Lawyer who helped with One Direction chart-topping DVD sets new course with own firm

Luke English, Founder and CEO, Luke English Media Law, pictured at Bournemouth Film School at AUB.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: November 20, 2020 | Updated: 21st November 2020

Looking back it was, perhaps, always on the cards that Luke English would one day pursue a career linked to the media and arts.

His father worked in the TV industry, including as an Executive Producer with Thames TV, the ITV weekday franchise holder for London from 1968 to 1992.

So when Luke, who studied Business Law at Bournemouth University, tried his hand at criminal law, and discovered it wasn’t for him, specialising in the media sector seemed a good option.

And so it’s proved.

Luke, 43, and now Founder and CEO of Luke English Media Law, said: “I’m something of a closet creative.

“The variety of work is amazing.

“It could be a music management agreement, record label deal or contracts involving music publishing or the theatre.

“No one day is the same and that’s what makes it fun.”

The high-profile media lawyer began his career as a Contract Manager with the BBC in 1999 before taking up the same role with The Walt Disney Company three years later.

He then moved to become Head of Business and Legal Affairs at PIAS, the international recording, licensing, distribution, sales and marketing company for independent music.

That was followed by a position at The Flying Music Company.

Luke at Capital Radio’s Big Music Project where he was a guest speaker.

Luke’s work for the theatre production and touring business included handling the legal aspects of Thriller Live, a show featuring the music of Michael Jackson.

Further posts at a London law firm and Sony Music Entertainment eventually led to Luke being lured to the South Coast.

In 2015, Luke joined Laceys Solicitors in Bournemouth.

Over the next four and a half years, he was to cement his reputation as the ‘go to’ commercial contract solicitor, especially for music, TV, film and theatre contracts.

Luke departed the law firm this year and launched Luke English Media Law in the summer.

“It’s been a quiet ambition to start up on my own.

“You’ve got to adapt and make your own future,” said Luke, who lives in Christchurch and is married with an eight-year-old daughter.

His practice, which has the tagline ‘Don’t sign a contract without dropping me a DM first’, specialises in media, tech and commercial law.

It offers a wide range of legal services including drafting, or reviewing and negotiating, agreements for the music, TV/film/theatre, book/ebooks, social media and tech/commercial sectors.

His line of business inevitably means he frequently works for some well-known artistes as well as rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in showbiz at industry events.

He admits it’s an aspect of his work he enjoys.

One of his  most memorable moments?

Luke said: “I helped to put together a DVD for the live performance of One Direction.

“They actually did the performance at the BIC in Bournemouth.

“It turned into their biggest-selling live concert DVD, selling more than a million copies and getting to No.1 in 25 countries.”

Of course, music, theatre and the live events industry have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

Luke said: “It’s been a difficult time, especially for musicians and live events.

“But some are getting round it by performing in a venue on their own with people paying to watch from the comfort of their homes.

“There is a glimmer of hope with Glastonbury planning to go-ahead next June.

“Hopefully we’ll see the return of major live events in 2021.

“As far as business goes, I may take on more solicitors and admin staff in the future.

“Media solicitors are few and far between and there are not many outside London.

“I believe I’m the only one from Bristol to Brighton.

“It means there’s plenty to be getting on with.

“And the bonus is I get to deal with amazing creative people.

“I count myself very lucky.”

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