How To Be An… Entertainment Lawyer: Marcie Cleary

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Marcie Cleary knew early on that her road would lead to a fulfilling career as an attorney working in the dynamic field of entertainment.  With laser-beam focus and several strategic career steps later, at only 28, Marcie has already realized her life’s dream.


Name:                 Marcie Cleary

Age:                     28

Location:           Harlem, NYC

Profession:       Entertainment Attorney


How did you get started?

I decided at a very young age that I wanted to be an entertainment attorney. I remember reading a profile about an entertainment attorney in Sister 2 Sister Magazine and thinking that her work seemed fascinating. I was also a volunteer in the NAACP Youth and College Division at the time and I thought that being an attorney would be a good way to continue supporting efforts to protect civil rights.  I knew that in order to become an attorney, I had to focus on getting good grades in high school so that I could attend a competitive college.

I decided to attend New York University partly because I wanted to be able to do internships in the entertainment industry. During the summer after my freshman year, I interned at Interscope Records in Santa Monica, California. During my junior and senior year, I interned in the legal department at HBO in New York City. My HBO internship confirmed that I wanted to be an entertainment lawyer. Again, I focused on getting good grades so that I could attend a top law school. I was fortunate and excited when I got admitted to Yale Law School, which I decided, would provide great training and exposure no matter what I decided to do afterward.


At Yale, I continued to pursue my interest in entertainment law. I worked as a summer associate at a large law firm in New York City and at a large law firm in Los Angeles, both of which had strong entertainment practices. I decided to start my career at the New York City law firm focusing on mergers and acquisitions in the entertainment industry. After about two years, I transitioned to the law firm that I am at currently. I work in my firm’s entertainment group where we represent a variety of individuals and companies in the entertainment industries, including actors, writers, directors, and producers, production companies, fashion companies and models; and clients in the publishing and theater industries.


What’s an average day like?

Because of the diversity of my firm’s clients and the work that we do for them, each day is different. I may spend a typical day drafting and negotiating contracts on behalf of a client or working with clients to find creative solutions to legal problems that arise in their day-to-day work. I also like to support my clients at events such as film screenings or fashion shows featuring their work.

Why do you do it?

I love helping creative ideas come to fruition. I don’t necessarily consider myself to be an artsy person, but I have always appreciated the work of artists and entertainers. So I enjoy working out the logistical and legal issues so that my clients can focus on their creative work.

Ups and downs you sometimes face on the job:

The best part of my job is seeing my hard work help a client’s creative idea come alive on film, on television, on the stage, or in print. Since I typically work on a number of projects simultaneously, I sometimes leave work exhausted, but even on my most tiring days, I appreciate how I’ve helped my clients, and that makes them good days.

Your greatest achievement so far?  Staying focused on my dreams from a very young age and feeling like I have already made them come true.

What might be next for you?

I am very lucky to feel like I have my dream job at a relatively early stage in my career. My goal is to continue to grow as an attorney, to help my clients realize their creative ideas, and to love what I do.



What are your top 5 hair tips?

  1.  In my experience, long hair holds curls better when it’s cut in layers; otherwise, the hair is too heavy and the curls drop.
  2.  When my hair is curled (with a flat iron or curling iron), I pin curl it at night to make sure my curls are still there when I wake up in the morning.
  3. When I’m wearing my hair in its naturally curly state, I like to rotate different conditioners and products. I find that if I use just one product to retain my curls, my hair builds up a tolerance and over time, it becomes less effective.
  4.  Be sure to wear silk scarves at night.
  5.  Love your hair! Loving your hair makes for more good hair days.

Fun Fact:  Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, Marcie was exposed to prominent entertainers at a young age before she was even aware of it! Singer, Isaac Hayes lived in her grandmother’s building, which had a piano in the lobby, so it was common to see him sitting at the piano playing and singing.

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