Joel A. Katz LinkedIn

Attorney in Atlanta, GA

Joel Katz, former Chairman of the American Bar Association's Entertainment & Sports Law Section, is widely recognized as a leader in the field of entertainment law. His clients include some of the world's most well-known entertainers, music producers, record companies, concert promoters and Fortune 500 companies. More than 30 years ago, Joel founded Katz, Smith & Cohen, which became one of the country's largest music entertainment law firms. In 1998, Katz merged his practice with Greenberg Traurig.

Areas of Concentration

· Entertainment law

· Executive compensation agreements

· Entertainment related corporate acquisitions and mergers

· Consultation of multi-national and multi-media entertainment companies

Professional & Community Involvement

· Member, Georgia, Tennessee, American, and Atlanta Bar Associations

· Member, Selection Board of Advisors, 2014 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, 2013-2014

· Board Director, Luxure Media Group, 2012-Present

· Board of Directors, MultiplyLive, 2012-Present

· Member, Music Advisory Board, Hunter College, 2011-Present

· Chairman, USO Entertainment Advisory Council, 2010-Present

· Board of Directors, Kiz Toys, Inc., 2010-Present

· Board Member, Charity Partners, LLC, 2009-Present

· Member, Southern Region Board of Directors, T. J. Martell Foundation, 2009-Present

· Board of Directors, TouchTunes, 2009-Present

· Member, Board of Representatives, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, LLC, Appointed by Michael Jackson and confirmed by The Estate, 2009-Present

· Member, Initial Board of Directors, GRAMMY Museum, 2008-Present

· Special Counsel, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2006-Present

· Royal Society for Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA), 2005-Present (fellow)

· Music Industry Representative, State of Georgia, Film, Video and Music Advisory Commission, Appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue, 2004-Present

· General Counsel, The Recording Academy (NARAS), 2003-Present

· Special Counsel, Country Music Association, 1998-Present

· General Counsel and Member of Board of Directors, Farm Aid Inc., 1985-Present

· Board of Directors, Digital College Network, 2010-2012

· Donor, Launch of Entertainment and Music Management Certificate Program, Kennesaw State University, June 2010

· Chairman, Abu Dhabi Investment House "ENTERTAINMENT CITY" Advisory Board, 2008-2010

· Chairman, Abu Dhabi Investment House "FASHION CITY - PORTA MODA" Advisory Board, 2008-2010

· Board of Directors, Evergreen Copyrights Acquisitions, LLC, 2005-2010

· Board Member, International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, 2006-2008

· Board of Directors, Natrol, Inc., 2006-2008

· Board of Directors, WhiteFence, 2005-2008

· Board of Governors, The Buckhead Club, 2004-2008

· Board Advisory of Directors, The Yellowstone Club, 2004-2008

· Advisory Council, Otis Redding Big "O" Youth Educational Dream Foundation, 2007

· Vice Chairman, Baldwin Piano Corporation, 2005-2007

· Vice Chairman, Gibson Foundation, 2003-2007

· Board of Directors, Gibson Foundation, 2000-2007

· Board of Directors, Gibson Guitar Corp., 2000-2007

· Advisory Board, Very Special Arts, 1994-2005

· Chairman, Board of Advisors - America's Junior Miss, 2000-2004

· Advisory Board of Directors, T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia Research, 1995-2003

· Former Executive Entertainment Counsel, The Recording Academy (NARAS), 2000-2002

· Chairman, American Bar Association's Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries, 2000-2001

· Founding Chairman, Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI) (NARAS), 1998-1999

· Board of Directors, State of Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority, 1994-1999

· Board of Directors, Entertainment & Finance Law Journal, 1995-1999

· Chairman Emeritus, The Recording Academy (NARAS), 1997-1998

· Chairman of the Board of Advisors, Georgia State University, Commercial Music Program, College of Arts & Sciences, 1995-1997

· Board of Advisors, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, 1996

· National Chairman, The Recording Academy (NARAS), 1995-1996

· Board of Trustees, NARAS Foundation, 1995-1996

· Board of Directors, Very Special Arts, 1991-1994

· Advisory Board, Atlanta Songwriters Association, 1992

· Member and Chairman, State Bar of Georgia's Entertainment & Sports Law Section, 1992

· Advisory Council, The Music Educators National Conference

· Advisory Board, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, 1991

Awards & Recognition

· Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television; Entertainment Law - Music, 1989-2014
- "Lawyer of the Year," Entertainment Law - Music, Atlanta, 2014

· Selected, AlwaysOn Power Players in Digital Entertainment, 2013

· Recipient, TAG 2013 "Icon of the Industry" Award, The Technology Association of Georgia Entertainment Society, September 19, 2013

· Named, Billboard magazine, "The Power 100," 2012-2013

· Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Georgia Super Lawyers, 2004-2013
- "Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia," 2008, 2012-2013

· Listed, Variety, "Legal Impact Report: 50 Game-Changing Attorneys," 2012-2013

· Listed, Chambers USA Guide, National - Intellectual Property, 2008-2013

· Named, The Hollywood Reporter, "Power Lawyers: Top 100 Most Influential Entertainment Lawyers in America," 2007-2013

· Listed, Major Label News, "Most Powerful List" Music Edition - Top Entertainment Lawyer, October 2012

· Selected, a Law360 "MVP," 2012

· Listed, Georgia Trend magazine, "Legal Elite," 2009, 2011-2012

· Named, U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Law Firm of the Year," Entertainment Law - Music, 2011-2012

· Recipient, ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Department's 2011 "Atlanta Legends" Award, September 28, 2011

· Listed, New York Times' Supplement: Georgia's Best Lawyers, "Top Entertainment Attorney of the Year," 2011

