Not many lawyers have parents of their clients in their offices. But entertainment and intellectual property lawyer Chris Chow found this to be the case when four young teenagers from 5 Seconds of Summer arrived at his Alexandria office in 2012 to discuss their first management contract. Chow, 34, says one of the keys to success in his line of the law is a background in music and performance. A bass baritone who loves opera, Chow studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Performance and Music) at Macquarie University and gave himself two years post-graduation to make it in opera. “I did a season with the Australian Ballet Company in association with Opera Australia and I was probably 15 years younger than the next person,” Chow says. “I decided that if I was going to chase a career in the arts, I wanted to be the guy at the front of the stage, singing the solo, not back in the chorus – and knew that was going to be tough.” The son of a doctor and town planner/consultant, Chow, 34, tells JANE SOUTHWARD why he trained in law and what it’s like to work for musicians Ben Gillies, The Faders & George Maple, talent managers Morrissey Management & Intersection, production companies No Roles For Sam, Milkmoney Films & KEO Films and game developers such as Epiphany Games and Flat Earth Games.
My singing teacher, world class tenor Reginald Byers told me that to succeed as an artist you have to need it, not just want it. It was good advice. I travelled for a year to try to work that out and I was 23 when I decided on the law.
I came back from Europe, applied to Bond University on a Thursday, got accepted Friday, drove up Sunday and started the course in Queensland on Monday. I never looked back.
Law had always been on my agenda. When you study Creative Arts at Macquarie University, they teach you how to manage your career and encourage you to do a law subject. I loved that there was an answer but you had to be both creative and a good problem solver to find it. At school I was a mathematician and represented Barker College in the Australian Mathematics Challenge.
After Bond University I was lucky to get a job at Simpsons Solicitors. A highlight was being involved in the Kookaburra case relating to Men At Work’s song Down Under (and Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree).