Industry Insight Vol. Five: Music Law – Julius O’Riordan

Julius O'Riordan, aka Judge Jules, talks about getting involved within the music law industry.

| by | Features, Interviews

When you mention the name Julius O’Riordan, you could sit and think to yourself you have no idea who that would be. However if you mention the name Judge Jules, it stands out a lot. Julius is the side to the Judge who has studied within the music law industry, and currently represents hundreds of clients. His business Sheridans has become a steeple within the music industry, so for Industry Insight, Julius O’Riordan talks to us about music law, Sheridans and much more.

Just to get things kicked off, can you tell us a bit about how you first got involved in the industry and a typical day in the life of Julius O’Riordan?

Ironically, considering that I’m now a music lawyer as well as a DJ, I got into the industry by promoting illegal raves. By illegal I don’t mean as illegal then as they subsequently became once the law changed, so maybe I wasn’t being too naughty. A typical day in my life is that I DJ the weekend and work as a music lawyer representing hundreds of clients during the week. DJing involves an awful lot of homework, and I have a full-time PA to help me do the admin side of things, in order that I can focus my attention fully be excellent lawyer. An average week representing clients involves both negotiating deals and drafting contracts, and handling the aftermath when one’s clients fall out with people they were doing business with. So it’s a bit like being a priest conducting weddings and a divorce counsellor simultaneously.

Music law is an extremely important sector of the music industry, what enticed you about working in the law sector of the scene?

I graduated in law aged 21, but by the time I left university my DJ career was already well established. I always knew that I would go back to the law at some point and decided that sometime in my 40s was the sensible time to do it, irrespective of how well I was doing as a DJ. The reason being, that one needs to allow sufficient time to truly develop a second career. I had to re-do my law degree, as my original one was by that point out-of-date.

Five years down the line, the legal side has gone fantastically well and I’m so busy with clients that it’s almost at saturation point. And the
DJing continues in a way that I never imagined possible, considering how long I’ve been doing it. For example, next month I have something like 14 gigs. It’s this combination of being an active artist and music lawyer, with experience in almost every facet of the music business from management to promoting, radio to music production, live performance to sponsorship and endorsements, that I believe gives me a unique perspective as a lawyer. Because I’m somebody who seen it and done it from the coalface.

What kind of tasks and work is involved in dealing with the business and law side of an artist’s career?

I’m always ready to answer the phone about any subject to my clients, and having experienced what I’ve done, I’m never one to simply turn on the clock and charge people for advice. My job is as a base of support, working on bigger paid-for gigs for my clients when called upon to do so, whether those involve creating deals or dealing with the fallout when stuff goes wrong.

How stressful can the job be and would you consider your job as a music lawyer to be a typical 9-5, five days a week job?

Being a lawyer is never a 9-to-5 job. I will work whatever hours are necessary to complete the tasks at hand. Some weeks the hours can be
sensible. Others they can be crazy. But as an artist I have been bitten by experiencing lawyers’ service that  was too slow and patchy, and I will never be that type of lawyer

When it comes to contracts, many aspiring producers are so eager to get their foot on the Dance music ladder that they are willing to sign their name to any document that is put in front of them. How important is it for artists to get their paperwork checked out and what has been the worst story you have experienced with regards to not getting paperwork checked (without naming names)?

Whilst you’d expect me to say it, it’s absolutely crazy to simply sign any piece of paper that is put in front of you. Almost every day in my office I encounter artists who were so desperate to get their foot on the ladder that they did just that. Never problematic if a record/song/other deal disappears and doesn’t succeed, but when you have a huge hit on your hands you will be regretting lack of legal representation for the rest of your life. Every record company is staffed by A&Rs who are huge music fanatics and get friendly with the artists they sign. Unfortunately they are not the same people who draft the contracts, who are far less emotional about the artists and will draft very poor contracts with no remorse. So, as an artist you skip legal representation at your peril.

What piece of advice would you give to our readers, looking to get involved within music law? Also, what does 2017 and the future hold for yourself and Sheridans?

To succeed in music law it’s a given that you have to be a huge music enthusiast. It also helps to come from a commercial background somewhere else in the music industry. Within my firm, Sheridans, the majority of the music lawyers did something else within music first. Perhaps not for the great length of time that I did, but it makes a difference being able to see things from an alternative perspective, adding value. Music lawyer are far removed from their dry commercial/ real estate lawyer cousins, and having deep-seated commercial insight and industry awareness as well as legal skills is a pre-requisite.

