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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

hey good afternoon everybody I’m JD Houvener and welcome to the Bold lawyers show I’m here with this uh this new format for attorneys or anyone who may be aspiring to be an attorney the show is going to be featuring uh live interviews with founders of bold lawyers from around the country um they’re oftentimes Solo or small firms they’re just getting started or maybe they’re well on their way but they have figured it out they figured out something and they want to be able to share that with you the audience so we want this to be interactive so if you happen to watch this live on Facebook on Instagram or YouTube I’ll be prioritizing any live questions and asking that of myself who I’m the owner here at bold Patton’s Law Firm which way am I pointing um and I’m the guest as well I welcome to ask ask her any questions so as you probably saw from the title we’re gonna have a special guest her name is isaro Carter owner at the Carter Law Firm and we’ll be doing an interview with her so let’s bring her on to the show is Sarah welcome thank you JD hello everyone yeah oh you got the wind blowing your hair and everything it’s looking good it’s just really hot in New York right now and the way my AC is set up is you know hey all good very good well um and this is gonna go to the podcast listeners too so they’re they’re missing out and they’re missing out so if you if you’re listening on the podcast and you want to catch our show live we’re here uh Tuesday afternoons 2 30 on the west coast and 5 30 on East Coast um so it’s sorrow um you are the owner at the Carter Law Firm and you said New York that’s where you’re based out of yeah New York City awesome and um I didn’t give you much prep time at all I just emailed you today I was like hey I had a cancellation can you please be on the show today so um thank you so much for being a good sport and being willing to share some time I know it’s precious so we can go lots of different directions with this show we keep pretty General if we do get any live questions we will uh can answer those as we go but I love starting with a Founder story um kind of having you explain walk us through why you set up the firm maybe what was the initial spark that got you thinking about owning your own practice and everyone out there that might be thinking about hanging their own shingle what are some things you can share so give us that founder story first okay no problem so um pretty much like I’ve always known that eventually at some point in my career that I’d be working for myself um I just never knew what capacity like that would I guess take form um in but around 2020 um I was working for a firm I was doing actually family law um matrimonial and criminal law at another small firm um and stuff was like drying up because you know in around March in New York that’s when like the lockdowns and everything were happening because of the pandemic and so I was looking around at you know the a little bit of work that was coming in and then I was looking at my boss who had also been my mentor since before I got to law school um her name was midwin Charles and you know I was looking at her she was looking at me and I was like what are we gonna do and she was like you know whatever it is that you decide to do if you want to know do business development and have some clients come in if you want to start something on your own you are more than welcome to um she was really great she pretty much supported me in everything that I did she was kind of like my legal mom my legal Fairy Godmother and um eventually I decided okay well now is a good this time is any to start my own Law Firm if that’s what I want to do and if that’s how self-employment is going to take uh shape in my life so um I did it and I told her and she supported me through and through she kicked me some clients um she gave me every single resource Under the Sun that she had used to start her own firm um after leaving Big law and uh it’s incredible yeah what’s her what’s her name again her name was midwin Charles so unfortunately she passed away in 2021 um right you know she was truly like the Catalyst to getting that done then at the time that I decided to get it done

okay got it and so so it was actually a family law practice yeah okay yeah got it and that is not what you’re doing now is it no I do entertainment now um how did you make that change okay I I didn’t know that actually by the way is there you are in a mastermind together we get to talk about all kinds of things that is one of the reasons why I started the show is I want to get some of that learning some of the things that everyday Founders owners of firms they don’t get to talk about or learn about it seems like it’s all hidden and behind closed doors so um thank you again for being here for sharing that story but let’s uh first go there how did you go from family law to entertainment law got it so to be honest entertainment was where I started um and so before law school I just always knew I was going to work in the entertainment industry in fact the way that I met midwin was through an entertainment um boot camp that I had done in in undergrad it was like the year 2015 and I was a part of the women in entertainment um empowerment networks like summer boot camp just for college age young women who were never exposed to the entertainment world before um but wanted to you know get their foot in the door so she was a guest professor at one point and um this is before law school oh yeah this is before law school I wasn’t necessarily legal related you’re just entertainment just entertainment entertainment down because even before then right I thought that you know I was gonna be a doctor I was going to med school until like orgo came in and told me that I would not be going to med school you know so like I just changed courses and I was like okay I might as well