Assistant Chief Counsel
The Walt Disney StudiosBurbank, CA
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Full Time Job
The Studio Production Legal Affairs team drafts and negotiates motion picture contracts, provides legal analysis and advice, and serves as production counsel to the Walt Disney Pictures feature film development and production for theatrical and streaming content, and other original content in support of various studio initiatives.
The Assistant Chief Counsel is responsible for development and production of live-action motion pictures including providing production counsel services on theatrical and high budget streaming films as a senior subject matter expert. The Assistant Chief Counsel will also serve as senior legal adviser and will be expected to provide guidance and direction reflecting sound judgment, strategic vision and substantive legal knowledge and expertise in matters relating to motion picture development including rights research and analysis, drafting and negotiating rights agreements and other above-the-line talent agreements. This position will be directly involved in managing significant, complex and/or policy setting matters including drafting and negotiating overall agreements relating to production such as payroll services and other production services, vendors and suppliers; assisting in developing forms, policies and procedures to create proactive strategies to minimize risk and increase efficiencies; serve as a resource to other attorneys in the department on a regular basis as questions and issues arise and assisting in training more junior attorneys. The Assistant Chief Counsel position will be working closely with other attorneys within the studio and the corporate legal department, as well as providing counsel to senior studio leadership and others in handling these matters.
• Provide legal analysis relating to status of rights, copyright and other chain-of-title review; draft and negotiate rights acquisition agreements for literary rights and other third party intellectual property; prepare releases from individuals for films based on true stories; draft and negotiate other rights agreements such as quitclaims and assignments.
• Draft and negotiate agreements for directors, producers, writers, above-the-line cast and other production personnel (excluding music).
• Draft and negotiate third-party vendor agreements; agreements for consultants; leases, locations and venue agreements; equipment rental agreements; payroll services agreements; and other production related agreements including catering, security, animals and animal wranglers.
• Provide counsel on various matters relating to production of feature films, including but not limited to: script/film clearances, labor relations/collective bargaining agreements, engagement of minors, immigration, customs, environmental regulations, review titles and credits
• Provide advice and assistance relating to talent agreements and production matters impacting marketing/promotions/publicity; distribution; consumer products, interactive and other franchise considerations.
• Draft and negotiate Production/Financing/Distribution Agreements, Production Services Agreements, Lending and Assignment agreements and related corporate set-up documents; collaborate with tax and finance regarding best corporate structure for individual pictures (domestic and international).
• Draft and negotiate agreements relating to third party co-productions, co-financing and/or distribution agreements including inter-creditor agreements, copyright mortgages and other security agreements.
• Draft and negotiate confidentiality agreements, submission releases, non-disclosure agreements.
• Serve as subject matter expert or key point of contact on assigned production-related matters across the Studio Production Legal Affairs team and/or partners.
• 12 – 15 years of significant legal experience with a minimum of 10 years in the entertainment industry, preferably with a mix of law firm and in-house experience.
• Superior drafting, negotiation, communication and organizational skills. Significant experience drafting and negotiating live-action, animation, television and/or other entertainment contracts.
• Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to work well in a collaborative team environment and create a positive work environment.
• Demonstrated ability to build interdepartmental relationships at all levels and drive consensus on legal matters among multiple stakeholders.
• Demonstrated ability to think strategically, to devise practical solutions and to present complex issues to senior executives. Ability to evaluate and reconcile issues from the business-unit and enterprise level perspective.
• Extensive leadership and training experience to help develop and motivate a highly experienced team of lawyers, paralegals, assistants and staff.
• Exceptional organizational, prioritization and time management skills with the ability to work under deadlines and execute efficiently against multiple, high-priority and high volume projects.
• Demonstrated capacity to keep current on emerging business and legal trends in motion picture and television industry.
• Ability to work in an environment with a high degree of confidentiality.
• JD degree from an accredited law school required
• Strong academic credentials
• Membership in the California State Bar Association (or willingness and qualification to be registered In-House Counsel) required
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