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"End of the Hollywood handshake deal" by Fredrick S. Levin (Daily Journal)

Daily Journal

Fredrick S. Levin

Stop us if you've heard this one before. A young actor, talented but unknown, is trying to break into the business. She is introduced to an entertainment lawyer who tells her he'll handle all of her modest legal work for "free" on the front end, and take a cut of whatever income she eventually earns. It's all done on a handshake basis. Nothing is put in writing.

Few if any lawyers do this outside of the entertainment industry. And indeed, California has long required that a lawyer who intends to take a percentage interest in a client's success to put it in a written contract -- containing very specific diclosures regarding, for example expenses and the client's right to renegotiate percentages if her career takes off. 

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