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Assistant Chief Counsel, Studios

Apply Now Apply Later Job ID 715359BR Location Burbank, California, United States; Los Angeles, California, United States Business The Walt Disney Studios Date posted Nov. 06, 2019

Job Summary:

The Walt Disney Pictures (live-action) Legal Affairs team drafts and negotiates motion picture contracts, provides legal analysis and advice, and serves as production counsel to the following areas: Walt Disney Pictures live-action theatrical motion pictures, Direct-to-Consumer original programming, Disney Nature label documentaries (theatrical motion pictures and television), Theme Park Productions, and Short Form Content (and home entertainment content enhancement).
The Assistant Chief Counsel is responsible for development and production of live-action motion pictures including providing production counsel services on individual theatrical and high budget SVOD motion pictures 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-theline 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.

Responsibilities:

  • 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.

Basic Qualifications:

  • 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 team environment and act as a resource to colleagues with less experience. 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.
  • Has breadth of knowledge about the motion picture industry and legal issues and has functioned as a strategic partner for business affairs and new business initiatives.
  • 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. Demonstrates a clear ability to manage fast paced production environment.
  • Demonstrated capacity to keep current on emerging business and legal trends in motion picture and television industry.
  • A collegial and collaborative lawyer who brings a commitment to the creation of a positive working environment within the legal organization.
  • An excellent work ethic and commitment to professionalism.
  • Ability to work in an environment with a high degree of confidentiality.

Required Education

  • Law degree from an accredited law school required
  • Membership in the California State Bar Association (or willingness and qualification to be registered In-House Counsel) required

About The Walt Disney Studios:

For over 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, Disneynature, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!. Ours is a culture of innovation, inspiration and collaboration that brings together visionary artists, gifted technologists and savvy business minds to conjure up magical entertainment experiences for a global audience.

About The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to its preeminent name in the entertainment industry today, Disney proudly continues its legacy of creating world-class stories and experiences for every member of the family. Disney’s stories, characters and experiences reach consumers and guests from every corner of the globe. With operations in more than 40 countries, our employees and cast members work together to create entertainment experiences that are both universally and locally cherished.

This position is with Walt Disney Pictures, which is part of a business segment we call The Walt Disney Studios.

Walt Disney Pictures is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or protected veteran status. Disney fosters a business culture where ideas and decisions from all people help us grow, innovate, create the best stories and be relevant in a rapidly changing world.

We will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories consistent with applicable law.

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