In the spirit of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we chat with music lawyer James Woodward about how law and entrepreneurship work together.
Pioneering in law
To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, we decided to ask some of our team more about why they chose a pioneering way of working in law, and how it ties into entrepreneurial spirit.
Level was created to enable specialist lawyers to work independently in their chosen fields, doing so by utilising an innovative model of self-employment. This flexible way of working allows anyone who joins to pursue their passions outside law as little or as much as they want and we believe that by doing so, encourages a better and more balanced system of work. As one of our Sport lawyers, Rowena Samarasinhe, says, “Now if I’m busy, it’s on my terms.”
James Woodward, who joined the firm in October, is a specialist music lawyer. Prior to joining Level, James spent a number of years leading the development of the in-house legal team at AWAL/Kobalt in Los Angeles, before relocating to Paris. Now splitting his time between the French capital and London, James’ main focus is on assisting new and developing talent. In the spirit of the week’s focus, we asked him to tell us more about the link between the worlds of law and entrepreneurship.
Do you think lawyers make good entrepreneurs?
They can do, absolutely, but it is dependent on the individual. Fundamentally, the evolution of the legal profession is based on the entrepreneurial spirit of establishing an enterprise dependant on one’s own skillset. That, combined with the need for strong critical thinking and, especially when practising within commercially focussed areas, a modicum of business acumen, means that lawyers can certainly embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
What is the most exciting part of working as part of the Level model as a music lawyer?
You get to focus on the points that need to be focussed on in order to build out your practice. The spirit of being in control of my day-to-day structure without having to focus on meeting a quote of billable hours means that I can give attention to those parts of my practice that need that attention. As a result of working within the Level model, I am able to strike a healthy and productive balance between client matters, research, client outreach and professional development.
How do you build up your personal brand within the music sphere?
I think a personal brand requires constant development and evolution. There is no ‘finished’ personal brand. That being said, whatever your platform is for building and extending a personal brand, you need to be genuine and to be present. Music is driven by passion and emotion and if you are not genuine with yours, it will be caught out.
You work between London and Paris - what are your top tips for working flexibly in law?
Be diligent with your time and make the most of being ‘offline’. I book every 15min in my calendar and that gives me a visual representation of my working input on a day to day basis whilst allowing me to plan for trips. The time travelling is useful for catching up on reading, for uninterrupted drafting, or for taking time out. Also, claim your travel loyalty points!