Friday, June 21, 2024

Record Biz: Seismic Changes Coming Back Stage as Top Lawyer Joel Katz Jumps to New Hollywood Firm


This is not small news, but it’s been buried today in other headlines.

Joel Katz, who put Atlanta law firm Greenberg Traurig on the entertainment world map decades ago, has jumped to a new firm.

Katz has joined the hugely impressive and huge firm (700 lawyers)! Barnes and Thornburg. Their entertainment practice in media and sports is already led by the highly respected Jason Karlov. But Katz’s coming aboard is going to cause waves.

It was because of Katz that Greenberg Traurig came to represent the Recording Academy. Katz also has major artists and record company chieftains as clients. I’m told all of those will be going with him to the new firm in some form. That will mean a seismic shift in the record biz.

Katz, you may recall, was responsible for rescuing record producer Dallas Austin in 2006 when Austin was jailed in Dubai. Austin was sentenced to four years in prison for possession of cocaine. It was Katz who swooped in and got Austin home.

The unassuming Katz was considering retirement when he left Greenberg Traurig a short time after a long, successful run. But he’s back in the game. Annually on Billboard’s lists of top lawyers and power players, Katz has a coterie of fans in the music biz including acts like Justin Timberlake, Little Big Town and Why Don’t We.

I like this Barnes and Thornburg, by the way. Their home page has a button to click for stories about racial justice, they are all over healthcare, COVID, and education. This should be interesting.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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