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Fox Rothschild's Julian Petty protects entertainment royalty

Julian Petty outside his office alongside plaques of his Grammy award-winning clients.
Julian Petty outside his office alongside plaques of his Grammy award-winning clients.
photo provided by Julian Petty/Fox Rothschild

One half of the Fox Rothschild original entertainment arm sits on the shoulders of Julian Petty, protégé of Darrell Miller. The duo is responsible for evolving the entertainment practice from a two man team to now 14 attorneys worldwide, representing clients such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Ludacris and NeNe Leakes. During an era of entertainment where more artists of color are the nucleus of multi-million dollar deals, the landscape has diversified in a way that demands representation to compliment the demand. “The emergence of hip-hop has completely leveled the playing field,” Petty explains the position African-American attorneys have played in the industry, “At one time when we had Roc-A-Fella Records, Murder Inc. and Ruff Ryders Records they were selling millions & millions of records and they felt very comfortable having a high qualified black attorney.” To drive the point further, he noted the evolution of Master P being pivotal in music history and was orchestrated by Fox Rothschild partner Darrell Miller. At the beginning of his career, Master P was an independent artist and entrepreneur that most people didn’t want to talk to, let alone make deals with. However Miller saw the talent and understood him, helping Master P execute his vision, resulting in various lucrative business ventures. This marginalization of talent allowed black attorneys opportunities to sit at the table, allowing a perceived stigma in the mainstream to open doors for a niche practice in the African American entertainment market.

Proudly representing Bison blue graduating magna cum laude at Howard University, Julian Petty is comfortable creating opportunities which otherwise may have been overlooked. He started in marketing with a career at AOL managing community operations and programming within the interactive company network. This served as the framework in his ingenuity taking him global with an online network start-up company and venture capital firm in South Africa. His travels utilizing the world as his classroom, groomed a cultured power broker. Petty moved on from AOL in the midst of the Napster uproar, which resonated law, entertainment & technology as his next big move. Ahead of his time, he was able to identify creative ways for his clients to make revenue outside of record sales. His work with Darrell Miller, has taken rapper Ludacris known in the early 2000’s as Atlanta’s Grammy award-winning rapper, to movie star and now businessman with multiple revenue streams such as Soul by Ludacris headphones, Fast & Furious franchise deals, and Conjure cognac. Artists don’t have to be hot on the charts to be relevant, but can be hot in brand building & marketing to build and sustain their wealth. Petty believes artists such as Jay-Z, is the benchmark for artists in business & branding, “What is Jay doing? If Jay is getting $150mil Live Nation deals, then ‘Hey I need a Live Nation deal’ or a touring component that’s larger and not just one-off shows.” Lawyers are becoming more aggressive in putting deals together by adding clients together to package films, and other opportunities typically done by agents.

Armed with a spirit to create, Petty was known as a lyricist in the North Amityville neighborhood he was raised, in Long Island. Being from a part of town plagued with violence and drugs, the community and its offspring were destined to fall into the cycle of poverty and destitution. With childhood music aspirations, he previously worked at record labels and observed how African-American artists were poorly represented. This prompted him to enroll in Fordham University School of Law to start his journey to properly represent and protect first generation African-Americans of wealth. Upon graduating, Petty quickly realized after several interviews with firms, that no one was hired out of law school without the relationships privy by bloodline or prior large firm experience. Julian Petty’s passion and ambition led him to the next best route, cold calling for internships. Finally Londell McMillan, of The McMillan Firm, picked up the phone creating a solid foundation for Petty to garner experience working with Michael Jackson, Prince, Ciara & more. This boutique firm later merged with larger firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae becoming Dewey & LeBoeuf, a music power practice. As a founding member of the Entertainment Practice Group, Petty had an opportunity and a platform to leverage all his branding ideas for his clients and transition into television and film.

Petty’s relationships in the music industry opened doors, leading him to be a key asset negotiating on behalf of the estate of Biggie (Notorious BIG), which he brought over to a new firm Fox Rothschild under the mentorship of Darrell Miller. In his current position at Fox Rothschild, Julian Petty negotiates royalty & box office deals, intellectual law, trade secrets and fashion law. Some may view this as the pinnacle in a successful career in entertainment law, but Petty still has larger ambitions. The television and film industry is still lacking in the diversity of executives that actually green light projects. Acquisitions and distribution executives still claim that there is no demand for African-American films overseas, while music and television success is very lucrative. Petty questions the mentorship and accessibility of the current African-American studio executives to ascend decision making to take risks in domestic and international distribution. Will Packer’s success is a great benchmark for what’s expected as the industry changes. Technology and online platforms have given filmmakers new ways to create micro-niches of black content to open doors which will be “better for the country, better for viewers & better for advertisers.” He predicts international distribution and business ventures will be the new trend. Other countries have different consumption habits and structuring full tours, movie releases and apps for international micro marketing will super serve the global demand.