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Valerie Lovely is an associate professor in the Music Business/Management Department at Berklee College of Music and a practicing transactional music attorney. Her clientele is limited exclusively to musicians, songwriters, publishers, record labels, and others with music law needs. The firm provides various transactional music law services, such as contract drafting, negotiation and explanations, copyrights, trademarks, band business evaluation reports, and other music business and legal services. Lovely also hosts a free informational website that provides music law articles of interest to today's musicians.
Lovely has been a guest speaker, panelist, and lecturer at a variety of events sponsored by legal- and music-based organizations, including the American Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, Berklee College of Music, and Blacksun Festival. She has taught copyright law to attorneys as a member of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts faculty.
Lovely has also been a musician for most of her life. She plays several instruments, has performed in rock bands, chamber groups, wind ensembles, and in studio projects, and has composed music in various styles and for use in a variety of media.
"I teach Legal Aspects and Advanced Contract Negotiation, so it's all legal language, and I just try to break it down into plain English so that students understand what I'm talking about. And I draw a lot of diagrams."
"When they get a contract and are skimming through it, I want them to know when they need to talk to an attorney. I don't want them to feel like, 'I took Legal Aspects; I don't need a lawyer.' I want them to have enough knowledge to know when something doesn't feel right, and I want them to be able to have a more informed conversation with their attorney."
"My approach to lawyering is: I educate. Some people just say, 'Sign this; don't sign this. This is a good deal; this is a bad deal. I'll figure it out for you; you don't have to think about it.' That's not my thing. I want you to be educated, to understand what you're signing, and make an informed decision about what's right for you and what's not."
"I started teaching for Berkleemusic.com a couple years ago. It's an interesting format. We have a one-hour chat per week; that's where the class really comes alive. I think of the chat as being that time before class and after class where you either corner the teacher alone and ask questions that you didn't want to ask in front of the class or you raise your hand and you ask questions that other people are going to want to know, too. There's a little bit of both of those in it. It's usually students who are doing something else full time, and this is what they're squeezing in part time. Life happens. I've had students from all over the world, but they all have something in common. They want to learn legal aspects."