Billboard Magazine has tapped Joel Katz as its Lawyer of the Year. Katz’s longtime partner Bobby Rosenbloum, 48, also made Billboard’s annual roster of A-list music lawyers. They are the only Atlanta lawyers on the Billboard list, out of 61 honorees nationwide.
Katz, 73, chairs Greenberg Traurig’s global entertainment and media practice. He merged his entertainment boutique with Greenberg to start its Atlanta office in 1998.
Rosenbloum, a Daily Report On the Rise pick in 2004 (who revealed then that his favorite musician was Billy Joel), represents artists, labels and digital music providers in IP as well as transactional matters.
Katz got into the music business in 1971 when he negotiated a contract for James Brown with Polygram, and he hasn’t slowed down since.
According to the Billboard story, Katz spends 10 hours a day on the phone and about half his time on the road. Last year that included trips to China, Russia and Gabon, in addition to the more obvious music hotspots of New York, Los Angeles and Nashville. He’s advising the Gabonese Republic on the African Music Institute it’s building with Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
Katz handled a couple of giant deals last year, in addition to numerous new contracts for artists and executives. He negotiated a $600 million pact for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, a longtime client, to keep the Grammy Awards and other shows on CBS, according to Billboard.
Katz was also corporate music counsel for Michael Jackson’s estate, advising co-executors John Branca of Ziffren Brittenham in Los Angeles and music producer John McClain in a $750 million deal to sell its 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing to Sony Corp.