Media, Entertainment and Media Group
When U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers created a music category last year, the first winner was the Greenberg Traurig division chaired by Joel Katz. But the attorney's heft wasn't news in his home state: Three years earlier the Georgia Department of Transportation had renamed a street in Atlanta the Joel Katz Parkway. Based in Atlanta, Katz's entertainment industry reach is global. As general counsel for the Recording Academy he negotiated the Grammy Awards' 10-year extension deal with CBS and the Country Music Assn.'s deal with ABC for its awards show. His lengthy client list includes artists like Kenny Chesney, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett and Willie Nelson, while on the corporate side he represents Clear Channel Entertainment, Anschutz Entertainment and Gibson Guitar. As co-general counsel to the Michael Jackson estate with John Branca (see No. 72), he helped strike the refinancing of Jackson's Sony/ATV Music Publishing deal and a pact with Sony for Jackson's catalog. He was co-counsel on and oversaw the sale of Evergreen Publishing. Katz is also an investor in Senzari, a new music service that offers Internet radio with personalized recommendations and a full integration with Facebook. It is scheduled to launch in late February.
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