just follow my dreams my passions like I come from a family that is very very entertainment oriented and like very much in the Performing Arts in the visual arts um we have musicians we have dancers we have painters we just have everybody like everybody’s doing something um I was not blessed with the the talent but I could read it right really well you know I can make a hell of an argument you know so um I was like okay let’s try our hand at a different profession like let’s see where I could find my footing in the law um Behind these things because even at the time like growing up I would see you know my family members going through things and I would even see some of my favorite entertainers going through transactions where they were getting the short end of the stick um their ideas were getting taken from them their intellectual property was getting taken from them and I was like this is your bread and butter like how are you supposed to you know make a living and like sustain yourself off of this if um there are all these pitfalls um that are kind of designed for you to fall into because you don’t understand right like the legal jargon you don’t understand the business aspect of things um so that’s where I found my Niche like that’s where I found where I can fit in um and so once orgo wasn’t you know like once the med school stuff wasn’t going to work for me I was like okay the law I can definitely do um and so yeah that’s how I got into that and every single internship and every single job that I had um in undergrad it was just entertainment oriented and it was in different facets of the entertainment industry and then even in law school when I was doing my externships and internships entertainment straight except for one time right try to make sure that entertainment was exactly what I wanted to do and so I did crimmigration um at a non-profit crimmigration yeah so like the intersection of criminal law and integrate immigration and it was very fulfilling and very impactful work but for the same reason why I left family law and matrimony and stuff is why I decided not to go down that route um right it’s very emotional um and like there are a lot of really huge and heavy issues that go on some of the ugliest parts of humanity like you’ll see play out in these spaces and it was really hard for me to not take that home with me um so I was like yeah let me just go back to what my passions are and do something you know it’s not as light but you know a little lighter yeah quite a bit yeah

yeah I guess that’s something I have I sort of almost take for granted you know the type of work that we we now do intellectual property um it’s all opportunistic it’s happy there’s no one’s mad when we are um so we got a randomly LinkedIn user I’m impressed with your level of knowledge wow amazing very nice well I assume you’re talking about our guests today well if they’re talking about both of us they would be accurate in the level of knowledge so thank you very good okay so let’s see so when back to your roots entertainment um some of the people are out there maybe they’re you know still at a big firm they’re like how would I even land my first client you mentioned there were some introductions you got from your previous firm but how did you kind of get those first or won their first client in entertainment um so I think that everybody in entertainment will kind of say the same thing like whether you’re a lawyer or even if you’re an anr at a company or just you’re an agent right it’s always going to be somebody that you know like your connections are going to be everything your network is going to be everything um like I said right like growing up I was just kind of entrenched in the Performing Arts in the visual arts so there were a lot of people around me who were creating things but didn’t necessarily know a lawyer um or right like have an entertainment account there’s just anything like that they were just doing it out of the love of these things and not even realizing that they really could have a sustainable career um in this so my first client who’s actually a family friend um perfect yeah she’s still my client today and she’s one of you know it’s like she’s a a union member for wga so she’s on strike now um oh okay yeah yeah catch me up to speed what’s going on with this how is that affecting her or all your clients I guess yeah so um pretty much like the way that these strikes work is um all of these different unions that exist in Hollywood they it was for you oh well thank you for you sorry but go ahead thank you so much

so the way that all these unions work in Hollywood um is that like for every set amount of years um the studios and the people who are in the union come to an agreement um and that’s going to be their standard agreement and it sets like how much people are paid how many hours they’re going to be working like just what is the I guess like what are the parameters of this employment and what are the parameters of payment um and this year uh The Writers Guild of America they had greater demands if they wanted and in my opinion rightfully so um they would like to be paid more um they would like to well this is kind of just like the overhead view of like some of these bigger issues they would like to be paid more because the executives keep getting paid more money and their rates haven’t raised for a very long time um and inflation is kind of killing like what they are being paid now um also AI is a huge issue right now like generative AI um with the things like chat GPT and like companies like civility Ai and like things that are out there that are creating um essentially some of the things that they are able to create not at the same level at this point but we know technology right like in the direction that it’s going um they want to make sure that their jobs are going to be safe and that they’re going to have security um in the future with you know like these moving issues and