Joseph M. Hanna

Joseph M. Hanna

Partner

Practice Groups

Joseph Hanna is a commercial litigator and legal adviser who is nationally recognized for his work in media and entertainment law and for being a leading voice for diversity in the legal and business communities. Joe is Chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Practice Group and its Retail and Hospitality Practice Group, editor of the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog, and Chair of the firm’s Diversity Task Force. He is the founder and President of Bunkers in Baghdad, a nonprofit that collects and sends golf equipment to U.S. soldiers and veterans worldwide to aid in recreation and rehabilitation from injuries.

In 2015, Joe was the youngest ever to be named Lawyer of the Year in the Bar Association of Erie County’s nearly 130-year history, and multiple times he has been voted one of the top 10 attorneys in Western New York in Business First’s annual Legal Elite.

Joe dedicates his practice to serving the sports and entertainment, retail, hospitality, and commercial development industries. He represents national-league sports franchises, professional athletes, movie studios, and others in the sports and entertainment world on a wide range of high-value matters involving licensing, contracts, and day-to-day business management. Major retail and restaurant chains, global hotel and hospitality enterprises, shopping centers, property owners, and developers rely on Joe to find creative and cost-efficient resolutions to disputes with other parties, to represent them in commercial litigation, and to handle a broad array of legal and business challenges.

His media and entertainment work and his authorship of leading articles on high-profile issues in these areas — including the first truly comprehensive examination of the legal issues in the National Football League concussion litigation controversy — led the national Law360 to invite Joe onto its Sports Editorial Advisory Board and to name him a Rising Star in 2014. He was one of just over 160 lawyers under 40 in the entire country to receive the Rising Star honor, and one of only five in the Media and Entertainment category, that year.

Joe is widely recognized for his extensive work as an innovator, mentor, author, editor, and speaker on diversity and inclusion in the legal world. He has held diversity-related leadership positions in at national organizations like DRI as well as the American Bar Association, where he served for several years as Chair of the ABA Minority Trial Lawyer Committee and Editor-in-Chief of Minority Trial Lawyer. He has received accolades that include the Minority Corporate Counsel Association George B. Vashon Innovator Award and the New York State Bar Association Diversity Trailblazer Award. Joe was selected for the 2014 Fellows program by the national Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, where he now co-chairs the New York chapter for the LCLD Success in Law School Mentoring Program.

Bunkers in Baghdad, which Joe founded in 2008 and still runs as its President, has sent 7.8 million golf balls, 600,000 clubs, and messages of thanks from “Bunkers Buddies” students in 450 schools to U.S. soldiers, veterans, and wounded warriors in 60 countries.

In 2016, Joe participated in Harvard Law School's Executive Education Program, an intensive accelerated program designed to enhance leadership development in law firm partners. He graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo and cum laude from its law school. He received his Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration on Public and Nonprofit Management from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 2014. Joe graduated in the top 5 percent of his class at Syracuse.

