NAR91

New Member
I saw an outdated post from 2009 about whether or not it's beneficial to get a JD and MFA in Film & Television production. Everyone was saying you should choose either one or the other, and I can't help but disagree. There are many competent producers with a JD and one might argue, they may have an advantage to a producer with only an MFA.

Here is my question:

Would it be beneficial to get a joint degree at an institute which offers the joint program, regardless of how poorly their law school is ranked? I can't decide if it would be wiser to just focus on one degree at a time and get a better education in law, or if that doesn't matter.

I'm currently looking at Chapman (yes, horrible law school, but incredible film program.) I would also love to go to Fordham and have considered University of Miami for law. Both offer an LLM in Entertainment.

Note: I am not trying to practice law and would be getting the degree to learn a very necessary aspect of production. I have also considered getting an MBA, but I believe that's a degree I can pursue later in life if I decide to create my own production company.
 

sharkb8

iAmB84AshRk
Honestly Chapman’s law school isn’t bad. They aren’t t-14 or anything, but if your LSAT is high enough you can get scholarship $$$ so that can make the law degree manageable. I currently work for a national public interest law firm and one of our attorney’s attended Chapman Law on a full ride scholarship. He came to us straight out of law school and now he’s working on a case that will be in front of the Supreme Court later this year.

Also Chapman is well respected in the film community so a J.D from Chapman gets an added amount of value if you’re looking to work in entertainment law or use the dual degree to work in the entertainment industry. I see the same thing with LMU. They don’t have an amazing law school, but they do get a boost for their grads if those grads are working in media related law.

Part of the reason t-14 schools are ranked highly is because many of their grads are able to get into Biglaw. But if your goal is to do entertainment law as a producer, or to have a leg up on other producers due to your knowledge of law, then getting into Biglaw doesn’t matter to your career goals, so the value that the t-14 schools offer shouldn’t actually matter to you.

Now I wouldn’t go to Chapman or LMU solely for their law programs, but if you are going to a school for film, and can also get scholarship $$$ to help fund your J.D, that J.D can absolutely be valuable to your future career goals. I definitely see a lot of producers who have a leg up because they have a J.D. The knowledge of how to practice law is apparently very beneficial to knowledge of copyrights and licensing arrangements, each of which will be important if you’re going into producing.

If you’re going the J.D/MFA route, you probably will need to focus more on the practical side of film than the creative side as far as careers go, but there’s absolutely a niche there and you’ll have a leg up on the competition. See if you can get scholarship money with a good LSAT, but if you can make it work and are willing to put in the work, it’s a really solid career move imo.
 

NAR91

New Member
Honestly Chapman’s law school isn’t bad. They aren’t t-14 or anything, but if your LSAT is high enough you can get scholarship $$$ so that can make the law degree manageable. I currently work for a national public interest law firm and one of our attorney’s attended Chapman Law on a full ride scholarship. He came to us straight out of law school and now he’s working on a case that will be in front of the Supreme Court later this year.

Also Chapman is well respected in the film community so a J.D from Chapman gets an added amount of value if you’re looking to work in entertainment law or use the dual degree to work in the entertainment industry. I see the same thing with LMU. They don’t have an amazing law school, but they do get a boost for their grads if those grads are working in media related law.

Part of the reason t-14 schools are ranked highly is because many of their grads are able to get into Biglaw. But if your goal is to do entertainment law as a producer, or to have a leg up on other producers due to your knowledge of law, then getting into Biglaw doesn’t matter to your career goals, so the value that the t-14 schools offer shouldn’t actually matter to you.

Now I wouldn’t go to Chapman or LMU solely for their law programs, but if you are going to a school for film, and can also get scholarship $$$ to help fund your J.D, that J.D can absolutely be valuable to your future career goals. I definitely see a lot of producers who have a leg up because they have a J.D. The knowledge of how to practice law is apparently very beneficial to knowledge of copyrights and licensing arrangements, each of which will be important if you’re going into producing.

If you’re going the J.D/MFA route, you probably will need to focus more on the practical side of film than the creative side as far as careers go, but there’s absolutely a niche there and you’ll have a leg up on the competition. See if you can get scholarship money with a good LSAT, but if you can make it work and are willing to put in the work, it’s a really solid career move imo.

Thank you so much for getting back to me! I appreciate all of your advice. It makes me stand my decision to apply.
 
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