Erin Austin

Hi.  I’m Erin Austin.  I have over 20 years of experience working in and for corporations in old and new media, negotiating a diverse portfolio of complex business transactions.  My job – as a lawyer and as an executive – is to deliver legal solutions that satisfy the business objectives of my clients.  I take pride in being a facilitator.  My clients know that a good business lawyer is an asset and an ally.

I earned my J.D. from Harvard Law School and my B.B.A., Magna Cum Laude, from The George Washington University.

In-house positions included:

  • Chief Operating Officer of Indomitable Entertainment
  • General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Artisan Entertainment
  • Assistant General Counsel at Warner Bros.

I started my career as a corporate and securities associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.  I am a member of the Virginia and California bars.

Click here for more information about the specific services I provide under my law practice.


I’ve been practicing law for (almost) longer than I care to admit.  People who have practiced law for over 20 years are the old guys in the corner office, right?  When I started as a first-year associate in the San Francisco office of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro (now known as Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman), Sutro was still alive, marking his wanderings through the halls with a trail of cigar smoke. Well, my hunger for the corner office at a big firm never materialized.  I was much more interested in working within the corporate beast and jumped in-house many years  ago.

As in-house counsel, general counsel, head of business affairs and eventually COO, I’ve had a lot of experience understanding the intersection between business and the law and I’ve made my name as a closer of transactions. Despite my internal reputation as an “evil genius”, the actual source of that reputed genius is simple — always stay focused on solutions, not on winning.

I’ve seen too many people and organizations focused on grabbing as much as they can.  As business professionals, our clients are our friends, our former bosses and colleagues.  It is imperative that contract negotiations be results-oriented and relationship-based, not adversarial.  I understand that business professionals have a fear of “Legal” getting involved.  I want to change that.

I see myself as a “business relationship lawyer”.  While representing my client, it is also my job to make sure that the needs of all parties are met.

I start every client discussion for a new deal by asking: “What is the most important result for you? Limit risk; get unlimited upside; retain control of the process; receive media exposure; get your foot in the door with this company; put cash in your pocket as soon as possible?” The answer is different for each client and it differs for each client from time to time. By keeping our eye on the prize, a deal can be structured or a solution can be crafted that focuses on the elements that are most important to you, gives the other side the elements that are most important to them and uses compromise for the rest.

 Click here for more information about business relationship lawyering.


I love to talk about (i) how business professionals can integrate business law essentials into their day-to-day decisions making, (ii) how knowledge-based businesses can maximize the value of their intellectual property, and (iii) relationship-focused contract negotiation strategies.   I am also available to write an article for your publication, website or blog.  Click here for more information.


Now it’s your turn to introduce yourself.  I can’t wait to meet you.