Two music industry insiders turned barristers form part of a new group of specialist media and entertainment lawyers at Cornwall Street Chambers in Birmingham.
The Cornwall Street Media Law Group (CMLG) is the brainchild of barristers Bruce Drummond, Nick Tarbitt and Robert Askey who aim to establish a Midland hub to provide help and advice to people in the music, media or entertainment industry. Unusually for barristers, both Mr Drummond and Mr Tarbitt both have significant direct experience of the sector.
Mr Tarbitt, who managed bands throughout the 1990s and until recently co-owned Bedford-based independent record label Integrity Records, said: “We believe that very few barristers have seen the music industry from the inside, touring the country in a battered Transit, undertaking session work throughout the night or booking a band’s first European festival appearance.
“At CMLG, we hope that our own experience at the hard end of the industry will better equip us to understand our clients’ real needs.”
Mr Drummond’s legal work draws on experience as a recording and touring artist. He released an album called Seathrough in 1979 with Midland band LA LA LAPLA and in 1980 he moved to London and recorded with blues singer and guitarist Ray Minhinnett of the Frankie Miller Band.
He went on to play with various artists including John Verity of Argent, John Gilbert of Manfred Mann and the Lazers who became T’Pau in late 1980s.
After practising as a barrister in the Birmingham for ten years, Mr Drummond left the UK in 2001 to become head of litigation for a law firm in the Caribbean and from 2003 was an assistant attorney with Fitzmaurice and Siegel in the New York and Connecticut area.
The aim of CMLG, which has its own MySpace page, is to provide specialist advice directly from barristers in all areas of entertainment law covering intellectual property such as trademarks and licensing agreements to contractual disputes and copyright issues.
Traditionally, barristers have been unable to accept instruction direct from the public but with the Bar’s new Public Access Rules, there is now no need for a solicitor to act as an intermediary in many cases.
All three barristers are qualified to carry out direct access work.
CMLG’s workload is building steadily, with members of the team having already advised and represented musicians, authors, festival organisers, playwrights, management companies and models.