there are so many other things going on um and so you know the studios well a lot of Studios haven’t come to an agreement with them yet and they are at the negotiation table and unfortunately um we’re kind of a stalemate right now because you see them they are still striking in the streets like since May the writer’s Guild um the actors just went on strike a couple of weeks ago and there are talks now even as recently as today that that’s going to continue on until 2024. so um wow so Studios would be for example Paramount would that be yeah like caramel and you know like thought like 20th Century Fox and you know like Disney like all these big name like just Production Studios why don’t they just go direct to individual writers or maybe they do well hire them in because in Hollywood the way that it works is that um if you are a working writer and you’re making a specific amount of money you’re eligible to be a part of the union and the thing about the union is this is where people get their health insurance this is where people get like you know like their benefits and things like that and like the union is where you want to be working right like the union is where you want to be and you make a great Point why aren’t they going directly to um some of these hiring their own Riders in-house I mean maybe they’ve got some but right well well they don’t I guess just because of like the way that the economy like just kind of works um in Hollywood but to your point right some of um some of these networks um they’ve actually at least on the soap operas right um something that I was reading earlier the soap operas are actually hiring scab writers um now the problem with being a scab twofold and it’s manifold but two overarching ideas one being a scab you’re never going to be in the Union is that what that means well you are a non-union writer who has crossed the picket line got it so like so nobody in the union likes you you’re and you you’re not gonna be able to join it you have burned a bridge ever yeah that bridge is burnt that [ __ ] has sailed um do you have represent scab riders or that’s maybe not based on the way I’m hearing you I mean not me personally and that’s just that’s just my personal thing I’m in solidarity with creators in the Creator economy that’s why I went into intellectual property like in entertainment like to begin with um I am with creators um but then like also the issue with that is you have more protection at least the way that I see it in my understanding of just like the labor effort and like go all the way back to the Industrial Revolution like up to now right like you have a bit more protection in the union going up against like these big studios than you do as an individual for sure I remember it I was at Boeing before I became a um as an engineer where I became a lawyer and there was an engineering Union and it was great like they had all the research and they had all the negotiating power right an individual is going to get just probably junk you know not as not as good benefits or pay so they’ve got the Advantage right and then the lever they can really pull is doing just what they’re doing now which is exactly the most leverage that you have like as an individual non-union writer who is who is tending to scab yeah is that moment where you decide and then from there you can be exploited however you want you don’t have the negotiating power yep yep awesome thank you for going deep on that um so let’s let’s pull back let’s go back into law firm a little bit so let’s say um what are some of the uh as you started maybe that year one or year two what are some of the big golden nuggets big lessons learned that you could pass along to our audience kind of looking back as you started out some of the biggest lessons um I know that a lot of people um who are thinking of like making that plunge and making that jump um they kind of like you know like there’s a little bit of fear mixed up into that um I mean Miss Gary part really isn’t uh starting it it’s really easy to just start right like the mechanics of starting it really is like just getting clients in the door and things like that so one of my biggest tips I would say is it doesn’t matter if all you have is a website and a business card you might not even have a real like working functional office space go Network go tell people that like you’re out there you know go start building up your network start building up your contacts let people know that you’re around and that you’re available and that you can help um who did you network with I mean this is go I mean if you don’t mind I mean because this is this is because I I have actually a little Block in my calendar for networking and I end up kind of the same kind of folks but what do you for you know what did you who do you network with no problem so um I network with um I would say like I would start by saying like just two primary groups right like other attorneys and then also people who are right like the people that I would be working with so when it comes to other attorneys and potential clients right exactly yeah um so when we’re talking about attorneys right like I uh joined the executive committee of like some of these different bar associations right so like I am the secretary of the entertainment and sports law section of the New York State Bar Association um and I’ve been there since 2019 right so now we’re talking before I even started the firm you know I was laying that Foundation um and that is one of the best places I think especially if you’re just starting out who um to just network with others because I think what you’re going to miss from being at a firm and then now working on your own is the collaboration aspect of things and being able to just walk into someone’s office and you know ask a quick question here and there you’re going to have to know other attorneys that you’re going to be able to pick up the phone um ask a question to like send an email