My Professional Profile

I am a transactional business attorney.  During my 20-plus-year legal career, I have negotiated and drafted thousands (literally) of technology and entertainment industry contracts. I enjoy actively working with clients as they establish business relationships and complete projects that are consistent with their long-term objectives.

Primary Practice Areas

Most of my work for clients falls into the following areas:

TECHNOLOGY TRANSACTIONS. I help cloud service providers, software developers, and digital companies with a wide range of contracts. My work has included representing clients finalize enterprise agreements with financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, and foreign-based companies.

ENTERTAINMENT TRANSACTIONS. I help clients protect their rights and structure successful projects in music, film, television, book publishing, internet ventures, and new media. My services for entertainment clients have included negotiations with ABC affiliates, BET, Clear Channel, the Cutting Corporation, Discovery, NBC affiliates, Orchard Music, Touchstone Television, and Twentieth Television (Fox/MY Network).

COPYRIGHTS, PERMISSIONS, AND RIGHTS CLEARANCE. I advise clients on the permitted use of copyrighted and other protected material (e.g., music, quotes, celebrity names); conduct pre-publication reviews; and render opinions for acquisition, distribution, and insurance purposes. My reference book on rights clearance, The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through the Legal Jungle, has been incorporated into college media programs and used as a resource by Library of Congress professionals.

LICENSING. I negotiate and prepare inbound and outbound licensing agreements for just about everything that can be licensed including software, mobile apps, international television programming, music, performance rights to theatrical productions, film clips, and ecommerce databases.

CONTESTS, SWEEPSTAKES, AND PROMOTIONS. I assist clients with all aspects of contests, sweepstakes, influencer marketing, spokesperson arrangements, and other promotions. I am the author of Contests and Sweepstakes Law: A Guide Through the Legal Jungle Practice Manual.

Books, Publications, and Media Commentary

I regularly contribute analysis on entertainment, digital technology, and business issues as a book author, journalist resource, and blogger (though currently on hiatus after 300+ blog posts). My published books cover copyright clearance, internet law, promotion law, and music law. Trade publications that have quoted me include The New York Times, The Washington Post, Billboard Magazine, IT Tech News Daily, Forbes, Licensing Journal, and Inc Magazine.

Legal Education and Bar Memberships

I received my law degree from Harvard Law School, and my undergraduate degree from Harvard College where my concentration was Economics. I am licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Past Legal Affiliations

Prior to opening my solo law practice, I worked as a business and finance attorney at Reed Smith and as a transactional media and entertainment attorney at a boutique Washington, DC law firm.

Feedback & Reviews

for the Law Office of Joy R. Butler

“Joy Butler is the patient and precise attorney every creative filmmaker needs. She understands business formation and media industry needs and will patiently guide her clients through the process of forming a production company and writing and negotiating contracts. I have recommended her to other filmmakers for years!”

Carolyn McCulley

Citygate Films

“Joy, It was great to have your help with ATX Television Festival’s contests and sponsorships. We so appreciate your speed and attention to detail. It worked out great! We will absolutely return if/when we have the need, as we very much enjoyed working with you.”

Emily Gipson and Caitlin McFarland

Co-Executive Directors & Founders
      ATX Television Festival

“Joy helped me get my business up and running. Her wisdom about the law, and ability to pose practical questions provided me with opportunities to increase the effectiveness of my services as well as the bottom line of my business. Joy is always thorough, direct, and friendly. I highly recommend her services.”

Danielle Glosser

Founder and Principal
Client Raiser
Bringing business to artists

Why Work with Joy Butler

For Expertise, Value, and Priority


I am a solutions-oriented transactional attorney. One of my strengths is explaining complicated legal issues in terms that are understandable and framed within the context of your specific business circumstances.


Mine is not a quantity or volume practice. I focus on clients to whom I can provide the most benefit. Typically, I have no more than four to six active matters at any given time. That makes it easy for every client to be a top law firm priority.


My rates are market competitive. I strive to provide predictability so that my clients are never unpleasantly surprised by an invoice. I have the flexibility to offer the billing arrangement that works best for your business and project. In addition to traditional hourly rates, billing methods I offer include a flat fee for a specific project, a monthly retainer, and discounts for a quantity purchase of hours.

Need Advice?

Let’s talk about how I can help you with your business.