Gary A. Watson, Esq. provides clients in the music, motion picture, television and allied and ancillary industries with a full range of transactional entertainment legal services. His music industry clients have included Motown Records, Def Jam Records, Tommy Boy Records, Jimmy Jam's and Terry Lewis' Flyte Tyme Records and Dr. Dre. In the motion picture industry, his work has included representation of BET Pictures, II and the producers of the feature film, "Get On The Bus," which was executive produced by Spike Lee and starred Ossie Davis and Charles Dutton. Television industry clients which he has served include BET , actress LisaGay Hamilton from the series "The Practice," actress Suzzanne Douglas from the series "The Parenthood," executive producer Kathleen McGhee Anderson on the series " Lincoln Heights " and the producer of the Showtime movie, "Free of Eden," which stars Sidney Poitier. Gary most recently founded the law firm of Gary A. Watson & Associates and thus resumed running his own entertainment law practice. Before resuming ownership and operation of his own practice, Gary was Of-Counsel with Huron Law Group, LLP. At Huron Law Group, LLP, Gary oversaw the firm's entertainment law practice. Prior to his association with Huron Law Group, LLP, Gary practiced for 8 years as the owner and operator of the Law Offices of Gary A. Watson.
Before starting his first law office, Gary was a member of the Entertainment Department of the Century City, California law firm Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman & Machtinger. As part of that firm's Entertainment Department, Gary handled a broad range of legal matters for clients engaged in virtually all aspects of the entertainment industry, including actors, directors, producers, screenwriters, authors, publishers, musicians, songwriters, composers, independent production companies, special effects artists, financiers and major movie studios. The services provided involved the entertainment, general business, tax and other relevant aspects of each matter. Specifically, he negotiated, arranged and prepared contracts for the financing, development, production and exploitation of motion pictures, television programs, books, plays and musical recordings, as well as arranged agreements for the rendition of services by individuals in connection with such projects. Although Gary handled matters for clients who are well established in their respective fields, such as Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Nicole Kidman, Michael Jackson, Oliver Stone, Gene Hackman and others, he also represented up and coming talent.
Prior to joining Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman & Machtinger, Gary was an attorney in the Law Department of Universal Pictures at MCA, Inc. in Universal City , California . There, Gary handled the drafting and negotiation of rights holders, writers, producers, directors and actors agreements for feature films in development and production at Universal Pictures. He also drafted and negotiated negative pick-up distribution agreements for Universal Pictures and oversaw the legal work associated with financing and securing completion bonds for such transactions. He served as lead attorney for Universal Pictures on "The Guardian," a film by the director of "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection," William Friedkin; two pictures by Spike Lee, "Mo' Better Blues" and "Jungle Fever;" "Childs Play 3;" Wes Craven's and Shep Gordon's "People Under The Stairs;" the John Goodman starrer, "The Babe;" the film featuring Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis and Meryl Streep, directed by Robert Zemekis, entitled "Death Becomes Her;" and the Oscar Award winning picture starring Al Pacino titled "Scent of a Woman."
Before joining Universal Pictures' Law Department, Gary was an associate with the law firm of Dern, Mason and Floum located in Century City , California . There Gary was responsible for drafting, commenting on and negotiating rights acquisition, writers, producers, directors, actors, composers, distribution and sales agency agreements and completion bonds for a wide range of clients in the television and motion picture industries.
Gary started his practice in the Beverly Hills office of the law firm of Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Heine, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey. He was a member of both the corporate and entertainment departments. His corporate work included general business, securities (private placements and public offerings), acquisitions, general, commercial and contract matters. His entertainment practice included drafting and negotiation of group partnership, personal management, artist recording, producing engagement, music publishing and talent agency agreements.
Gary majored in economics at Stanford University where he obtained his AB in 1980. He received his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall) in 1984. Gary is the Chair and a Governing Committee Member of the American Bar Association's Forum on Entertainment and Sports Industries and served as the Division Chair of the Motion Pictures, Television, Cable and Radio Division. In addition, Gary has served as an International Advisory Committee Member and a Celebration of Black Cinema Committee Member for The 35th Chicago International Film Festival. Also, Gary is an active member of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association and has served as a member of the Board of Directors as well as Chair of the Public Relations Committee and has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Additionally, Gary serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Cinematheque. As well, Gary is a member of the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles County Bar Associations and the State Bar of California.
Gary has been a guest lecturer for several seminars and conferences, as well as, courses for the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Program. Also, Gary has lectured at numerous events, including the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association's 1992-1999 and 2001-2006 Annual Conferences. As well, Gary has lectured at the 1999-2002, 2004 and 2006 Annual Meetings for the American Bar Association's Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries. Gary has addressed Butler University in Indianapolis , IN and Northwestern University 's prestigious Kellogg School of Business in Evanston , Illinois . Gary taught an entertainment law and business class at Stanford University; a course entitled Music Production, Business & Legal Aspects at the Law Center of the University of Southern California; and a feature film financing class for Whittier Law School's Inaugural Summer Abroad Program in Santander, Spain.