and be able to get a response right like the same day you know like build those relationships and um allow them to share with you right the knowledge that they have about you know what it is that they’re doing like even for example right like The Mastermind that you started that I’m you know a member of right do that too because there are plenty of attorneys that have walked this road before and you know I’m a very firm believer in that there’s not you don’t have to learn everything firsthand through like personal experience you can learn from the experiences of others yeah okay well that’s what people are listening here hopefully maybe watching after the fact are hoping to get from you um so okay this is good this is really good so you actually networked with potential clients and I mean I was always scared to do some of that because of like these you know the special you can’t go solicit or post um and so I kind of hid behind this digital advertising marketing content um but I imagine entertainment law it’s in person you know a lot of that times events what are some things did you sponsor events I mean or just go hang out um at certain places how do you work with potential clients so you’re right right like about that soliciting thing I I don’t do any of that yeah I’m in the room um around people who essentially write like are my peers but I’m also a geek for the entertainment industry so I actually am very interested in what these people do so I’m going into these rooms and I’m asking them about what it is that they do and how they got started and why do they love like the facet of the entertainment industry that they love and then because of regular conversation people ask me questions about what I do and I just tell them what I do and if they’re interested in what I do then I’m like okay well this is where you can go and find that we don’t have to talk about this today and I’m not hounding you and then I walk away you know that’s very good there’s no hard stuff that’s perfect so it’s just you being curious and interested in the area of law that you’re in I guess it seems of it um that I guess that’s kind of like me I used to go to the CES Consumer Electronics Show just to go have fun go see what all the new gadgets and stuff are out there and yeah I did have it at my business cards but you’re right that was the easiest way to go is when they if they do happen to ask me what I do oh yeah I’m doing this by the way and so it’s but it’s after truly being interested and and uh you know caring about what they’re doing so yeah and to be honest I I did in what other if you have the line the lens that directly affects the clients that I already have like right and I go to like these educational um networking events where you know they’re talking about developments they’re talking about the new movies that are coming out like they’re just talking about everything that’s happening in entertainment I want to know because if I’m worth my hourly rate I better know yeah okay not just continuing legal education But continuing uh education within your your industry and and Niche that’s a big point right there um okay so you mentioned um because that’s kind of the big Lessons Learned what are some of the um ways that you are trying to grow your practice um I know that that can be something some people want to do um yeah as you kind of put the chart of the course what are some things you’re that you’re trying to do now you may be struggling with or maybe they’re having some success with when you’re trying to grow so for me personally it’s how I tackle my marketing because again I never want to fall into the realm of solicitation um but I also want people to know that I’m here and I’m available um you know like I’m taking new clients and also positioning myself as somebody who knows what they’re talking about um without giving legal advice and you know going into that realm of you know that attorney client you know like building that relationship um when I am doing things so um one of the things that I’m figuring we’re out right now is um my digital marketing um like mapping that out and what that’s going to look like um for a long time I was doing it by myself and I guess like two years really isn’t a long time but it felt like a long time yeah can I show your um website yeah yeah of course let me share a screen and it just I’ll flash it up here so people can see it and I’ll put that in the link as well but this this was recently redone right yeah this was redone in 2023. um the first two iterations of this website were not great um but it worked okay the links worked and all the information was there and you know I was proud of it because I had done it myself and I would let people know hey this is who I am this is what I do and I think that it was endearing at least for the first couple of people that were working with me because they signed up for consultations and they’re still my clients today so it works no I think it’s this looks really clean and I love it um and you’re not hiding you know with your specialty right creatives you know I like that a lot you’re looking for you know hey create creative so um I’d like to speak directly to the people that I want to work with because I think and then specifically when it comes to creatives and just like people who make things because of their love for the things that they are creating in the space that they’re in um they can be very emotionally like attached to it and I think that sometimes being a lawyer [Music] um there’s a disconnect with like you write like that empathetic side of things and then like also like the business side of things and like I I think that I do at least like my clients tell me right that I do a really good job of taking care of like their ideas and their Creations like as if they were my own or if they were like my own family members because at the end of the day like they have ported their hearts and souls into these things so like