association, California Lawyers for the Arts, Theatre LA, and the Oregon Artist’s Rights Coalition. He has also been a guest lecturer at Southwestern University School of Law, Loyola Law School, California Western School of law, UC Irvine, and California State University, Northridge.

Syllabus – Entertainment Law


  1. Session 1 – What is Entertainment Law?
    1. About the instructor
    2. Definition of “Entertainment Law”
    3. Industry Overview(s)
      1. Film
      2. Television
      3. Music
      4. Book Publishing
      5. Theatre
      6. Internet/New Media
    4. “A Day in the Life” – What entertainment lawyers do.
    5. Foundational Legal Knowledge
      1. Copyrights
      2. Trademarks
      3. Trade Secrecy
      4. Rights of Privacy
      5. Right of Publicity
      6. Contract Principles
      7. Antitrust
      8. Tax
      9. Business Entities
    6. Question & Answer Session
  2. Session 2 – Who’s Who?
    1. This session will identify the ‘key players’ in the industry, focusing on those with whom entertainment lawyers regularly interact.
      1. Agents,
      2. Managers
      3. Attorneys
      4. Producers
      5. Business Affairs Executives, etc.
    2. Question & Answer Session
  3. Session 3 – Getting Started with an entertainment law practice.
    1. Location, Location, Location
      1. Los Angeles, New York, & Nashville, can you practice entertainment law outside these industry centers?
      2. Office location
        1. Leasing and Sub-leasing
          • Time-for-space deals
          • Executive Suites
        2. Home Office
          • Minimum Requirements
          • Challenges
          • Solutions
        3. “Virtual Office” setups
          • Define “virtual office” (Guest speaker?)
          • How it works.
          • Why it’s effective
    2. Facilities and Equipment you’ll need to practice.
    3. Staffing considerations
      1. Assistants
      2. Paralegals
      3. Law Clerks
      4. Associate Attorneys
      5. Partners (Beyond solo)
    4. other business considerations
      1. Insurance
      2. Credit lines
      3. office procedures, etc. (checklists and worksheets)
        1. Intake
        2. Fee Agreements/Non-representation/Disengagement
        3. File Opening
        4. File organization
    5. Question and Answer Session
  4. Session 4 – Getting

      1. Positioning – being “seen” as an expert and a “player”
        1. “seen” by By whom?
          • prospective clients?
          • other professionals
        2. The concept of “thought leadership”
      2. Knowing the “scene”… getting out and meeting the prospects
      3. Referrals
        1. Other lawyers
        2. Agents, Managers
        3. Existing Clients
        4. Existing clients’ other
          professional advisors
        5. ‘Direct’ marketing
          • Advertising, Websites, etc.
          • Blogging (see positioning)
    1. Question and Answer Session
  5. Session 5 – How entertainment lawyers get paid
    1. Fee Structures
      1. Hourly
      2. Percentages/Commission
      3. Contingent fees
      4. Flat Fees and Value Billing
      5. Retainers
      6. Pro-bono work – The attorney decides, not the client.
    2. Client trust accounting
    3. Billing procedures
    4. Collections /Dealing with deadbeats
    5. Question and Answer Session
  6. Session 6 – Dealmaking 101
    1. How the business works, and how deals come together
    2. Role of attorney? Who’s really driving the negotiation?
      1. Attorney as salesman?
      2. Attorney as negotiator
      3. Attorney as scrivener
      4. Attorney as decision-maker
    3. Ten Tips for successful negotiations (white paper)
    4. Managing client expectations
      in negotiations
    5. Closing the deal.
    6. Question and Answer session
  7. Session 7 – Managing the client relationship / keeping the entertainment client happy
    1. Intake Questionnaire
    2. Communication
      1. Get Personal
      2. Watch client Ego
      3. Watch Attorney Ego
      4. Being Reachable
      5. Setting Boundaries
    3. Dealing with clients’ “entourage” members… remember who the client is.
    4. Client confidences
    5. conflicts of interest (Sometimes clients choose us BECAUSE of our conflicts.)
    6. Integrity/Honesty/Good Faith (Attorney and Client)
    7. Question and Answer session
  8. Session 8 – Managing the Workload / Getting things done
    1. Productivity (guest?)
    2. Some practical pointers
      1. The importance of checklists
      2. Treat every deal, however small, like a business transaction – do the due diligence
        1. Ownership/Title Searches,
        2. Background checking
        3. Research, investigate, etc.
    3. Question and Answer session
  9. Session 9 – Managing the established practice
    1. Choosing clients carefully
      1. Pruning the dead-wood
    2. Archive Files
      1. Storage
      2. Technological solution(s)
    3. Question and Answer session
  10. Session 10 – Wrap up
    1. Maintaining a balance – have a life outside your worksheets
      1. Boundaries
      2. Carve out home time
    2. Question and Answer session