Senior Legal Counsel
NBC UniversalLondon, UK
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Full Time Job
Title: Senior Legal Counsel, 9-12 month FTC
Reports to: SVP, Business Affairs & Head of Legal
Working Title Films, co-chaired by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner since 1992, is one of the world's leading film production companies.
Formed in 1984, Working Title has produced more than 100 films that have grossed over $7.5 billion worldwide. Its films have won 14 Academy Awards® (for Joe Wright's Darkest Hour, Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl, James Marsh's The Theory of Everything, Tom Hooper's Les Misérables, Joe Wright's Anna Karenina, Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking, Joel and Ethan Coen's Fargo, Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Joe Wright's Atonement), 40 BAFTA Awards and numerous prestigious prizes at the Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals.
• Deal-making for up-and-coming and established talent
• Drafting all agreements relevant to the production cycle of a film
• Supervising, training and providing guidance to junior team members
• Liaising with Universal (and Focus) business affairs and legal departments on all relevant matters
• Providing support to all other WT departments
• Development: Negotiate and conclude commercial deal terms with agents and lawyers for talent and draft (or delegate drafting to paralegal or legal assistant where appropriate) the following UK and US form agreements: option/purchase agreements (and option/quitclaim agreements), copyright assignment agreements, novation agreements, licence agreements, services agreements, publisher's quitclaims, writer agreements, co-development and co-production agreements, acting agreements, directing and producing agreements.
• Projects in pre-production / production: Prepare applications for E&O insurance; complete compliance checks via the intermediary management system; negotiate and draft (or assist production counsel in doing the same, if applicable) NDAs, script consultation services agreements, production service agreements, product placement agreements, HOD agreements, PACT/Equity forms of engagement, minor agreements, VFX agreements, consultancy (and release to portray) agreements, location agreements, clearance documentation (including footage licence agreements, prop releases, likeness releases etc.) and any and all other contracts in connection with the film (e.g. vehicle hire agreements, tenancy agreements etc.).
• Post-production: Prepare and submit the notice of tentative writing credits on WGA films and provide WGA with any further information required (including in the event of a WGA arbitration); negotiate and draft composer agreements, artist buyout forms and other music services agreements (and finalise music release documentation); regularly liaise with and assist the post-production supervisor with all outstanding issues (e.g. finalising clearance paperwork, amending HOD and/or crew agreements as required and preparing agreements in connection with any reshoots); oversee paralegal's creation of the main title credits document prior to circulation; oversee paralegal's creation of dubbing and cutting memos prior to circulation; review and manage the end roller; and generally act as a point of contact for any issue which might arise.
• Distribution and exploitation of films: Supervise paralegal's preparation of chain of title documentation required for release of all films in France; supervise paralegal's preparation of applications for the European Certificate of British Nationality; assist auditors in completing the cultural test application required for certification as a British film; supervise paralegal's creation of paid advertising summaries prior to circulation; and liaise with and advise the relevant marketing department on their advertising campaigns for upcoming releases (this includes reviewing the billing block, key artwork, teasers, trailers, in-store promotions, commercial tie-ins and merchandising associated with the film).
• Management of Rights Database: Manage an extensive rights database which involves tracking expiry dates of options and, following internal discussions as to how to proceed(i.e. exercise, extend, re-negotiate agreement terms or put project into turnaround), liaising with agents/lawyers and drafting the required documentation. Update Universal on the status of each project and generally act as primary contact for the studio with regard to queries concerning the rights database.
• DER Meetings: Attend monthly Development Expenditure Report (â€œDERâ€) meetings to (i) provide colleagues in Development and Finance with updates as to the development spend on existing and new film projects, and (ii) assist in evaluating whether or not spend should be treated as committed or optional for the current (or next) year to determine the availability of development funds for Tim and Eric.
• Production Meetings: Attend weekly production meetings with Tim, Eric and all department heads and answer questions/provide updates on various film projects.
• PBAC Meetings: Attend monthly Pact Business Affairs Committee meetings.
• Instruct Counsel: Instruct outside counsel to provide, for example, a legal opinion on a specific matter or a title opinion in respect of a title report.
• Management of WT Precedents: Manage process of revising all WT precedent agreements to ensure WT forms of agreement are consistent with Universal's current policies and practices on all matters and incorporate legal updates. This involves anglicising Universal's form of agreement and liaising with NBCU lawyers in the relevant practice area (or outside counsel) with regard to certain required changes.
• Supervision of Junior Team Members: Provide ongoing training and guidance to junior team members and specifically supervise the work of (and delegate tasks to) the paralegal.
• Department (Miscellaneous): Oversee paralegal's or legal assistant's completion of applications to register screenplays at US copyright office, the weekly submission of WGA work lists, the ordering of copyright or title reports and the processing of invoices. Supervise the review of chain of title documentation, as required, and assign legal research tasks to junior team members.
• Support other WT Departments: Assist Production with creating budgets for film projects, assist Development with any queries regarding contractual writing steps and underlying rights deals and assist Finance by explaining contractual payment obligations and generally assist with reviewing/updating the DER Report.