newsNews Room

Jones Walker Expands Entertainment Practice with Addition of Martinez Barbanell LLP Co-Founders
January 16, 2013

Press Release

NEW ORLEANS—Jones Walker is pleased to announce that José Martinez, Jr. and Nikki L. Barbanell have joined the firm as special counsel in the Entertainment Law Practice Group.

Mr. Martinez and Ms. Barbanell co-founded Martinez Barbanell LLP, a boutique law firm which represented distributors, investors, lenders, producers, and talent in all facets of development, production, finance, acquisition, and distribution of film, music, and entertainment. The firm represented notable motion pictures that have gone to compete in Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, and Cannes. Recent productions include The Lifeguard and Ass Backwards, premiering at Sundance 2013.

"We are thrilled to have José and Nikki join the firm. They bring with them extensive industry experience that will be of great value to clients at a time when the growth of the entertainment industry in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast is booming," says William H. Hines, Managing Partner.

Prior to joining Jones Walker, Mr. Martinez worked as special counsel for The Marshall Firm and also worked with Palm Pictures as co-founder of Arthouse Films, which distributes and produces 10 titles a year. In 2007, he became General Counsel of Maya Cinemas North America, Inc., a developer of state-of-the-art movie theaters in the State of California and the western United States. In 2008, he co-founded a mini studio dedicated to the production, acquisition, and distribution of Latino themed entertainment content and served as General Counsel, President, and Head Acquisitions. Mr. Martinez is also a founder of, an on-line entertainment news source viewed through a Hispanic lens. In addition to Mr. Martinez’s legal duties, he has also co-produced a number of motion pictures and co-founded the Santa Fe Film Festival.

"We are excited about joining Jones Walker given the firm’s prestige, resources, and growing footprint," says José Martinez. "The film industry is expanding rapidly in Louisiana, and it is the perfect time to augment the practice with our film production and distribution experience in New York and Los Angeles."

Ms. Barbanell began her legal career in the Motion Picture Legal Department of Paramount Pictures, where she worked on notable Paramount titles such as J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender. Thereafter, Ms. Barbanell was an attorney for an independent production and distribution company, where she helped produce a Sundance 2010 pick for dramatic competition.

About Jones Walker
Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère & Denègre L.L.P., with more than 375 attorneys, provides a comprehensive range of legal services to a national and international corporate client base through offices in Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Texas.