Revisit On Reserve Episode 2: Alum Michelle Davis talks Kindercore Vinyl, Networking and Entertainment Law Resources

UGA Today recently shared a story about Kindercore Vinyl in Athens, GA. The video above from UGA’s YouTube explains the various close ties the vinyl pressing plant has with the university. Did you know the School of Law also has connections to this new business? Check out a few choice excerpts from Episode 2 of the library’s On Reserve podcast with law school grad and local entertainment attorney Michelle Davis who delivered they keynote earlier this year for the 8th Annual Protect Athens Music conference. Michelle works closely with Kindercore and explains in our podcast how this relationship was a perfect example of effective networking.

On her work with Kindercore Vinyl:

“This was one of those cases where these were long time friends. It’s kind of funny. They started the Kindercore as a record label in the ’90’s so I knew them as musicians when I was an undergrad here. As part of an assignment since you were required to be published in the journalism school I pitched a feature to Red & Black about Dan Geller because he had this great story about being a researcher and scientist by day and then a rock star and DJ by night so that was the first time I met him. And you know I never would have thought that sitting there as a 19 year old nervous writer that this guy would one day be a client of mine in my own law practice. But Ryan Lewis he emailed me in 2016, I was very newly barred as an attorney and he said ‘we have this dream, this idea, of pressing records here in Athens’. And he said we want you to be our Bertis, which was highly flattering, and so Bertis Downs being R.E.M.’s counsel and they paired with him when he was straight out of law school and then they both became wildly successful. I think they liked the idea that they were this upstart, and they wanted to find a young upstart attorney too that was passionate about working here in Athens and supporting the community. They kinda took a chance and I was willing to do whatever it would take to help. And so I put together their first operating agreement to help them assess intellectual property concerns. Once we got to the stage where we had real investors on the line I helped them find an attorney through some mutual contacts that could help take care of that piece of it. And now my office is actually in the pressing plant itself, I have some space there, and continue to support them in whatever legal needs they have.”

Networking with Clients and Attorneys:

“The vast majority have been friends that I knew before law school or have been referred to me by those connections. In my last year I did this sort of tour of entertainment lawyers in Georgia and talked to every single person I had met on any panel or symposium or event and just sort of said … “what do you suggest?”  and more than one attorney said you should just do it, start your own practice and if you have questions or are in over your head call me and I’ll help. And I was pleasantly surprised to see how warm and supportive the other attorneys were in this field.”

Entertainment Law Resources:

“I still use LexisNexis and Westlaw for research for case law stuff, and for finding forms, that is really useful. There’s also industry specific publications that I follow like Hollywood Reporter and Law 360, the ABA has a sports and entertainment law section and so does the Georgia Bar. Also strategically selecting CLEs that are relevant is a great way to meet other attorney’s in entertainment law or IP but also they’re usually really informative.”

On the Benefits of Clinics and Internships:

“I did the D.C. Semester… and I did that to work with an awesome artist’s rights group in D.C. called the Future of Music Coalition. While there I got a list of UGA Law grads who were in the D.C. area and one worked for NPR … We went for coffee and he said I should check out the internship program. It never would’ve occurred to me that it existed, so I applied and was accepted and came back that next summer. I highly encourage law students or undergrads if you’re interested in journalism, literally every show has an internship position. It is a great program and they pay their interns and it is enough to get by in D.C. in the summer.”

For the full segment of Michelle’s interview, listen to 45:38 to 1:04:50 of the episode below or find it on iTunes:

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