By Tigner J
Bernie Lawrence-Watkins, of B. Lawrence Watkins & Associates, PC, is a seasoned entertainment attorney who has represented Grammy® Award-winning music producers, artists, songwriters, and major label record executives.
With over twenty years of experience, Bernie has negotiated complex agreements, ranging from licensing, employment, corporate transactions, to product endorsement and influencer deals, on behalf of entertainment and corporate brands.
Ms. Lawrence-Watkins was among Atlanta’s top lawyers and judges honored during rolling out’s Justice for All gala.
What attracted you to the legal profession?
What attracted me to the legal profession was the ability to provide assistance to those who needed guidance and protection from people who could potentially take advantage of them.
When did you first develop an interest in law and justice?
I first developed an interest in law and justice while I was in college attending Howard University, along with my brother, who was offered a recording contract. Once the deal went sour, I saw how it negatively affected my brother. That was my confirmation to go to law school with the intention of becoming an entertainment attorney to get the best deals possible for clients.
What have been some of your most significant moments?
Some of my most significant moments have been negotiating seven-figure deals on behalf of my clients, which allowed them to retain 100% ownership interest in their intellectual property rights, all while they were under the age of 25. This allows them to create a legacy for their family in the future.
How do you incorporate technology into your law practice?
I incorporate technology in several ways. I use social media as a way to market my business. The digital imprints are a way to effectively reach markets that I could not potentially reach before and possibly engage in direct contact, if necessary. Most of my agreements are negotiated online and transmitted via email. I hardly print out a copy of the agreements or paperwork anymore. New apps have allowed me to store files in the cloud, saving room in the office, memory space on the computers, billing efficiencies, and virtual answering service to keep track of every call.
What qualities make for an effective lawyer?
Qualities that are necessary for an effective lawyer are excellent listening, researching and writing skills — the ability to communicate effectively, being efficient in your work, and good time management and people skills.
What advice would you offer a law student just beginning their career?
The advice I would offer to a law student just beginning their career is to have integrity in everything you do. Enroll in the process of what you set out to accomplish, create an action plan, and do it well. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable because you will constantly think of ways to challenge yourself. Feeling comfortable allows for complacency.