Mitchel Fleming: Canada’s Youngest Entertainment Lawyer Tells His Story

March 06 23:11 2023

Everyone has a dream career that they strive to achieve – a profession that drives them and pushes them to wake up in the morning. For Mitchel Fleming, that career is entertainment law.

As the youngest entertainment lawyer in Canada and currently an Associate with Hall Webber LLP, Fleming is eager to share how his immersion in music and community led him to practice law. 

Fleming has had an extensive life as a member of the entertainment world. With a deep fascination for music and a love for the creatives involved, he knew he wanted to work in a field that would intersect with music. 

“I love artists, and I think that they enrich a workspace,” says Fleming.

Fleming goes on to say that as long as he can continue practicing law and working with inspiring and driven people, he believes his work will always be fulfilling. 

“That to me is a perfect profession,” says Fleming. 

Mitchel Fleming has always known he wanted a career in the entertainment industry. Having a mother from Cape Breton and a father from Newfoundland, it came as no surprise that music was introduced to him at an early age. 

Growing up, Fleming practiced the violin. He trained classically but also enjoyed variety as he became involved with the Halifax Celtic scene. Unfortunately, a little before heading off to university, a shoulder injury would force Fleming to abandon any aspirations of playing the violin professionally.

The music, however, never stopped flowing through him, and Fleming knew there were more instruments than the violin. Seeing this as an opportunity to branch out, Fleming pursued a degree in saxophone performance and began developing  his skills with the saxophone, which he would perform in classical and modern ensembles.

“By the fourth year, you’re playing with all of your professors at the bars downtown, and you’re having opportunities that are usually reserved for lifelong professionals in larger cities,” says Fleming.

After studying music in Newfoundland, Fleming realized that performance wasn’t the path for him and that his true dream was to become an entertainment lawyer. He was eager to experience more and see where his ambition could take him. 

While preparing for his master’s auditions (just in case), Fleming wrote the LSAT in the hopes of attending law school and beginning his journey to becoming a lawyer. 

After receiving acceptance offers from numerous schools across the country, Fleming packed up his life in the Atlantic Provinces and moved to Montreal, Quebec to study law at McGill University for the next three and a half years. He was drawn to the city by the cultural opportunities and the talented professionals from whom he could learn. 

The following years would be packed with responsibilities. Fleming tried to become as involved as possible with the city’s entertainment and legal practices. With law being such a competitive field, Fleming wanted to gain all the experience he could to stand out.

“I was working with musicians and other artists at a local clinic, and I was volunteering with the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy,” says Mitchel Fleming.

To add to Fleming’s busy list of achievements, he also co-founded the company Halucenex with his father – a life science development company focused on the clinical application of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

His work with Halucenex and his background in music helped Fleming understand that life comes with uncertainties. Reality isn’t always so stable, and uncertainties arise in life. Not everything will go as planned, and Fleming extends this understanding to his clientele. Fleming believes that to help his clients succeed, he also has to become aware of their reality and work with them through the uncertainties. 

By now, there was a lot for Fleming to consider going forward with his law studies. For example, music industry entertainment law had always been something that interested him, but as is the case with most careers, as they develop, you start to discover new areas of interest that have more of a pull than you originally thought.

Sure enough, Fleming started to feel the pull towards the film and television industry. He has a passion for helping his clientele and he managed to find a home working in an industry that intersected with multiple areas of law. From film financing to artist negotiations, Fleming was happy being the lawyer that his clients needed. He also became the type of lawyer he wanted to be, and felt fulfilled. 

Mitchel Fleming’s road to becoming a lawyer truly took shape when he had the opportunity to work for Taylor, Oballa, Murray Leyland, an entertainment boutique in Toronto, and Bereskin and Parr LLP, one of Canada’s premier intellectual property firms on Bay Street. He studied under multiple lawyers who taught him the fundamentals of intellectual property law, from copyright, to trademarks, to general regulatory advertising and marketing, as well as how being an entertainment lawyer means being an entertainment professional first. Both of these professional experiences prepared him for landing a dream gig at Hall Webber LLP.

“[These firms] really endowed me with a good sense of what it means to be a responsible lawyer, someone who puts their clients first and really tries to advocate on their behalf,” says Fleming, speaking highly about the lawyers who trained him, some of whom he is still friends with today.

Michel Fleming learned that to achieve success in his field, he had to really commit himself. He wanted to share this with others also seeking a similar career in the entertainment industry.

“You really have to want it,” is the first thing Fleming wants to clarify to those looking to pursue a career in entertainment law. “It’s not easy to get that first step into the industry, and there is a lot of work to do, but hopefully you can find a champion (or multiple) in the space as I did who will help bring you into the industry”

Mitchel Fleming still has a long career ahead of him, not only as an entertainment lawyer but also as an entertainment professional. Though Fleming has since given up any hope of touring Canada with his saxophone, he remains open to the prospect of moonlighting as a film and television producer. 

Currently, Fleming continues to practice law at Hall Webber LLP in Toronto, Canada where he works in sports, media and entertainment law.

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Company Name: Hall Webber
Contact Person: Mitchel Fleming
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Country: Canada

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