Attorney at Law Nashville Publisher Amy Dreiling sat down with Franklin Graves to discuss his choice to attend Belmont Law.
AALM: Why did you choose to attend Belmont Law?
Graves: Given the reputation of Belmont University within both the Nashville and entertainment communities, it was an easy decision to make when I heard that Belmont Law would be opening its doors to the first class of students in 2011. I wanted to attend a law school that could provide academic support during school to prepare for the bar exam as well as access to an extensive network of alumni after graduation. Additionally, attending law school in the Music City allowed me to interact and network alongside top attorneys in the intellectual property and media law fields.
Belmont Law offered an entertainment and music business law certificate program, meaning that I had guaranteed access to the key intellectual property courses I would need in order to graduate with practical, practice-ready experience. Belmont Law tapped into local counsel to serve as adjunct professors that further connected students with the Nashville legal community. Additionally, academic leaders like Professor Loren Mulraine crafted a customized program that I felt truly prepared me for the industry.
AALM: What is a typical day like for you as general counsel at Naxos Music Group?
Graves: Working at a global music operation like the Naxos Music Group makes every day truly exciting. In addition to the regular contract drafting, deal negotiations, and internal legal support work, I never know what issues are going to come up throughout the course of a week. Practicing law in-house right out of school has allowed me to gain a level of experience that would normally take 10 years to obtain, and I would not have been prepared for this role were it not for the legal education I received through Belmont Law’s entertainment and intellectual property program.
From a daily schedule standpoint, I typically start the day checking sources that cover entertainment and technology news, as well as domestic and international business and intellectual property developments. It’s important to be aware of and educated on deal announcements, mergers and acquisitions, and personnel changes in the industry. I then try to clear out my email and sort through high priority “to-do” items that I’ll need to wrap up throughout the day. Otherwise, I typically have meetings scheduled with various departments and business partners throughout the week; so, I make sure I’m adequately prepared for those each day. I always try to disconnect myself for at least an hour or two so that I can focus on reviewing or drafting any agreements.
AALM: What course or courses did you take at Belmont Law that best prepared you for your career?
Graves: While the entire entertainment and music business certificate program was a key factor to my success, I can easily say that “Contract Drafting” was the most important individual course I took at Belmont Law. I would not have been able to hit the ground running right after graduation without the ability to understand foundational principles of contracts, such as proper structure and boilerplate provisions. Professor Abbie DeBlasis taught my contract drafting course, and she truly prepared me for the practice of law as a transactional attorney starting out in a corporate environment. Additionally, I had access to top-of-the-line legal resources through the Belmont Law Library. Its staff members were aware of cutting-edge legal technology that practitioners were using and made sure I not only had access to them, but resources to learn them.
AALM: You recently were named an ABA fellow. Can you share a lit more about that?
Graves: Throughout my time at Belmont Law, I felt a strong sense of support and encouragement to become involved in the American Bar Association. My involvement started when I was selected by the ABA’s section of intellectual property law (ABA-IPL) to join a team of law students that attend their annual intellectual property law conference in Washington, D.C. and live tweet and blog about the CLE presentations and networking activities. My involvement continued through various leadership positions throughout the remainder of my time as a law student and being recognized with an award from the ABA-IPL for outstanding leadership when I graduated.
I’ve continued my involvement and active leadership role within the ABA-IPL and am currently serving the second of a three-year term as a young lawyer fellow after completing a rigorous application and multi-step interview process. As a young lawyer fellow, I represent the ABA-IPL at three ABA conferences per year and participate in leadership activities, working toward the goal of becoming a leader within the ABA-IPL.
AALM: What other professional organizations are you involved in currently?
Graves: I am an active member of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a bar association that is exclusively for in house attorneys, as well as the Nashville Bar Association and Tennessee Bar Association. I’m excited to currently be preparing for my role as the moderator of a CLE panel at the ABA’s 32nd Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference in Washington, D.C. The panel is titled “Legal Compliance … I Choose You! Examining Recent Legal Issues of Augmented Reality Game Development Through the Lens of Pokémon GO” and scheduled for April 5-6, 2017.