Rachel Braun and Paul Loving discuss innovative Rimon Law model with CD Media
Read the full interview here or below.
CD MEDIA) First to Rachel, tell us about your background and what brought you to Rimon? Then to Paul?
Rachel Braun: I’ve worked in emerging markets private equity in Africa and in the aerospace and defense industry, primarily in London, Hong Kong, and Johannesburg.
When I started at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for my MBA, I also had a stint at the venture capital arm of the CIA, In-Q-Tel.
My common thread throughout has been my fascination with new frontiers and innovation. When I heard about Rimon, and the opportunity to run its operational arm, I was fascinated—no one thinks of the law when they think of innovation, but here was this brilliant evolution of the centuries-old law firm trying to materially improve the way attorneys practice law.
I didn’t realize initially that most law firms are still designed the way they have been for over 600 years, in a hierarchical guild structure.
Meanwhile at Rimon Law, the founders used 21st century tools to create a new business model designed to put the attorneys’ needs first, so they in turn could put their clients’ needs first.
Paul Loving: I’ve been practicing law for nearly 30 years. I started as a law clerk for the Oregon Supreme Court (I was the Court’s first Black law clerk), and have worked for various regional and international law firms including Davis Wright Tremaine and Holland & Knight. I’ve also held various in-house roles with emerging companies and at global brands such as Adidas and Nike.
I joined Rimon because I was very attracted to Rimon’s entrepreneurial approach to practicing law and its elimination of the counter-productive incentives and inefficiencies that are the unfortunate hallmarks of traditional law firms.
I was also excited to join a prestigious team of entertainment and sports lawyers already at the firm.
(CD MEDIA) Paul, can you tell us about your practice, the types of clients you engage with, with particular regard to entertainment, media and sport and if you could, offer a state of the legal industry as it pertains to entertainment law….
Paul Loving: I serve as a trusted advisor to my clients on all aspects of their business and resolve legal issues they face by handling their deals and disputes, or by connecting them to a subject matter expert at Rimon for legal needs that are outside my wheelhouse.
My industry focus is primarily sports, entertainment and consumer products, and this involves everything from licensing, endorsement and sponsorship agreements to day-to-day commercial agreements and advice regarding marketing and promotions.
I represent a wide variety of brands ranging from adidas to Logitech, select entertainment talent, and C-suite executives in sports, entertainment and media.
I think you have a mixed bag when you look at the entertainment law industry today – You have small groups at most large law firms (some of whom have handled just a few matters and hold themselves out as entertainment lawyers), other practitioners who are at boutique firms that specialize in entertainment law (particularly in LA and New York), and then, because entertainment law is viewed as a “sexy” practice, you unfortunately see a fair amount of ‘pretenders’ who want to be around the talent more than they want to do high-quality legal work.
(CD MEDIA) Rachel, is the rather dynamic world of entertainment law indicative of Rimon Law’s commitment to client service and innovation – What were the challenges in virtualizing the Rimon Law practice, so to speak?
Rachel Braun: Celebrities, rock stars, and unicorn startup founders don’t particularly care nowadays whether their attorneys are working from an expensive office building or from their home offices—they just want the best, results-driven attorneys they can find.
And entrepreneurial attorneys who are at the top of their field, particularly after the pandemic, have been asking why they need to be a slave to the minimum billable hour requirement, old-school hierarchical internal politics, and the operational and technological inefficiencies of traditional law firms. Rimon went cloud-based years before others, we built a tech stack that allows for our attorneys to work anywhere in the world, and we built a proprietary internal marketplace that creates an elegant and transparent way of encouraging collaboration amongst our attorneys so that we are a true “one-stop-shop” for our clients.
The hardest part about virtualizing was convincing attorneys that it is possible to have work-life balance and a high-powered career—if you work in a structure like ours, one that cuts out the inefficiencies.
At Rimon you end up working fewer hours, billing clients at more reasonable rates, and yet still making more at the end of the day.
(CD MEDIA) Paul, can you speak to trends you’re seeing in [entertainment] trademark law, IP and copyright, and the “Right of Publicity”?
Paul Loving: One of the biggest trends in entertainment law right now is legal issues around NFTs and the Metaverse. The issues related to intellectual property rights and owning and licensing these digital assets are developing and changing rapidly, so lawyers have to be creative and anticipate where the legal landscape will go next.
Another trend is the convergence of entertainment and sports law as it relates to collegiate athletes and name, image and likeness (NIL) deals. Student-athletes were once limited to non-revenue recognition for participating in college sports. Now those individuals have the ability to monetize their NIL and they are a new wave of influencers competing against “traditional” influencers and entertainers in every product and service category.
(CD MEDIA) Where do you each see the Rimon firm expanding in the years to come?
Rachel Braun: Rimon’s a global law firm with over 46 locations in 14 countries, with dozens more of our attorneys choosing to work entirely remotely. Our expertise covers practice areas ranging from venture capital to intellectual property inweb3 to international trade to media and entertainment. Not to mention our securities and capital markets practice, M&A, and financial services work, amongst others. We are continuing to expand across a wide range of practice areas because clients are now universally pushing back against wildly bloated legal fees and are seeking the kind of entrepreneurial attorneys at Rimon who become true thought partners in solving their commercial and legal issues.
The pandemic has helped liberate attorneys from the old way of practicing law. Rimon has been custom built from the ground up to help attorneys practice law the way they see fit, while still giving them all the benefits of a collaborative, international network of a fast-growing law firm.
Paul Loving: The legal industry is notoriously resistant to change. But what we all witnessed during the pandemic was the imposed adoption across the entire legal industry of practices and technologies that Rimon has successfully been using for over a decade prior to the lockdown. However, despite record-breaking profitability at large firms, just like the scorpion, big law showed its true nature and returned to its pre-pandemic practices.
Because of this, many lawyers who had success working from home have realized that they can be successful at Rimon, with far more financial upside and true autonomy over their practice.
Because of this, Rimon will continue to steadily grow by attracting the best lawyers around the world.
(CD MEDIA) Is there responsibility in brokering a culture of freedom in the legal industry?
Rachel Braun: Attorneys should have the freedom to choose how they work, where they work, and with whom they work. For a long time the hierarchical structure of traditional firms has meant build-in glass ceilings for women and people of color, it’s meant not having control over your daily life or lifestyle, and it’s meant being at the financial mercy of inefficiently run organizations.
We believe law firms should put their attorneys first, so that the attorneys can put their clients first. We refuse to believe in the false dichotomy that you have to give up a work-life balance to have a high-powered career, and the increased profitability and life satisfaction partners see when they join us proves that.
Paul Loving: Mentorship and oversight are crucial for any young lawyer. At the same time, giving lawyers the runway to develop and handle their own practices with more freedom and flexibility can be great for both the lawyers and the clients.
At the end of the day, it is about striking a balance between oversight and autonomy.
Rachel Braun has had a global business career working with and leading diverse teams in London, Hong Kong, Nairobi, Johannesburg, and Buenos Aires. Prior to Rimon, Ms. Braun obtained her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Management and Innovation from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. During her time at Wharton, Ms. Braun worked on the Investment team at In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA and national intelligence community at large.
Paul Loving is a transactional attorney who advises individuals and brands in the sports, entertainment and consumer products sectors. Mr. Loving has 29 years of extensive experience working as outside and in-house counsel for startups as well as Fortune 500 companies.