Recording Academy Finally Hires In-House Counsel: Jennifer Jones Named Executive VP of Legal Affairs

On the day after the 2022 Grammy Awards’ move to Las Vegas was confirmed, the Recording Academy announced on Wednesday that Jennifer Jones has joined the organization as executive vice president of Legal Affairs, effective immediately. Reporting to CEO Harvey Mason jr., Jones will oversee the Academy’s day-to-day legal matters and is the advisor to the Academy’s Board of Trustees, senior Recording Academy staff, the senior leadership of its affiliates, and other areas within the organization, according to the announcement.

She will also act as the liaison between the Academy’s business units and outside counsel, and supports and facilitates these interactions to enforce the Academy’s intellectual property rights. She is responsible for managing the organization’s legal affairs department covering contract law, employment law, privacy and data protection, intellectual property, advocacy, and not-for-profit governance.

Prior to joining the Recording Academy, Jones was an attorney for 17 years at the international law firm Proskauer Rose LLP — which has long been associated with the Academy and one of whose partners, Chuck Ortner, is a top officer at the organization. At Proskauer, Jones has worked with the Recording Academy for over a decade, advising the Academy and its affiliates on a broad range of legal matters.
She holds a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and is admitted to practice in California, New York and Illinois.

The move addresses one of the few remaining criticisms against the Recording Academy that beset its problematic past few years: the absence of an in-house counsel. As Variety noted in 2020, the organization paid millions of dollars each year to outside law firms, one of which was Proskauer. However, bringing Jones in house will presumably eliminate some of those formidable outside legal fees, and it is another longstanding criticism against the Academy that Mason has addressed in the two years since he took the CEO role in January of 2020, along with the elimination of the controversial “secret” Grammy nominating committees.

“Taking a fresh look at the Academy’s legal practices and ensuring they are best in class is crucial as we continue the organization’s growth and transformation,” said Mason in a statement. “As a new and very important strategic advisor for the Academy, Jennifer will strengthen our leadership team as we push toward our goal of doing more to service our music community. We’re thrilled to welcome her to the Academy family.”

 

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