It goes without saying that John Branca, Billboard’s 2016 “Lawyer of the Year,” is the music industry’s most famous legal counselor. In fact, Branca was named the “number one music publishing lawyer in the country” by Marty Bandier, the Chairman of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Few people are aware of Branca’s broad accomplishments, social activism and entrepreneurship apart from representing famous musicians.
UCLA Is a Hub of Branca’s Community Involvement
Soon after his graduation from the UCLA School of Law, he became a legal representative for a number of well-known musicians, beginning with the pre-imminent California rock group of the 1960s, the Beach Boys. Even after he achieved notoriety, Branca never forgot his UCLA roots. He served on the Executive Committee that renovated the school’s Pauly Pavilion. Branca participated in a UCLA School of Law panel in 2019 on first amendment protections for the legacy and reputation of the deceased. In 2020, Branca was named to the Inaugural Board of Advisors for UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music.
Branca Serves on the Jackie Robinson Foundation
Beyond music, John Branca’s other great love is baseball. The nephew of Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, he grew up idolizing his uncle’s friends and famous teammates. Most notable among them was Jackie Robinson, who broke the Major League Baseball color barrier. Ingrained in Branca is the desire to achieve equality and provide equal opportunity, which is part of what made him a cutting-edge figure fostering the careers of artists like Michael Jackson. Branca serves on the Board of Directors of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Founded in 1973 by Jackie’s widow Rachel following Jackie’s death, the foundation sponsors a number of highly regarded programs. One key outreach of the foundation is providing four-year higher education scholarships for minority youth.
Branca’s Public Service Is Little Known
John Branca is also admired for his many public service contributions. He serves his undergraduate alma mater Occidental College by participating as an advisor to the Barack Obama Scholars Program. Branca is the Emeritus Chair of MusicCares, a foundation that assists those in the music industry who face personal crises such as medical, financial or addiction issues. He was also instrumental in founding Club 42, in honor of Jackie Robinson. Club 42 is actually an interracial baseball league. Thus, while John Branca is famous for his legal representation of music luminaries, behind the scenes he remains hard at work building communities of equality and representing his West Coast alma mater, UCLA.