Mr. Burns is an associate at Krooth & Altman LLP. His work focuses on providing legal counsel to clients who are active in a broad array of matters relating to the entertainment and publishing industries. The matters include music (performance, composition, recording, artist management, agency representation and publishing) and film (music synchronization, contracts). Mr. Burns assist in contract negotiations, advice and counsel as to copyright, trademark and service mark protection, and litigation. Mr. Burns is also a seasoned civil litigator and has represented clients in complex corporate litigation as well as employment disputes, including employment discrimination actions of all types, wrongful discharge, retaliation and Title VII actions, and EEOC matters. Mr. Burns has also participated in numerous mediations and alternative dispute resolution forums and advises employers on federal and state anti-discrimination laws and counsels clients on personnel practices and procedures in the workplace.

Mr. Burns is also a professor at Omega Recording Studios in Rockville, MD where he teaches music law. He is also a legal commentator and columnist. He provides commentaries on various legal topics for a variety of outlets, including MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Black Entertainment Television, Huffington Post Live, News Channel 8, WJLA and SiriusXM. John also serves as a legal correspondent for the Arise TV network and has a legal column on the Huffington Post and has published writings with

John studied Economics and International Affairs at the University of Westminster in London, England and graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts. He then received his Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

John is also substantially involved in the D.C. metropolitan community. Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, John was introduced to the importance of philanthropy and community service by his mother who is a noted pediatrician and civic leader. Early on, John developed a great appreciation for giving back. He is a passionate advocate for causes and organizations that provide mentoring to at risk youths. He serves on the Executive Board of the D.C. Chapter of 100 Black Men of America. In his capacity as Vice President, he is tasked with spearheading development initiatives within the organization and is also critical in ensuring that mentorship and community assistance is provided to young people of color, namely African American teen males, in the Washington, DC area. John is also sits on the Mid-Atlantic board of the US Fund for UNICEF and is active with the American Diabetes Association, National Association of Black Journalists, the National Bar Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Mr. Burns has been profiled in Washington Life Magazine and is a frequent lecturer and panelist discussing topics dealing with issues surrounding the law, entertainment and civic engagement.


John Burns is one of the new breed of entertainment lawyers – one that knows how to navigate this new world of the digital delivery of content. I have worked with John on several deals and found him thoroughly professional, with killer deal-making instincts and knowledge.
John is an excellent lawyer. He’s thorough, clear and generous with his time. His attention to detail helped sell my film while protecting my best interest as an artist. I highly recommend working with him.
It’s rare to find entertainment lawyers who actually take the time to figure out what you want, both in the long term and the short term. Johnathan does all this, and more–he’s a tough negotiator and knows his stuff backwards and forwards, and ultimately knows that getting the deal done well is as important as getting it done.
I really enjoyed working with John when we recently negotiated my executive producer agreement. He found creative solutions to problems, was thoughtful and tough on my behalf, and was fun to do business with. I’ll be using his services again soon, I’m sure.
I have had the pleasure of working with John on several projects over the months and I cannot say enough with regards to his professional skills, focus and integrity. I would recommend him to anyone who needs a partner more than a lawyer; someone that cares very much for his clients.
There are two types of entertainment lawyers. Those who know and those who pretend they know. John Burns knows it inside and out.
John’s turn-around is quick and thorough. He is loyal, versatile yet goal oriented when trying to find a compromising solution to move negotiations forward.