Elektra Yao is the founder and principal attorney at Yao Law Group law firm, dedicated to international and domestic artists. With a mission to serve artists and creative professionals by helping them secure artist visas, cement their brand, and monetize their artistry, Elektra Yao has successfully represented record labels, modeling agencies, production companies, individual artists, and creatives. Elektra Yao sits down with Lawyer Minds to discuss representing clients and the importance of creativity when working on a case.
Lawyer Minds: Elektra, tell me a little bit about your practice. I know you are an Artist Visa and Entertainment Lawyer in NYC. Tell me what you guys do.
Elektra Yao: We work with artists and creative professionals to help them achieve their dreams of working in the US and structuring their art as a brand. This includes filing their artist visas, artist green cards, filing trademark applications, contract drafting, and deal-making.
Lawyer Minds: What are some things you look for when first meeting with a client?
Elektra Yao: It’s important for me to really understand the client as a person. I like to really understand their short term and long term creative goals. It’s also important for me to know what their mission is as an artist.
Lawyer Minds: What are some red flags you’ve seen during client intakes?
Elektra Yao: Red flags are when potential clients are asking questions specifically about the immigration forms or the trademark application. This shows to me that they will file their case pro se (without legal representation). When this happens, I have to inform the potential client that I cannot answer specific questions about the forms as it is a legal liability for me for non-clients.
Lawyer Minds: How important is creativity when working on complex cases?
Elektra Yao: Creativity is the foundation of lawyering.
Creativity is the partner to curiosity, and it is necessary to undergo an exhaustive investigation of the facts and the client’s options. Creativity is what architects the successful out-of-the-box solutions for clients.
Lawyer Minds: What are some of the key elements of a successful case?
Elektra Yao: Client cooperation, thorough investigation, outstanding research.
Lawyer Minds: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a new practice?
Elektra Yao: Just start. Develop a network of attorneys. Utilize social media actively. Be dedicated to the journey of legal excellence.
Lawyer Minds: How do you want people to perceive your law firm?
Elektra Yao: As a leading firm that produces results for even the toughest cases.
Lawyer Minds: Did you have anyone you looked up to while growing up that helped your decision to become a lawyer?
Elektra Yao: I didn’t have a traditional path to becoming a lawyer, although my grandfather was a judge. I was always active in the arts, specifically musical theatre and filmmaking. I actually studied film in college, and I went to law school with the idea of wanting to become a producer.
As I delved into the law, I realized that there was so much more that I could do. So many more problems I could solve.
Lawyer Minds: What’s one thing we didn’t cover in this interview you’d like to share with readers who aren’t lawyers?
Elektra Yao: I think it’s important for people to understand that it’s important to always produce great work. It doesn’t matter how big or small, or prestigious the project is. Producing great work is the foundation for an excellent reputation.
We’d like to thank Elektra Yao for taking the time to speak with Lawyer Minds.