· Recipient, Commitment to Education Award, ORT Atlanta, December 4, 2010

· Listed, Variety, Dealmakers Impact Report, 2010-2011

· Recipient, "Distinguished Alumnus Award," University of Tennessee, Knoxville, September 10, 2010

· Recipient, "Service Award," Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI), The GRAMMY Foundation, January 29, 2010

· Recipient, "Middelton-Candler Millennium Gate Prize," The National Monuments Foundation, December 5, 2009

· Selected, Benchmark Litigation Guide, One of the Forty "Litigation Stars" in Georgia, 2009

· Recipient, "Bridge to Achievement Award," Hunter College, October 23, 2008

· Recipient, "Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree," Hunter College, June 4, 2008

· Dedication, Governor Sonny Perdue renamed a portion of Northside Parkway in Atlanta as JOEL KATZ PARKWAY in recognition of his many contributions to the State of Georgia, May 2008

· Listed, The Legal 500 United States, an internationally recognized client referral guide providing in-depth editorial and recommendations of law firms and lawyers. Recommended for Media and Entertainment - Film, Music and TV, 2007-2008

· Recipient, "Chairman of the Year" and "Business of the Year," The Mexican American Business Chamber, 2007

· Recipient, "Outstanding Georgia Citizen", presented by the Secretary of State, The Mexican American Business Chamber, 2007

· Recipient, "Spirit of Excellence Award," T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research, 2007

· Recipient, "Ed Ruben Award" for distinguished service and scholarship, ABA Entertainment and Sports Law, 2006

· Listed, Who's Who In The World

· Listed, Who's Who in Entertainment

· Listed, Who's Who in America

· Listed, Who's Who in Executives and Professionals

· Listed, Who's Who in Georgia

· Listed, Who's Who Among Outstanding Americans

· Team Leader, "Deal of the Year," Investment Dealers Digest

· Listed, Lawdragon 500, "Leading Lawyers in America," 2005

· Recipient, "Spirit of Music Award," UJA Federation of New York and The Music for Youth Foundation, 2003

· Inducted, Hunter College Hall of Fame, 2003

· Recipient, "Heroes Award," Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy, 2002

· Named, Georgia Trend magazine, "100 Most Influential Georgians," January 2002

· Recipient, "University of Tennessee Founder's Day Medal," 1999

· Dedication, "Joel A. Katz Law Library," University of Tennessee College of Law, 1999

· Inducted, Georgia Music Hall of Fame, 1995

· Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5

Professional Experience

Significant Representations

· Negotiated significant television awards show multi-year contracts for national non-profit entertainment companies (The Recording Academy, Country Music Association and Latin Recording Academy).

· Negotiated "Grammy CD" compilation arrangement between "Big 3" record companies and The Recording Academy.

· Negotiated complex financial arrangements between music superstars and recording companies.

· Organized the USO - Entertainment Advisory Council and is the first Chairman.

Previous Employment

· Founder, Katz, Smith & Cohen, 1981-1998

· Senior Partner, Galkin, Katz & Tye, 1971-1981

· Lawyer, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 1969-1971

· Law Clerk, Medium-sized Atlanta law firm, 1969-1971

· Law Professor, Georgia State University, 1969-1971

Publications & Presentations

Articles, Lectures & Publications

Joel is an active participant at industry events, having served as a speaker or panelist at The Recording Academy's "Grammy in the Schools Program," the Atlanta Downtown Partnership's "Music Industry Symposium," as well as various lectures and panels for the Entertainment and Sports Industry Forum of the ABA and the Entertainment and Sports Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. Joel has also authored and co-authored many articles and commentary on various topics concerning entertainment law.


· Featured, "MUSIC MAN Buckhead's Katz is one of nation's top entertainment lawyers," Northside Neighbor magazine, October 2012

· Featured, "Joel Katz: Strategist to the Stars," Southern Seasons magazine, Fall 2012

· Featured, "A Tale of Two CEOs," Men's Book Atlanta magazine, Fall 2012

· Featured, "Serving the Stars with Class and Conviction," Attorney At Law magazine, Metro Atlanta Edition, August 2012

Speaking Engagements

· Panelist, "Making Magic Happen - Talent in the World of the Internet and Social Media," University of Tennessee Law School Entertainment Law Conference: Metamorphosis - How Technology is Reshaping Entertainment, Knoxville, TN, March 31, 2012

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Peer Rating 5.0 of 5

Areas of Law

  • Global Entertainment and Media


    Peer Rating


    Overall Peer Rating

    5.0 out of 5.0
    • Meets very high criteria of general ethical standards
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    Experience & Credentials


    Atlanta Founding Shareholder; Atlanta Co-Managing Shareholder Emeritus; Chair, Global Entertainment and Media Practice

    Admission Details

    Admitted in 1969, Tennessee
    1971, Georgia

    Credit Cards Accepted
    American Express
    Law School Attended

    University of Tennessee College of Law
    Class of 1969

    University Attended

    City University of New York at Hunter College
    Class of 1966

    City University of New York at Hunter College
    Class of 2008
    Honorary Doctorate

    Birth Information

    Born in 1944
    May 27, 1944

    Associations & Memberships

    Tennessee, American and Atlanta Bar Associations; State Bar of Georgia (Member and Chairman, Entertainment & Sports Law Section, 1992).

    Contact Information






    Send email to Joel A. Katz

    Office Information
    Joel A. Katz
    Atlanta Founding Shareholder; Atlanta Co-Managing Shareholder Emeritus; Chair, Global Entertainment and Media Practice
    Terminus 200 3333 Piedmont Road NE, Suite 2500,
    Atlanta, GA 30305


    Greenberg Traurig, LLP (Atlanta, Georgia)

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