Friday, September 25, 2009

Juan Saavedra...the real deal. LAW

After researching for a lawyer that would fit my needs I found Mr. Juan Saavedra. When I called his office they were so welcoming that was the first thing I liked about them, then Mr. Saavedra gave this quote “The good lawyer would not allow the client to say what they will be doing. The lawyer gives a services and that is the purpose.” (Juan Saavedra) I need someone that is there to understand and help me make the right decisions, not what I say I am going to do. He also has demonstrated total domain in the Puerto Rico judicial system. In addition he can also litigate in New York. For Enid Collazo, LLC is of big advantage because most of the companies we work for are based in New York City.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Mr. Saavedra managed to leave a small town and do his Bachelors in Yale with a mayor in Literature. His goal was to become a reporter concentrating in law this is why he went to Harvard Law where he got his Graduate degree and found his passion in life; since then he has been practicing for 27 years. After he graduated, it is a tradition in Puerto Rico, to work with a judge to learn the etiquette of the Court House. Then he moved to New York where he worked for four years at a White Shoe Law Firm, White and Case. After this experience he returned to Puerto Rico to become the lawyer of the Bank of Development of Puerto Rico for one year. This job only lasted a year because there was a change in government, he tried to find a job in the private sector, not being able to find any open position, Juan opened his own office; it has been 17 years since that day when he decided to practice on his own.
Juan Saavedra was first introduced to the entertainment community ten years ago when he had the opportunity to represent a writer that was in a legal dispute over copyright infringement. After succeeding in this case many cases of litigation in the entertainment industry came along, with this Mr. Saavedra became one of the most prominent entertainment lawyers in Puerto Rico. Now he dedicates half of his practice to litigation where he fights for copyright infringement, he claims protection for the authors. Because his goal is to make every possible move for his clients to win, he has made agreements without going to the stand. Through his career he has made contracts between artists and record labels, and recently he has re-negotiated a 30-year contract with the new owner of The Fania All Star. He is always seeking for business opportunities between artists and producers. In all these years he has learned that a good lawyer need good clients. As a client we need to read the contracts, be on top of the game, and let the lawyer use the right legal terms. It is important to remember that the lawyers will translate and interpret a juridical language to what the client wants. The client needs to be informed. The biggest liability is that the client says that they did not approve what is there, what they got as a final product. Another liability is that the subcontractor did not give their services or the money offered is not complete after the transaction is done. Mr Saavedra recalls of a case that the Artist claims that after a year or more of a cancelled concert he cannot remember if he got paid for that concert or if the money is still in the bank. Just a simple e-mail would have prevented this situation.
During this hour of a highly educated and entertaining interview Mr. Saavedra recommended ‘The Business of Music’ from his dear friend and colleague William Krasilovsky co written by Jonathan Feinstein. He encouraged me to read this book since Mr. Krasilovsky has worked many entertainment industry cases with great success. He also told me to never give up a deal because I could not get hold of my lawyer. “If the deal is worth it just take it.” Juan Saavedra. Also he said that if I need to consult my lawyer that means that there is something wrong with that deal and maybe I should not take it at all. Still believing that is always preferable to have a lawyer to revise the contracts, since a 95 percent of the litigated cases could have been solved by a well-written contract. This lawyer is a firm believer that the client is who wins or losses the case. This is why he fights harder to get good deals that would satisfy both parties. He learned this lesson the hard way when Juan represented a client that he should have negotiated an agreement in that moment and refused to do it, he did not get what he wanted for his client. After this lesson Juan Saavedra has had many shinning moments that he can call to mind, but the most precious is as he called it, ‘The Napkin Deal’ he feels honored to negotiate a contract of $10 million dollars to save a project of 150 millions. The contract was signed in a napkin in a restaurant in Old San Juan. Today this deal is The Conquistador Hotel and Resort. Juan sees that the lawyer’s job was to leave aside emotions and resolve this issue.
This really humble person has represented many Latino artists and managers. One case that I can recall that he represented Mr. Ralph Cartagena, the former manager of Gilberto Santa Rosa and El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, both sued Mr. Cartagena for copyright, royalties and breach of contract. After Juan Saavedra won the case for Ralph Cartagena, Gilberto Santa Rosa went to the Court of Appeals where Gilberto tried canceling the contract and collection of royalties for four productions that where created for Combo Records. The judges of the court of appeals understood that it was to late to claim of rights over these productions. Like these cases, Juan has represented numerous Artists and Manager’s claiming that one of his most interesting and challenging clients has been Ralph Cartagena.
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