Power Lawyers 2014: Six Attorneys Who Orchestrate Music's Biggest Deals

8:30 AM PST 04/30/2014 by Roy Trakin
Illustration by: Running for Crayons

They don't sing or dance, but these six power lawyers make the industry hum.

This story first appeared in the May 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

JOHN BRANCA, Ziffren Brittenham
UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

Branca started out playing guitar for The Other Half, a ’60s psychedelic rock band that has opened for The Doors. Since hanging up his Stratocaster, he’s done everything from handling Michael Jackson’s estate to masterminding Sony’s $2.2 billion acquisition of EMI. If he were a rock star, he’d be: lead guitarist.

JOHN T. FRANKENHEIMER, Loeb & Loeb
UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

Always on the cutting edge of music-transforming technology, his recent accomplishments include representing the sale of Warner Music to Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries and securing Glassnote Records (Mumford & Sons, Phoenix) a global distribution deal. If he were a rock star, he’d be: a DJ.

LIST: 2014 Power Lawyers

KENNY MEISELAS, Grubman Indursky Shire & Meiselas
HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

He has a knack for transforming musical artists into multimedia superstars, securing a role for Sean Combs in the film Draft Day and bringing Nicki Minaj to American Idol. Other clients include: Lady Gaga, Usher, Kesha, Mary J. Blige, Afrojack and Avicii. If he were a rock star, he’d be: lead vocalist.

DON PASSMAN, Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

He literally wrote the book on the industry: All You Need to Know About the Music Business, now in its eighth printing. But when he’s not writing, the Los Angeles-based Passman also practices law, securing mega-deals for the likes of Adele, Pink and Mariah Carey. If he were a rock star, he’d be: group lyricist.

L. LEE PHILLIPS, Manatt Phelps & Phillips
CORNELL LAW SCHOOL

He’s represented some of the toughest clients in the business, including Barbra Streisand, Brian Wilson, Neil Young and The Eagles. “When it comes to artistic temperament, Lee has been the voice of reason and solution,” says client Steve Perry, singing his praises. If he were a rock star, he’d be: a drummer.

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BOBBY ROSENBLOUM, Greenberg Traurig
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

This Atlanta-based copyright lawyer specializing in digital technology represents Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and other tech companies that negotiate licensing deals with music labels. In other words, he turns computer files into music ... and music into money. If he were a rock star, he’d be: on synthesizer. 

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