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The first time Charles Ortner went to the GRAMMY Awards, he stepped out of the car with his wife into a blaze of flashbulbs; then someone hollered, “They’re nobody!” Now that he has become national legal counsel for The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., the 18,000-member association that hosts the annual GRAMMY Awards, he’s a bona fide “somebody” in the music industry. Ortner, 57, is teaming up with his longtime friend, The Recording Academy’s general counsel Joel Katz, to share legal responsibilities for the organization on a volunteer basis. Ortner is a partner at Proskauer Rose in New York, and Katz is a partner at Greenberg Traurig in Atlanta. As national legal counsel, Ortner’s job is to guide the academy’s policy and legal strategies. He will also act as a co-counsel to Katz, whose expertise lies in transactional work. Ortner, a native New Yorker, has always loved music. In the early 1980s, while he was working at the New York boutique firm of Gold, Farrell & Marks, he made his mark when he succeeded in stopping The Go-Go’s from breaking their contract with International Record Syndicate Inc. Ortner now represents people from all sides of the industry, from recording executives like Arista Records president and CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell to artists Madonna and Shania Twain. – Heather Smith

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