I always try to make that come across in like what my marketing is and if you want like the kind of lawyer who doesn’t care about that I’m not your girl but yeah okay so and so it is just you for now yeah okay yeah um and that keeps it really simple and my social media manager who I just got it so whatever you see on Instagram and you know on Tick Tock and stuff I just showed up and I gave like the legal information she put it together in that pretty package and she did the strategy on it so I I was I saw a couple of your tick tocks it was pretty cool very very informal style you’re just laying it out for people yeah this is your Tick Tock right though right there right that’s you cool I’ve started to do some of those as well um I think it’s it’s fun you have to try to be where your clients are exactly those newer newer platforms so let’s say the last few minutes there and talk about that even though it is a social media as a contractor how did you go about hiring that you know that how is that process free what are some lessons learned if someone’s looking to do that and they’re solo they’ve been doing the social media on their own why don’t you choose to hire someone um and those early but has it has it paid off are you what do you like about um I’ll start by answering the question that you said like um why like hire somebody like so early on um I think that when it comes to like my business but really just like any business right um the person who starts it they started because like they’re really good at this like one thing but I think that what makes a business succeed and you know what makes it live right like it doesn’t eat itself um is being able to as quickly as possible hire experts at like the different factors that go into you know like operating the business and like bringing in new business um the lawyering thing you know I have my credentials I’m saying that I’m pretty good at that um okay absolutely that’s your thing yeah but lawyering is my thing um social media strategy not so much uh graphic design not so much video editing no like I’m not good at that I think that in the early iterations of my social media that showed um and anytime like I put my name to something I really just want it to be the best version of it um and I knew that I wasn’t the person to be able to give the best version of that so I just had to I had to hire somebody and um how I chose um the social media manager that I work with now um I knew that number one I wanted a contractor because um I don’t think that my business is ready for employees yet and I think that that’s a personal decision that each like just each Law Firm will have to make for itself um just run the numbers and see what works um but a lot of research who went into looking for this person um I wanted somebody who would understand

um first and foremost me my voice um and what I’m trying to communicate to you know my Target demographic and then second understand who my Target demographic is like of course I have that information and you know like I give that to them and you know talk it out but I also wanted them to understand like how to do research on that target market and understand like how they interact with social media and which platforms are they really on like someone who really understands social media and then two I mean three somebody who would really understand that specifically like when you’re working with a law firm there are a lot of like there’s a lot of red tape that we kind of have to work around um a lot of disclaimers a lot of disclosures there’s certain things that I can’t say and you know certain things that I can’t do but then how do we get creative enough in this creative economy to still you know get the message out and still have like the right strategy so that people understand that I I do know what I’m talking about but I can’t just you know say something that is specific to like people’s situations so yeah well thank you that’s awesome and I know it’s been a stroke do you think it’s working having someone else take it sounds like that that’s the big advice the bottom line is if you found something you’re not necessarily good at or don’t enjoy look to delegate right look to hire someone what would you say is it is it so far so good it is a match made in heaven I would say it really is and I am so grateful for her she went on vacation for a week and I was flailing and I was like I need you back please come back and so she’s back now um and so you know it’s all systems go um but it’s great like she really gets it um and she also she also is like a gen Z Millennial cusp so she also understands the online speak that I’m trying to communicate and he’s it just works out just all across the board it’s really great it’s a great time good good uh okay we’re gonna wrap up the show unfortunate half hour is come to a close um who wants to get a hold of you uh we have a few live viewers here anyone that might watch this afterward can I give out your email address absolutely okay so I’ve got isara Carter Law all right I’ll share that uh so you guys are welcome to reach out to her via email if you have any questions about maybe the social media contractor she’s working with or anything with respect to writer’s Guild or the strikes going on or just starting up your own practice um my I’d be available as well so you’re welcome to email me here’s my email um and sorrow I’m so glad you’re part of my Mastermind this I I don’t I don’t have to stop here you know we get to continue on if you’re if you’re out there in an attorney practicing you want to know more about this Mastermind send me an email we may uh maybe I’ll do an interview see if you got what it takes yeah to be a part um anyway thank you so much for coming on the show it’s RL it’s been great thank you for having me JD I appreciate it all right you take care and bye everyone take care have a good day bye everyone

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at