About Jazz Age Lawyer

Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer is the lively story of legal giant Nathan Burkan, whose career encapsulated the coming of age of the institutions, archetypes, and attitudes that define American popular culture. With a client list that included Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson, Frank Costello, Victor Herbert, Mae West, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, Arnold Rothstein, and Samuel Goldwyn, Burkan was “New York’s Spotlight Lawyer” for more than three decades.

About Gary

“A born storyteller.”
—Peter Jaszi

“Leavens legal history with showbiz anecdote, and insight with amusement.”
—Ken Emerson

“I don’t know of anyone who writes about popular music more knowledgeably, penetratingly, and elegantly.”
—Ben Yagoda

Latest Blog Post


Charlie Chaplin’s films represented only a small fraction of the commerce being transacted in his name, image, and antics during the World War I era. Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer recounts how Chaplin’s lawyer, Nathan Burkan, chased down spurious Chaplin films that he considered “vulgar, suggestive, and obscene.”  …

Also by Gary

Unfair to Genius is an enlightening and entertaining romp through 60 tumultuous years of legal, artistic, and economic change in the American popular music industry, as seen through the lens of one of its most prolific copyright litigants and legendary outsiders, Ira B. Arnstein.