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Even Barney, the beloved children’s purple dinosaur, needs a lawyer sometimes. That’s where Joyce Slocum comes in. Slocum is general counsel and senior vice president of global legal and business affairs for Lyrick Studios Inc., d/b/a HIT Entertainment, a company that produces and distributes television shows, videos, books, stuffed animals, games and other products for children. She tackles the legal details so Barney and his fellow entertainers — including Bob the Builder, Kipper, Pingu, Angelina Ballerina, Wishbone, The Wiggles and the VeggieTales characters — can concentrate on entertaining and teaching kids. The bottom line in Slocum’s job, she says, is the joy, rather than the revenue, that the characters produce. The best part of her job is watching kids’ reactions when they see the characters, she says. On the flip side, one of the hardest parts of the job is handling the requests from parents who want to put an image of Barney on a child’s grave marker. “We get letters of thanks from parents,” Slocum says. “We get letters from parents with autistic kids whom the characters have helped. We see very tangible evidence of the impact of what we’re doing. We want to keep these characters very well protected for kids.” Slocum heads the legal department at HIT Entertainment — which reported revenues of $75 million in fiscal year 2001 — from the company’s U.S. headquarters in Allen, Texas, and travels to its international headquarters in London every six weeks or so. She started with Lyrick Studios, then based in Richardson, Texas, eight years ago. Last year, it merged with HIT Entertainment. The legal staff in Texas consists of two other attorneys, three paralegals and two administrative assistants, while the UK staff has two attorneys, two paralegals and two administrative assistants. For litigation, HIT Entertainment uses outside counsel, including lawyers from Dallas-based Haynes and Boone and Houston-based Vinson & Elkins. The legal work for the media-rights and merchandising company falls into two main areas: intellectual property and contracts. Slocum oversees litigation involving copyright and trademark infringement; does licensing work with other companies throughout the world; and handles agreements with writers, producers, directors, actors and others involved in developing products and shows. A typical legal problem the company faces is grownups dressing in unauthorized, adult-sized Barney costumes. The dinosaur was created for 1- to 3-year-olds, Slocum says, and the company wants to keep the character trustworthy. “We’re afraid that someone presenting himself as Barney could get a child to do something inappropriate,” she says, noting that youngsters have developed a trust in the big purple dinosaur and could be susceptible to suggestions from imposters. The company tackled the situation with a flurry of suits that named 800 individual defendants in 20 states who were allegedly producing the costumes or putting on Barney shows. The concentrated effort from 1996 to 2001 has just about eradicated that problem, Slocum says. Outside attorneys who work with HIT Entertainment note the energy that Slocum brings to her job. “She’s real easy to work with,” says Thomas Williams, a partner in Haynes and Boone who works in the firm’s Fort Worth, Texas, office. “She’s very capable.” Winston Oxley, a partner in Vinson & Elkins in Dallas who assists on various projects for HIT Entertainment, describes Slocum as one of the smartest people he knows. “She’s an outstanding lawyer,” says Oxley, who’s also Slocum’s former husband. B IS FOR BUSY A typical day as a lawyer for Barney, Wishbone, et al., is a busy one. Each morning, Slocum first checks her voice mail and e-mail, which she uses extensively to communicate with the overseas staff members. She spends part of each day on the phone with outside counsel and reviews the work of paralegals. She’s in management meetings frequently and in and out of executives’ offices to discuss policy matters. She’s high-energy and constantly moving. “I never sit still,” she says. “I don’t spend a lot of time at my desk reading esoteric treatises.” Instead, she works on solving immediate problems and figuring long-term strategy for the company. Slocum likes to see the long-range effects of her work and enjoys the cohesive team approach at the company. “We get to test our work a lot,” she says. “We negotiate a contract and five years later, it’s still affecting us. I like being invested in decisions.” The intellectual property work is a challenge because each country has its own trademark laws, and enforcement varies tremendously, Slocum says. Debbie Ries, the company’s senior vice president of global video sales and publishing, says Slocum is detail-oriented and effective. “She has good ideas and asks really good questions of what people should think about,” Ries says. “Her questions help people think outside the box.” Slocum, who also has worked as a tax attorney, came to work as Lyrick Studios’ first in-house counsel in 1994. She landed the position with the encouragement of a limousine driver who decided she was perfect for the job. At that time, Slocum was traveling frequently as in-house counsel for Southland Corp., the parent company of 7-Eleven convenience stores. The driver for the limousine service also drove for Lyrick Studios executives, including Sheryl Leach, Barney’s creator, and decided the two women should meet. He encouraged Slocum to set up a meeting and became persistent when applicants for the newly created in-house post started coming to town. On the other end, the driver also was encouraging Leach to meet Slocum. “He mentioned there was an attorney who would fit in with our group,” says Leach, who now is a Greenwich, Conn.-based consultant for HIT Entertainment. “He said she seemed like us and was very smart and was very good with people.” The two eventually met, and Leach knew the driver was right. Slocum got the job as general counsel. “She was what the driver said she was,” Leach said. “She has a good heart and a positive attitude.” Others agree. Slocum has clicked with the members of the legal staff that she put together. Attorney Russ Riddle, vice president-legal, says Slocum makes it clear what’s required. “The communication lines are open,” he says. “She treats us like friends and colleagues.” Senior paralegals Julie Schornack and Natalie Stormer give high marks to their boss for being fair and giving them clear direction in their work. Both say Slocum sets high standards for everyone. “She’s very intelligent,” Stormer says. “Not only is she an excellent attorney, she’s a good businessperson. I’m astounded at her writing ability.” Schornack, who also is department administrator, has worked with Slocum for about 18 years, beginning at Southland Corp. as a secretary. She says Slocum gave her the chance to grow in the profession and always is open to suggestions from her and Stormer. “If you find a good boss, you should stick with her,” Schornack says. Outside of work, Slocum stays involved in the entertainment field. She’s president of the USA Film Festival, a Dallas organization that holds year-round programs and special events to promote excellence in film. Slocum, who had no background in entertainment when she came to Lyrick Studios, relishes her role as Barney’s legal eagle. Notes Slocum, “It’s about as much fun as you can have being a lawyer.”

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