Artist Representation Overview
Shames & Litwin prides itself in providing client-centered cost effective artist representation, including contract negotiation, for the following practice areas:
  1. Music
    We know the music industry. The firm helps to shape and maintain the careers of recording artists, producers, record and publishing companies and executives, managers, production companies, publishers, and songwriters in the music business. We draft and negotiate recording, publishing, producer, management, distribution, touring, merchandising, corporate sponsorship, licensing, and Internet Agreements. We consult with artists as well as record and publishing companies regarding their financing, entertainment and Internet strategies and the protection of their intellectual property rights.
  2. Motion Pictures and Television
    We provide legal advice to actors, writers, directors, producers, managers, agents, on-air talent, production companies, financing and distribution companies, networks and studios in the film, television, cable and interactive media sectors. From the drafting and negotiating performer, writer and producer Agreements as well as television and film financing, including obtaining Massachusetts film tax credits and distribution Agreements to complex financing and revenue-sharing cross-discipline license Agreements.
  3. Media
    We have wide-ranging experience in the media industry. Our experience in this area spans an array of issues including acquisitions and financings; broadcast network, cable and other television distribution Agreements; and all phases of creation, operation, and financing of media businesses and Internet-based entertainment ventures.
  4. Branded Entertainment
    Our branded media practice focuses on the growing use of advertising and sponsor-funded productions to integrate brands into productions. This part of our practice brings together brand managers and marketing and promotions executives with talent and creative decision makers at the studio level to collaborate in creating television and film properties, as well as endorsement and sponsorship opportunities.
  5. Publishing
    Our intellectual property lawyers have many years of experience representing clients in both traditional print and online/new media publishing. We are currently advising on structuring entertainment financing for various film projects, especially multi-film slates, and Massachusetts film tax credits. The firm's partners have taught entertainment law in Boston at Emerson College and Berklee College of Music.
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Shames & Litwin


1988‑Present PRIVATE LAW PRACTICE, Boston & Chatham, MA
Partner, Shames & Litwin. Entertainment law practice involving the negotiation and drafting of a myriad of contracts utilized by a broad range of clients in the industries of music, film, TV, media, video, publishing and photography; including copyright registration, copyright infringement, corporate and business related matters, employment contracts, production contracts, content licensing, commercial endorsements and merchandising deals. Representation of professional NFL, NBA and MLB players in a variety of matters. Representation of music clients include artists signed to major and independent labels, managers, producers, record labels and production companies. Representation of filmmakers, producers and writers. Practice also involves representing general corporate business clients.

1985‑1987 BOB WOOLF ASSOCIATES, Boston, MA
Attorney. Worked with Bob Woolf negotiating and drafting a variety of contracts for sports, entertainment and media celebrities. Experience included employment contracts, endorsements, publishing, TV, film and music along with financial management, tax planning and real estate.

Staff Attorney to the Justices. Reviewed cases filed in Appeals Court. Recommended cases for sua sponte direct review by Supreme Judicial Court. Prepared bench memoranda, draft opinions and case summaries.

Judicial Law Clerk. Prepared draft decisions, memoranda and proposed jury instructions for the Justices.

1980 HALE AND DORR, Boston, MA
Litigation paralegal. Researched and wrote memoranda. Prepared legal documents.


1990 ‑ 1996   BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC, Boston, MA
Assistant Professor. 
Taught Entertainment Law and Contracts course in the Music Production and Engineering Department. This upper level course
examined all legal aspects of the music industry and required prerequisite courses for admission.

1995 - 1997 EMERSON COLLEGE, Boston, MA
Adjunct Professor.
Taught broad based Entertainment Law Course covering the industries of film, music, television and video.

American Arbitration Association, Boston, MA Commercial Arbitrator. Arbitrated cases involving entertainment, publishing 1991 - 1998 and real estate law disputes.

Founder and Past Chairman, Sports & Entertainment Committee, Boston Bar Association; Steering Committee, Corporate & Business Law; Member of Massachusetts Real Estate Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association and Boston Bar Association.

Comment, "Indefinite Detention of Excluded Aliens ‑ No Longer Indefinite, Rodriquez‑Fernandez v. Wilkinson", Suffolk Transnational Law Journal, Volume VI, No. 2, June, 1983.

Article, "Negotiating Media Contracts: Personal Service Contracts for On‑Air Talent", Boston Bar Journal, Volume 31, No. 4, July/August 1987.

Listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, 59th Edition 2005 through current 70th Edition 2016; Who's Who in Entertainment, 1st Edition 1989‑1990 through 3rd Edition 1998-1999; Who’s Who in American Law, 13th Edition 2003-2004 through 15th Edition 2007-2008; Who's Who in the World, 21st Edition 2004 through 26th Edition 2009; Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders
4th Edition 1993-1994.

Legal   SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL, Boston, MA; Juris Doctor, cum laude, June 1983.

Academic Honors:
Deans List, 1982‑83
Suffolk Transnational Law Journal:
Lead Article Editor, Volume VII, 1982‑83
Staff Member, Volume VI, 1981‑82

Undergraduate UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, Madison, WI; B.A. Degree with Honors, 1977.
Boston Office:
Shames & Litwin
667 Boylston Street, 5th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts  02116
Telephone: 617- 921-3447
Cape Cod Office:
Shames & Litwin
47 George Ryder Road
Chatham, Massachusetts 02633
Telephone: 508-945-3200
Facsimile:   508-945-3201


Telephone: 671-236-0176

 Joel Shames is a partner of Shames & Litwin. He represents individual and corporate clients in the film, music and entertainment industries, along with clients in commercial and residential real estate, and clients using technology and intellectual property. He has over thirty years experience in these fields. He has taught entertainment law at Emerson College, and lectured at Northeastern University School of Law, the Boston Bar Association, and continuing legal education seminars on contract law and entertainment law.