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Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) will deliver the keynote address at the 12th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon & Scholarship Presentation on Jan. 29 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., it was announced today by the GRAMMY Foundation.
Joel A. Katz, distinguished entertainment attorney and chair of global entertainment, media & sports practice for Greenberg Traurig, will be the recipient of the 2010 Service Award at this year's ELI Luncheon. The Service Award was established in 2006 to recognize contributions by prominent entertainment attorneys that include outstanding service to individuals (pro bono or otherwise); leadership and participation with organizations that help advance the music community; and work to affect positive change that benefits the community overall. Past honorees include David Braun, Jay L. Cooper, Paul G. Marshall, and Al Schlesinger.
"For the past 12 years, the GRAMMY Foundation's Entertainment Law Initiative has provided the nation's top law students with a valuable forum for research, discussion and debate," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. "ELI brings together the legal leaders of tomorrow with experienced entertainment practitioners, and it fosters the kind of reflection and dialogue that generate critical insights into our evolving musical landscape. Within this context, it is truly an honor to have our esteemed Senator Boxer as keynote speaker, and we are looking forward to hearing her perspectives on issues critical to the music industry. It is also fitting that we will be honoring our good friend Joel Katz with the Service Award this year. This honor is awarded annually to an attorney who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service, and Joel has been both tireless and exemplary in his work on behalf of our industry."
A forceful advocate for families, children, consumers, the environment, and the state of California, Boxer became a U.S. senator in January 1993 after 10 years of service in the House of Representatives and six years on the Marin County Board of Supervisors. Elected to a third term in 2004, she received more than 6.9 million votes, the highest total for any senatorial candidate in American history. A champion for intellectual property, Boxer clearly understands the importance of the entertainment industry to California's economy and cultural leadership. She has been a leader in fighting for protection of intellectual property in her state, in the United States and worldwide.
Katz, who serves as general counsel in a pro bono capacity for The Recording Academy and formerly served as the organization's Chairman from 1995–1997, is widely recognized as a leader in the field of entertainment law. In order to help foster dialog and representation between the legal community and The Recording Academy, Katz led the effort to create the ELI program in 1998. He served as the ELI Executive Committee's first chairman, and remains an active committee member. 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, he 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, which is now regarded as the world's largest entertainment law practice.
ELI has three main components: the Essay Competition, a GRAMMY Week ELI Luncheon featuring a prominent keynote speaker, and a Legal Seminar Series. The ELI Essay Competition invites law students to write a 3,000-word paper on a compelling legal topic facing the music industry today. Past award-winning topics have featured issues germane and timely to the music industry including bootlegging, music sampling and litigation against peer-to-peer network users. The contest culminates with the winning student authors discussing their essays in a question-and-answer presentation at the prestigious ELI Luncheon. Past luncheon keynote speakers have included Edgar Bronfman Jr., chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group; Clive Davis, chief creative officer of BMG North America; Timothy J. Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG; and Strauss Zelnick, former president and CEO of BMG Entertainment, among others.
Once again, this year the Foundation added ELI Essay Competition workshops at prominent law schools around the country with the goal of helping students with their essays. ELI also continued its partnership this year with Box.net to allow students to upload their submissions directly over the Internet. Box.net's mission is to make it easy for individuals and businesses to access, manage and share all their content online.
The ELI Luncheon is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week, a celebration that will culminate with the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Jan. 31 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. For GRAMMY coverage, updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.