Professional Affiliations
  • American Bar Association
    • Co-Chair, Young Lawyer Leadership Program, 2015-present
    • Chair, Minority Trial Lawyer Committee, 2012-2015
    • Editor-In-Chief, Minority Trial Lawyer, 2008-2012
    • Section of Litigation, Young Lawyer Leadership Program, 2013-2014
    • ABA Judicial Internship Opportunity Working Group, present
    • ABA Judicial Internship Opportunity Screening Committee, present
    • Young Lawyers Division: Vice Chair, Minorities in the Profession Committee, 2010
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York: President, 2011
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York Foundation, Inc.: President, 2012-2014
  • Defense Research Institute
    • Chair, 2016 Annual Meeting
    • Vice Chair, 2015 Annual Meeting
    • Marketing Chair, 2013 Annual Meeting
    • Marketing Vice-Chair, 2012 Annual Meeting
    • New York Marketing Chair, 2008, 2009 Annual Meeting
    • Atlantic Marketing Chair, 2007 Annual Meeting
    • Young Lawyer Steering Committee Representative, 2009, 2010 Annual Meeting
    • Commercial Litigation Committee: Chair, Sports and Entertainment Law SLG; Liaison to Diversity Law Committee, 2010-2013
    • Commercial Litigation Community Chair, 2013-2015
    • Young Lawyers Committee: Chair, Seminar Planning Committee, 2010; Chair, Minority Outreach Subcommittee, 2009; Liaison to Diversity Law Committee, 2006-2010
    • Diversity Committee: Chair, Outreach Subcommittee, 2006-2010
    • Construction Law Committee: Seminar Marketing Chair; Liaison to Diversity Law Committee, 2007-2012
    • Pro Bono and Public Service Committee, present
    • Issues and Advocacy Committee, present
  • Bar Association of Erie County: Judiciary Committee, 2010-2014
    • Lawyer of the Year, 2015
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Lifetime Fellow, New York State Bar Foundation
    • Leadership Development Committee, present
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority 
    • Arbitrator 
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
  •        Fellow, 2014
  •        Outreach Committee Chair, 2017
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)
  • International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Panels of Distinguished Neutrals
    • Entertainment Law 
    • Sports Law
    • New York At Large Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • General Commercial
  • Law360 Sports Editorial Board, 2016-present
  • Leadership Buffalo
  • Sports Lawyers Association 
  • USLAW Network
Honors — Legal and Community Service
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating: AV Preeminent
  • Bar Association of Erie County, Lawyer of the Year, 2015
  • New York Law Journal Rising Stars, 2015
  • Legal Service Award, Minority Bar Association of Western New York, 2014
  • Law360 Rising Star (Media and Entertainment), 2014
  • All Tournament Team and First Place Team, National Collegiate Golf Association Northeast Regional, Syracuse University, Spring 2014
  • Upstate New York Super Lawyers, Rising Stars 2013-2016
  • ABA Section of Litigation Most Dynamic Committee Award, 2013
  • Lawyers Cup Champion, Minority Corporate Counsel Association 10th Annual General Counsel Invitational Diversity Leadership Summit Golf Tournament, June 2013
  • Minority Corporate Counsel Association George B. Vashon Innovator Award, 2012
  • Value Award for Diversity, Leadership Buffalo, 2012
  • New York State Bar Association Diversity Trailblazer Award, 2012
  • National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York Legal Community Leader Award, 2012
  • American Bar Association's Section of Litigation Good Works Award, 2012
  • Business First's Legal Elite of Western New York (Commercial Litigation); Top 10, 2014 and 2015
  • Buffalo Spree Game Changers, 2012
  • Winner (with Christopher J. Belter), Minority Corporate Counsel Association 9th Annual General Counsel Invitational Diversity Leadership Summit Golf Tournament, 2012
  • Defense Research Institute's Community Service Award, 2011
  • 22nd Annual University at Buffalo Law School Students of Color Trailblazer Award, 2011
  • Daily Point of Light Award
  • 40 Under 40 Award, Business First, 2010
  • American Bar Association's Outstanding Chair for 2010
  • 2010 New York State Bar Association Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
  • The President's Volunteer Service Award, 2010
  • Fellow of the New York State Bar Foundation
  • Buffalo Niagara Human Resource Association (BNHRA) Diversity Excellence Award
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York, Inc. Community Service Award, 2009 
  • New York State Bar Association featured article of the month, “The NFL v. Cable Television: Which Heavyweight Will Be Left Standing?,” May 2008
  • Leader Spotlight, DRI's The Voice, April, 2008
  • The American Bar Association magazine General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division named “Beware of Dawg, Beware of Owner, Too” the best intellectual property article published in 2006
  • DRI's Young Lawyer of the Year Award for Outstanding Service, 2007
Recognition for Bunkers in Baghdad
  • Certificate of Appreciation, 4th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron, United States Air Force, August 2015
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Headquarters Company, 4th Marine Regiment, Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan, March 2015
  • Certificate of Appreciation, 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, United States Air Force, September 11, 2014
  • Certificate of Appreciation, 452nd Combat Support Hospital “Iron Medics”
  • Letter of Appreciation from U.S. Army General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, March 2013
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Third Infantry Division Golf Team, Combined Joint Task Force — Regional Command South, Kandahar, Afghanistan
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Task Force Patika, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment
  • Certificate of Achievement from the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion
  • Certificate of Appreciation presented by the United States Department of the Army Wounded Warrior Program
  • Certificate of Appreciation from the United States Marine Corps Battery E, 2d Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Forward) 
  • Certificate of Appreciation from the United States Marines Wing Support Squadron 373 (Forward), 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)
  • Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2)
  • Flag Flown Over Forward Operating Base Dwyer, Helmand Province of Afghanistan, by Battery E, 2d Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Forward)
  • Certificate of Appreciation from the 54th Signal Battalion, Camp Arifjan, Voice of the Desert
  • Certificate of Appreciation from the 940th Military Police Company (Combat Support), Camp Liberty, Iraq
  • American Patriot Award, Army National Guard
  • Certificate of Appreciation from the United States Army 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion Headquarters
  • Certificate of Appreciation, 2nd Battalion 11th Field Artillery Regiment
  • U.S. Marines, Operation Iraqi Freedom Shock and Awe Award of Excellence
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Task Force Troy United States Division-South 84th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion
  • Balad Air Base, Iraq, Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Support to the 332 Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Fort Leavenworth Outstanding Performance Award Presented by the Command Sergeant Major
  • Fort Jackson Garrison Commander's Award for Excellence for Outstanding Performance
  • 122nd Signal Battalion 2D Infantry Division "Voice of the Warrior" Award
  • Fort Drum 10th Mountain Division Climb to Glory Award Presented by the Commanding General for Excellence
  • Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Defending the Rule of Law Award
  • Marine Corps Recruiting Command, Commanding General's Award for Uncommon Leadership
  • United States Army 12th Psychological Operations Battalions Certificate of Appreciation
  • United States Army Freedom Team Salute Commendation
  • Certificate of Appreciation, United States Army 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion Headquarters
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Courts for the Western, Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of New York
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • Pennsylvania
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Community Involvement
  • Founder, President, Bunkers in Baghdad, Inc.
  • Chairperson, Success in the City, Diversity Networking Event
  • Board Member, Buffalo & Erie County Workforce Investment Board (WIB)
  • Member, Erie County Citizens' Budget Review Commission
  • Board of Directors, State University of New York at Buffalo Law School Alumni Association, 2012-2014
  • Guest Lecturer, Syracuse University
  • Guest Lecturer, SUNY Buffalo Law School
  • Guest Lecturer, School of Law — Loyola University, Chicago
  • Member, Leadership Buffalo (Rising Leaders — 2007)
  • Coach, Mathewson-McCarthy Babe Ruth Youth Baseball League, Amherst, New York
  • University at Buffalo, Mentoring Program
  • Speaker, Buffalo Prep
  • Board of Directors, National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York (NFJC), 2013-2014
Prior Experience
  • Law Clerk, Texas Court of Appeals and Texas District Court
Languages
  • Arabic
Education
  • Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, M.P.A., Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration, Top 5% of Class, July 2014
  • State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, J.D., cum laude, 2005
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., Middle Eastern Politics and Cultural Affairs, summa cum laude, 2002
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., Political Science, Public Affairs Concentration, summa cum laude, 2002
Publications/Presentations