Joel A. Katz

Joel A. Katz

Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Recognized since 1989

Atlanta, Georgia

Practice Areas

Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television

Entertainment Law - Music

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2020 - Entertainment Law - Music Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2014 - Entertainment Law - Music Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2012 - Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2011 - Entertainment Law
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The world's most famous entertainers place their trust in Joel Katz to craft breakthrough deals that boost their careers, cultivate their talents and safeguard their assets. His star-studded client roster includes music industry legends from an array of genres, as well as music producers, record companies, concert promoters and corporate heavy hitters.

Joel is an energetic and influential contributor, who has played a profound role in shaping the entertainment industry, through his work in facilitating entertainment-related corporate acquisitions and mergers and consulting multi-national and multi-media entertainment companies.

Joel has been ranked Billboard magazine's number-one entertainment attorney in its 'Power 100' list of most powerful executives in the music business and has been called "the dealmaker who thinks outside the box."

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.

In honor of his work, the University of Tennessee College of Law dedicated its library in his name, the Joel A. Katz Law Library and a portion of the Northside Parkway in Atlanta as known as Joel Katz Parkway, due to his many contributions to the state of Georgia.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Joel has spearheaded philanthropic endeavors in education and in cancer research.

At the University of Georgia campus at Kennesaw State University, Joel has endowed and begun a commercial music program – one of the largest music education programs in America with over 500 students.

Contact & Links


  • 3475 Piedmont Road NE, Suite 1700
    Atlanta, GA 30305-3327


  • University of Tennessee, graduated 1969

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia, State Bar of Georgia
  • Tennessee, Tennessee Bar Association


  • American Bar Association - Member
  • Atlanta Bar Association - Member
  • Charity Partners, LLC - Board Member
  • Country Music Association - Special Counsel
  • Farm Aid Inc., Board of Directors - General Counsel and Board Member
  • Georgia Bar Association - Member
  • GRAMMY Museum, Initial Board of Directors - Board Member
  • Hunter College, Music Advisory Board - Member
  • Kiz Toys, Inc., Board of Directors - Member
  • Luxure Media Group - Board Director
  • MultiplyLive, Board of Directors - Member
  • Music Industry Representative, State of Georgia, Film, Video and Music Advisory Commission - Member
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Special Counsel
  • Royal Society for Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) - Fellow
  • Sony/ATV Music Publishing, LLC - Board Member
  • T. J. Martell Foundation, National Board of Directors - Board Member
  • Tennessee Bar Association - Member
  • The Recording Academy (NARAS) - General Counsel
  • TouchTunes, Board of Directors - Member
  • USO, Entertainment Advisory Council - Chairman

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2020 - Entertainment Law - Music Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2014 - Entertainment Law - Music Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2012 - Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2011 - Entertainment Law

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Entertainment Law - Music, Atlanta (2020)
  • Entertainment Law - Music, Atlanta (2014)
  • Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television, Atlanta (2012)
  • Entertainment Law, Atlanta (2011)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023 for work in:

  • Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television
  • Entertainment Law - Music


  • AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5
  • Investment Dealers Digest, "Deal of the Year"
  • Who's Who in the World
  • Who's Who in Georgia
  • Who's Who in Executives and Professionals
  • Who's Who in Entertainment
  • Who's Who Among Outstanding Americans
  • Who's Who in America
  • Georgia Music Hall of Fame, 1995
  • "University of Tennessee Founder's Day Medal," 1999
  • "Joel A. Katz Law Library," University of Tennessee College of Law, 1999
  • Georgia Trend magazine, "100 Most Influential Georgians," January 2002
  • "Heroes Award," Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy, 2002
  • "Spirit of Music Award," UJA Federation of New York and The Music for Youth Foundation, 2003
  • Hunter College Hall of Fame, 2003
  • Lawdragon 500, "Leading Lawyers in America," 2005
  • "Ed Ruben Award" for distinguished service and scholarship, ABA Entertainment and Sports Law, 2006
  • "Spirit of Excellence Award," T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research, 2007
  • "Outstanding Georgia Citizen," Secretary of State, The Mexican American Business Chamber, 2007
  • "Chairman of the Year" and "Business of the Year," The Mexican American Business Chamber, 2007
  • The Legal 500 United States, Media and Entertainment - Film, Music and TV, 2007-2008
  • 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
  • Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree, Hunter College, June 4, 2008
  • Bridge to Achievement Award, Hunter College, October 23, 2008
  • Benchmark Litigation Guide, one of the 40 "Litigation Stars" in Georgia, 2009
  • "Middelton-Candler Millennium Gate Prize," The National Monuments Foundation, December 5, 2009
  • "Service Award," Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI), The GRAMMY Foundation, January 29, 2010
  • "Distinguished Alumnus Award," University of Tennessee, Knoxville, September 10, 2010
  • Commitment to Education Award, ORT Atlanta, December 4, 2010
  • Variety, Dealmakers Impact Report, 2010-2011
  • ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Department’s 2011 "Atlanta Legends" Award, September 28, 2011
  • New York Times' Supplement: Georgia’s Best Lawyers, "Top Entertainment Attorney of the Year," 2011
  • Major Label News, "Most Powerful List," Music Edition - Top Entertainment Lawyer, October 2012
  • Law360 "MVP," 2012
  • Super Lawyers magazine, Georgia Super Lawyers, 2004-2013 "Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia," 2008, 2012-2013
  • The Hollywood Reporter, "Power Lawyers: Top 100 Most Influential Entertainment Lawyers in America," 2007-2013
  • Chambers USA Guide, National - Intellectual Property, 2008-2013
  • Georgia Trend magazine, "Legal Elite," 2009 and 2011-2013
  • Variety, "Legal Impact Report: 50 Game-Changing Attorneys," 2012-2013
  • Icon of the Industry Award, The Technology Association of Georgia Entertainment Society, September 19, 2013
  • AlwaysOn, Power Players in Digital Entertainment, 2013
  • Billboard magazine, "The Power 100," 2012-2014

Areas of Concentration

  • Entertainment law
  • Executive compensation agreements
  • Entertainment related corporate acquisitions and mergers
  • Consultation of multi-national and multi-media entertainment companies

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.

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