Shreepal Zala (J.D. ’22) had already found success as a musical performer and teacher. He was working full time and improving as a musician, but he still wanted more.
“I felt like I had reached some plateaus,” Zala said. “I’m at professional lawyer rates as a musician, but like many artists the nature of the job inherently makes it difficult to scale to 40 hours a week. I needed something else. So, I decided the only way to grow was to keep the high dollar work and expand towards another pursuit.”
After deciding to attend law school, Zala took a year researching schools before deciding on Georgia State College of Law. The part-time program made the choice an easy one.
“GSU’s academic reputation is really strong and it’s an amazing value compared to other schools,” Zala said.
He has since upped his course load to full-time. He has been teaching less since returning to school, but he continues to perform regularly. He also incorporated his musical background into his legal education by getting involved with the Sports and Entertainment Law Society.
Zala began his involvement with the organization first as a 1L representative before becoming the vice president of entertainment last year and the president of entertainment this year.
“I met the former SELS president Harrison Kulp my first year and we kind of hit it off,” Zala said. “I was certain early on that I would practice entertainment law since I’m already a professional musician and already have a network in the Atlanta music and film communities.”
COVID-19 restrictions have limited SELS activity since Zala took his current position. However, he has continued his efforts to grow the organization by hosting virtual interviews with various prominent attorneys in the field.
“What I enjoyed most was having one-on-one time with accomplished attorneys and professors,” Zala said. “There was a growth curve too. Technology, lighting, even hair and wardrobe decisions. If you follow them from the start, you’ll probably see how they get better with each iteration.”
In addition to continuing to perform professionally, Zala has also worked with a state representative and as an extern for Georgia Lawyers for the Arts. As for the future, Zala maintains big plans for after graduation as a lawyer, aa an educator and as a musician.
“As a lawyer, I would love to find employment under a mentor that will help me understand the in-and-outs of music publishing and licensing,” he said. “As an educator, I’m hoping to design a health and happiness curriculum to share with people that encompasses a variety of important life skills that often get overlooked. As a musician and creative, I’d really like to continue to build audience, get back to headlining songwriting venues around town, and keep building my social media which several entertainment attorneys have said is a must for practicing in the digital age.”
Written by Alex Resnak