LIVING BY PERCENTAGES: A CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE ON THE ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF LAWYERS ACTING AS TALENT AGENTS AND MANAGERS
Keywords:Legal Ethics, Legal ethics, Model Code, Entertainment Lawyer, Entertainment, Ethical obligation, Talent agents, Talent managers, Talent, Managers, Agents, Fees, Managerial, Agency, Conflict, Industry, Multiple hats, Percentage, Contingency fee, Business, Client, Rules of professional conduct
AbstractCanadian entertainment lawyers who represent individual creators and performers (“talent”) often find themselves providing their clients with advice or services that are not strictly legal in nature. These services have more in common with the work of talent managers or agents. Such “non-legal” services must be provided in a manner that comports with the requirements of lawyers’ professional ethical obligations, but doing so can prove challenging for even experienced counsel. There are various sources of restriction on lawyers’ ability to act as managers and agents, including the fact that ethical obligations “travel” even when a lawyer is not providing legal services. Drawing on prior scholarship, which posits that lawyers have a duty to remain independent from their client’s interests, this article examines how acting as a manager or agent interfaces with the duties of competence, integrity and loyalty. In addition, the ethical implications of conventional entertainment industry fee arrangements are canvassed.
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