Find out more about TMT law as a qualified area of practice.
What kinds of clients will I be dealing with?
Technology, media and telecommunications law (TMT) clients are as varied as the industry sounds. Work in this area of law can range from helping clients such as Viacom (the owners of the MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central channels, as well as Channel 5) renegotiate its wide-ranging distribution and advertising-sales arrangement with organisations such as Sky, through to technical-copyright advice for small charities, or advising an internet music service on negotiations with rights owners.
What kind of work will I do at different levels?
Trainees in this fast-paced area of law can expect to get stuck in right from the outset. They could be given research tasks involving data protection, trademarks, software copyrights and other data issues. There could also be plenty of client-focused matters to take care of, such as preparing non-disclosure agreements, attending meetings and helping out on bigger deals and transactions.
A trainee in this area of law will have a lot to get their teeth into. Large outsourcing arrangements, film and TV deals, commercial due diligence all require trainees to be fairly heavily involved, whether that be redrafting contracts in line with client instructions, reviewing drafts received from the other side, document management, or drafting emails.
At the other end of the spectrum, you might be involved in a series of smaller, more discrete tasks, which can range from drafting client-research notes, business-development work, negotiating smaller day-to-day commercial contracts, or perhaps some pro-bono work. The benefit of getting involved with the more routine aspects of commercial law is that it provides you with greater flexibility to run your own practice and manage your deadlines, all of which is important for your development as a solicitor.
A TMT solicitor will involve advising and drafting agreements on new business, contractual work for new projects, licensing and rights distribution. They might assist with advertising, marketing plans and commercial launches too.
Outsourcing is not uncommon in TMT, where lawyers will often be tasked with things such as completing due-diligence checks on the outsourcing partner, preparing and reviewing draft agreements, protection clauses and the rights and obligations of both parties.
Those working in e-commerce will focus on providing legal advice for clients that are setting up websites and online-payment systems. Data security and the protection of content within the website are of paramount importance for these types of organisation.
How should I tailor my commercial awareness?
Clients will expect those in this area of law to be fully up to speed with the latest developments in media and technology law. You could subscribe to a range of online news sources to ensure this, from the Financial Times to technology industry publications, as well as specialist pages such as The Guardian’s media home page.
BBC Radio 4’s podcast The Media Show could also help keep you updated on the latest developments in media, tech and the law, covering topical issues relating to things such as social media—like the Silicon Valley v Westminster episode—technology and TV.
Legal Practice Areas