For more information on Julius O’Riordan:
http://www.sheridans.co.uk/lawyers/jules-o-riordan.aspx

or on Judge Jules:
https://www.facebook.com/judgejules/
https://twitter.com/RealJudgeJules
https://soundcloud.com/judge-jules-1

Julius O’Riordan

When you mention the name Julius O’Riordan, you could sit and think to yourself you have no idea who that would be. However if you mention the name Judge Jules, it stands out a lot. Julius is the side to the Judge who has studied within the music law industry, and currently represents hundreds of clients. He works within the company Sheridans, and is involved within a lot of their work, due to the experience which he holds. Now Julius O’Riordan offers an Industry Insight into his vast knowledge of music law.

Just to get things kicked off, can you tell us a bit about how you first got involved in the industry and a typical day in the life of Julius O’Riordan?

Julius O’Riordan

Ironically, considering that I’m now a music lawyer as well as a DJ, I got into the industry by promoting illegal raves. By illegal I don’t mean as illegal then as they subsequently became once the law changed, so maybe I wasn’t being too naughty. A typical day in my life is that I DJ the weekend and work as a music lawyer representing hundreds of clients during the week. DJing involves an awful lot of homework, and I have a full-time PA to help me do the admin side of things, in order that I can focus my attention fully be excellent lawyer. An average week representing clients involves both negotiating deals and drafting contracts, and handling the aftermath when one’s clients fall out with people they were doing business with. So it’s a bit like being a priest conducting weddings and a divorce counsellor simultaneously.

Music law is an extremely important sector of the music industry, what enticed you about working in the law sector of the scene?

Julius O’Riordan

I graduated in law aged 21, but by the time I left university my DJ career was already well established. I always knew that I would go back to the law at some point and decided that sometime in my 40s was the sensible time to do it, irrespective of how well I was doing as a DJ. The reason being, that one needs to allow sufficient time to truly develop a second career. I had to re-do my law degree, as my original one was by that point out-of-date.

Five years down the line, the legal side has gone fantastically well and I’m so busy with clients that it’s almost at saturation point. And the
DJing continues in a way that I never imagined possible, considering how long I’ve been doing it. For example, next month I have something like 14 gigs. It’s this combination of being an active artist and music lawyer, with experience in almost every facet of the music business from management to promoting, radio to music production, live performance to sponsorship and endorsements, that I believe gives me a unique perspective as a lawyer. Because I’m somebody who seen it and done it from the coalface.

What kind of tasks and work is involved in dealing with the business and law side of an artist’s career?

I’m always ready to answer the phone about any subject to my clients, and having experienced what I’ve done, I’m never one to simply turn on the clock and charge people for advice. My job is as a base of support, working on bigger paid-for gigs for my clients when called upon to do so, whether those involve creating deals or dealing with the fallout when stuff goes wrong.

Julius O’Riordan

How stressful can the job be and would you consider your job as a music lawyer to be a typical 9-5, five days a week job?

Being a lawyer is never a 9-to-5 job. I will work whatever hours are necessary to complete the tasks at hand. Some weeks the hours can be
sensible. Others they can be crazy. But as an artist I have been bitten by experiencing lawyers’ service that  was too slow and patchy, and I will never be that type of lawyer

When it comes to contracts, many aspiring producers are so eager to get their foot on the Dance music ladder that they are willing to sign their name to any document that is put in front of them. How important is it for artists to get their paperwork checked out and what has been the worst story you have experienced with regards to not getting paperwork checked (without naming names)?

Julius O’Riordan

Whilst you’d expect me to say it, it’s absolutely crazy to simply sign any piece of paper that is put in front of you. Almost every day in my office I encounter artists who were so desperate to get their foot on the ladder that they did just that. Never problematic if a record/song/other deal disappears and doesn’t succeed, but when you have a huge hit on your hands you will be regretting lack of legal representation for the rest of your life. Every record company is staffed by A&Rs who are huge music fanatics and get friendly with the artists they sign. Unfortunately they are not the same people who draft the contracts, who are far less emotional about the artists and will draft very poor contracts with no remorse. So, as an artist you skip legal representation at your peril.

What piece of advice would you give to our readers, looking to get involved within music law? Also, what does 2017 and the future hold for yourself and Sheridans?

To succeed in music law it’s a given that you have to be a huge music enthusiast. It also helps to come from a commercial background somewhere else in the music industry. Within my firm, Sheridans, the majority of the music lawyers did something else within music first. Perhaps not for the great length of time that I did, but it makes a difference being able to see things from an alternative perspective, adding value. Music lawyer are far removed from their dry commercial/ real estate lawyer cousins, and having deep-seated commercial insight and industry awareness as well as legal skills is a pre-requisite.

For more information on Julius O’Riordan:
http://www.sheridans.co.uk/lawyers/jules-o-riordan.aspx

or on Judge Jules:
https://www.facebook.com/judgejules/
https://twitter.com/RealJudgeJules
https://soundcloud.com/judge-jules-1

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