My background is diverse and allows me to contribute to the success of many different types of entertainment and technology endeavors.

Jonathan Handel

I practice transactional enter­tainment and technology law at TroyGould in Los Angeles and independently, and am a contributing editor for The Hollywood Reporter. I'm also a former computer scientist.


I'm the author of several books, including The New Zealand Hobbit Crisis, which tells the story of an attempt to unionize actors on The Hobbit; Hollywood on Strike!, which chronicles and analyzes the Hollywood writers strike of 2007-2008 and the ensuing Screen Actors Guild stalemate that lasted through mid-2009; the forthcoming Entertainment Residuals: A Full Color Guide, which describes union reuse/royalty payments in the entertainment industry; and Entertainment Unions and Guilds: An Interdisciplinary Bibliography (345 pages).

Teaching and Prior Experience

I'm an adjunct professor at USC Law School and Southwestern Law School and am a Rutgers University non-resident research fellow. I've also been an adjunct professor at UCLA Law School. I previously worked as a talent lawyer; as associate counsel at the Writers Guild; and as a litigator at a large law firm.

Professional Recognition

I am a member of the Television Academy (the group that awards the primetime Emmys), was named by the Daily Journal as one of the top 100 lawyers in California in 2008, and am repeatedly listed as a Southern California "Super Lawyer," most recently in 2015. I've been profiled in the book social.lawyers and by the Los Angeles Business Journal (see below). I'm rated AV® Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 by Martindale-Hubbell and 9.9 out of 10 on Avvo.

Education and Background

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College in applied math and computer science, I worked in the computer industry before, during and after college. I was also involved in local politics as an elected delegate and Democratic party committee member and in gay politics; drafted and lobbied for passage of the Cambridge, Mass. human rights (civil rights) ordinance; and served on the human rights commission that the law established to investigate and adjudicate discrimination claims.

I then attended Harvard Law School, graduating cum laude in 1990, and clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. During 1992-1993, while a litigation associate at a Los Angeles firm, I concurrently served as a federal Associate Independent Counsel (special prosecutor) investigating alleged misconduct in the George H. W. Bush administration.

Writing, Commentary and Presentations

My writing has been published in/on the Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter (over 1,200 articles to date), Los Angeles Business Journal, Daily Journal, Huffington Post, Billboard, Campaigns & Elections magazine, and

I've appeared over 1,100 times as a commentator on entertainment and technology legal and business issues on/in international, national and local television, radio, print and online media, including ABC, CBS and NBC nightly news programs, Bloomberg News cable channel, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, NPR, BBC radio, local television and radio, Canadian television, wire services, The Economist, Entertainment Weekly and more.

I'm also the author of a short book for technology executives, entitled How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets. My article on trademark registration for movie titles was selected as a cover article by Los Angeles Lawyer magazine, and my law review article Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown: Why Content’s Kingdom is Slipping Away, which discusses the struggle between content and technology, appeared in the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law.

I've moderated and appeared on panels and presented seminars on the entertainment industry to professional audiences in Los Angeles, Park City (at the Sundance Film Festival), Nashville (at Vanderbilt Law School), Taiwan, and Havana. For several years, I taught a film appreciation and screening class (approximately 400 students) for UCLA Extension.


I’ve been profiled a number of times: