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Jonathan Handel

Jonathan Handel

Lecturer in Law

Telephone: (323) 650-0060
699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA

Last Updated: July 27, 2020

Jonathan Handel (jhandel.com) practices transactional entertainment and technology law at TroyGould in Los Angeles and is a contributing editor for The Hollywood Reporter, where he covers entertainment labor and select other matters. He is also a former computer scientist and was involved in local politics for a decade.

Handel is the author of the 2015 book Entertainment Residuals: A Full Color Guide, which describes the union reuse/royalty payments that are common in the entertainment industry, and the 2011 book 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.

Handel is a lecturer in law at the USC Gould School of Law in Fall 2013, his second year. He has also been an adjunct professor at Southwestern Law School and UCLA Law School. Handel has previously worked as a talent lawyer; as associate counsel at the Writers Guild; and as a litigator.

Handel is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and was named by the Daily Journal as one of the top 100 lawyers in California in 2008. He has been profiled in the book, social.lawyers, by Jayne Navarre, and by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College in applied Math and Computer Science, Handel worked in the computer industry before, during and after college. He 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, MA, human rights (civil rights) ordinance; and served on the human rights commission that the law established to investigate and adjudicate discrimination claims. Handel then attended Harvard Law School, graduating cum laude in 1990, and then clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. During 1992-1993, while a litigation associate at a Los Angeles firm, he concurrently served as a federal Associate Independent Counsel (special prosecutor) investigating alleged misconduct in the Bush administration.


  • Entertainment Unions and Guilds: An Interdisciplinary Bibliography (Hollywood Analytics, 2012).
  • The New Zealand Hobbit Crisis: How Warner Bros. and the Kiwi Government Crushed an Attempt to Unionize "The Hobbit" (2012).
  • Hollywood on Strike! (Hollywood Analytics, 2011).
  • How to Write LOI's and Term Sheets (Createspace, 2009) (short book).

Book Chapter

  • "Attorneys," in Ask the Pros: Screenwriting (2004) (primary author of chapter).

Journal/Professional Articles

  • "Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown: Why Content's Kingdom is Slipping Away," 11 Vanderbilt J. Ent. & Tech L. 597 (2009).
  • "Hollywood Under Siege," 26 ABA Ent. & Sports Lawyer no. 3 10 (Fall 2008).
  • "Mark My Words: While Single-Work Titles May Not Be Federally Registered, Other Legal Strategies are Available to Protect a Movie Title," Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine  (April 2008).
  • "AFMA International Censorship Rider: Some Suggested Revisions," The AFMA Model International Licensing Agreements 2nd (February 1994) (co-author).
  • "Recent Publication," 24 Harv. C.R.-C.L.L. Rev. 611-19 (Spring 1989) (reviewing Richard Mohr, "Gays/Justice: A Study of Ethics, Society, and Law").

Popular Articles and Op-Ed Pieces

  • Numerous articles for The Hollywood Reporter on entertainment labor and other subjects (July 2010 to present).
  • "Book Review," Los Angeles Times (October 23, 2009) (review of William Patry, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars).
  • "There's a Lot of Residual Pain Ahead if Current System Isn't Remedied," The Hollywood Reporter (July 23, 2009).
  • "Copyright Enforcers Must Overcome Internet's Free Content Culture," Daily Journal (July 21, 2009) (available in slightly different form on Huffington Post as "Culture Clash on the Internet").
  • "SAG Contract is Ratified, but Drama is Likely to Return Quickly," Daily Journal (June 30, 2009).
  • "SAG Contract Ratified; Now What?," 15 Century City Lawyer no. 15 (June 2009).
  • "New-Media Distribution Giving Hollywood a Makeover," Los Angeles Business Journal (June 15, 2009).
  • "Why the Film Biz Still has Far to Go," Variety.com (June 11, 2009).
  • "The Struggle Over Content and Technology Will Define Hollywood's Future," Daily Journal (June 9, 2009).
  • "SAG's Strange Voyage," 15 Century City Lawyer no. 14 (May 2009).
  • "Actors Strike a Deal, but is a New Compensation System on the Horizon?," Daily Journal (April 7, 2009).
  • "Economy, New Media are Conspiring to Make Things Tough on Actors," Daily Journal (March 24, 2009).


  • Huffington Post - over 100 articles
  • Forbes.com
  • AlwaysOn - several dozen articles, including cross-posts from Huffington Post
  • http://www.jhandel.com - approximately 250 articles, including cross-posts from Huffington Post
  • IMDb  - automatic feed of articles from jhandel.com


The New Yorker
September 21, 2020
Re: Franita Tolson

Franita Tolson was quoted in the New Yorker about the legal challenges likely to follow the 2020 presidential election. “You will still see many claims that absentee ballots have been wrongly rejected, and those will lead to court cases," Tolson said. "The fact that we are generating lots of voting by mail will generate a lot of litigation.”


Jonathan Barnett
July, 2020

"Lessons from Luckin Coffee: The Underappreciated Risks of Variable Interest Entities," Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog, July 28, 2020.

Jonathan Barnett
July, 2020

"Big is not necessarily bad," The Hill, July 30, 2020.

Edward McCaffery
July, 2020

“The Death of the Income Tax (or, The Rise of America's Universal Wage Tax),” Indiana Law Journal  95 (2020): 1233.