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Journal of the
Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association
Volume 12, Number 1 (2012)

Slaying the Starving Artist Paradigm and Teaching Professionalism in the Entertainment Business: The Entertainment Law and Professionalism Clinic

Cheryl L. Slay
Belmont University
Introduction

    This article describes the Entertainment Law and Professionalism Clinic (hereafter “ELP Clinic” or “Clinic”1), an initiative designed to expose students to the practice of professionalism while serving their entertainment industry legal needs. The Clinic moves instruction outside the boundaries of the classroom by requiring students to exercise self-directed judgments about the use of business advisors. The first part of the article discusses general notions of professionalism and proposes a definition that may be applicable to training a corps of entertainment business professionals through a service project approach. Part two describes how the ELP Clinic, currently in use at Belmont University, was developed from my observations and student interactions as a teaching practitioner of law to: (a) serve student business and legal needs by providing cost-free legal advice; (b) teach students how, when, and whether to seek professional advisors and use the members of an advisory team; and, (c) teach and promote professionalism in the entertainment industry outside the classroom. An exhaustive study of professionalism is outside the scope of this article; rather, my objective is to examine the contours of professionalism within the framework of the Clinic, and to summarize insights from its implementation and underlying principles.

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