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Principal Counsel, 20th Century Studios

Apply NowApply Later Job ID 788323BR Location Los Angeles, California, United States Business The Walt Disney Studios Date posted Oct. 26, 2021

Job Summary:

We are seeking an attorney to join the Walt Disney Studios Production Legal Affairs team to support film development and production for theatrical and streaming content, and other original content in support of various studio initiatives. As a member of the team, you will work independently and be responsible for all legal matters arising during the course of development and production, including but not limited to evaluating rights and chain of title issues, drafting and negotiating a wide variety of agreements, providing legal counsel to production executives and other key stakeholders in an accurate and timely manner, including providing thoughtful legal advice on potential risks and issues.


  • Draft, analyze and negotiate above-the-line talent contracts for feature film development and production.
  • Draft complex rights acquisitions and provide legal analysis related to chain-of-title, intellectual property rights and other rights management matters.
  • Prepare memos summarizing motion picture rights, talent approvals, and other obligations.
  • Provide counsel on corporate structuring, draft production services agreements, payroll services arrangements, and other documents related to production set-up.
  • Draft and negotiate a variety of production agreements including locations, leases, vendor/equipment, catering, third party consulting and other production related agreements.
  • Evaluate and advise on clearance matters, guild issues, and other concerns relating to the production, marketing and exploitation of feature films.
  • Provide guidance, mentor and act as a resource to colleagues with less experience
  • Manage important relationships with our business and entertainment partners
  • Assist Legal senior leadership in the development of department policies and procedures, and help shape strategies.
  • Work independently but generally subject to supervision of more senior lawyers in the group, in particular seeking guidance on more complex or high-risk matters.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Minimum 8-10 years of significant legal experience with a minimum of 5 years in the entertainment industry.
  • Solid understanding of motion picture business and legal issues. Demonstrated capacity to keep current on emerging business and legal trends in streaming, motion picture, episodic, television and new media industry.
  • Superior drafting, negotiation, communication and organizational skills. Significant experience drafting and negotiating live-action, animation, television, SVOD 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.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and present arguments to higher-level attorneys and clients to help shape strategic decisions made by those individuals. Ability to effectively challenge business approach and articulate legal risks.
  • Ability to evaluate and reconcile issues from the business-unit and enterprise level perspective.
  • 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.
  • Ability to work in an environment with a high degree of confidentiality.

Required Education

  • JD degree.
  • Admission to California State Bar Association (or willingness and qualification to be Registered In-House Counsel) and law degree from an accredited law school.

Additional Information:


About The Walt Disney Studios:

For over 95 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today it brings quality movies, episodic storytelling, music, and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. The Walt Disney Studios encompasses a collection of respected film studios, including Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight Pictures. It is also home to Disney Theatrical Productions, producer of world-class stage shows.

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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