Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Some boys dream of being rock stars when they grow up. Very few dream about being the lawyers who represent them. Yet two Connecticut attorneys have combined their childhood dreams with their adult vocation to form a Vernon law firm called Musicians Legal Representation. “I remember being in 6th grade and wanting to be a lawyer. Then I wanted to be the next drummer for Kiss,” said Brian K. Carvell, who founded the firm with Michael P. Hatchell. The pair first met at Western New England College School of Law in Springfield. The two 1999 grads talked about starting a band together, “Ipso Facto,” but the project never came to fruition. “Music has always been a part of our lives,” added Hatchell. Initially, however, their law careers left them off course. Hatchell was doing tax work, while Carvell practiced real estate law. The genesis for their law firm came from their mutual dissatisfaction with their careers. Hatchell is now devoting all of his energies to the new practice, while Carvell is an associate at Leighton, Katz & Drapeau in Vernon, Conn. “Initially everything we are doing is to get our name out and create a network,” said Hatchell, 33. “We want to make the contacts with the right people. Connecticut is chock full of talented musicians,” even though the New York City and Boston music scenes overshadow the state. Hatchell, who has an MBA in addition to his J.D., has done trademark and copyright work for bands. “We want to help them take the next step,” he said, from playing shows at local bars to making a profession out of their music. Bands, he said, have a lot of common sense questions, but can’t afford huge hourly fees. “A lot of people we sit down with … need direction. They know down the road they’ll run across a need for an attorney.” Carvell, 29, has even loftier goals. “We want to do our part to bring integrity back to the music industry. We want to protect the musicians’ rights,” he said, adding, “Our music industry is full of shysters.” INVESTING IN THE FUTURE The first piece of advice they give musicians is to get everything in writing and have questions answered in advance. Interestingly, the firm does not require signed contracts with groups that seek legal advice. “We invest in them, but people could walk away at any time. There are no agreements. I don’t want our clients to be forced to work with us. I’m not worried about them going away,” Hatchell said. Even though both look like clean-cut young associates, this is a nontraditional law firm. Calls come in at all hours of the day and night because musicians don’t keep normal business hours. “I got a call at 11 p.m. one night,” Carvell said. “We encourage people to call at any time.” Hatchell said his firm is the only one in Connecticut devoted full-time to the practice of entertainment law. A review of the Martindale-Hubbell directory would appear to bear that out. Recently, they have worked on copyright applications, a trademark infringement case against a singer in Los Angeles, and another trademark infringement case for WCCC-FM in Hartford, Conn. Primarily, however, the work the two are doing now isn’t reaping financial benefits. “We’re investing in the future,” Hatchell said. “Our work right now is an investment. The bands need the protection and legal insight. We’re not going to hound people for money. Our ultimate goal is to make [the firm] viable.” The pair hopes to represent a national touring act like the rock band Motley Crue. Carvell joked, “There’s lifetime potential from the lawsuits” that are filed in conjunction with a tour. Hatchell said more seriously, “To be able to do it for a living. That is the goal. It’s not a question of whether … it’s a question of when.” “More power to them,” said Melanie Abbott, an associate professor of law at Quinnipiac University School of Law. Abbott has taught entertainment law off and on for the last 13 years. “The problem is,” she said, “what you need to be successful is clout.” The entertainment industry needs to perceive participants as being a “player,” she added. “It’s a tough business because it’s mostly about who you know and how much influence you have.” The firm’s web site, www.musicianslegalrep.com, promotes the tagline, “Dedicated to your passion, music.” As Carvell put it, “We promote the hell out of our Web site.” In addition to business cards, the pair also hand out guitar picks with their name and Web site. Carvell, who has an LL.M. in addition to his J.D., also promotes the firm at various web sites and chat rooms. “There’s no shortage of attorneys [representing] the musical industry,” he said. “The musicians need somebody.”

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.