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With any litigation matter, I believe it is very important early on to discuss the desired goal with the client, and to discuss the risks.

A federal court litigator for over 40 years, Phil Kirkpatrick focuses on cases related to entertainment, intellectual property/technology, products liability and commercial matters. He is also a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31-listed general civil mediator.

With a great deal of experience handling legal issues encountered by individuals and entities in the music industry, Phil has represented artists, songwriters, producers, musicians, managers and major music groups including labels, publishers and merchandisers. He also handles copyright termination and recapture litigation, which is a fast growing and very significant practice area in a songwriter town like Nashville. As a former 7-to-midnight rock ‘n roll disc jockey and drummer in two bands, Phil draws on his own experience in the music industry to help artists and others with their legal issues.

Phil counsels clients in a broad range of commercial disputes, including restrictive covenants and numerous other contractual matters, as well as soft intellectual property (copyright and trademark) and trade secret cases. In products liability work Phil represents manufacturers, sellers and others dealing with issues stemming from fires, explosions and other accidents. In addition, Phil defends leading small appliance manufacturers, power tool manufacturers, and numerous other product manufacturers.

With his wide ranging and blended practice areas, Phil gets satisfaction from handling both litigation involving intellectual properties in the music and entertainment industries, as well as the science-driven litigation on the products liability side involving engineering, design, materials and failure analysis—more the world of linear thinkers and the scientific method.

In the community, Phil serves as an active voting member of the Country Music Association, and participated for six years as a Board of Trustees member and as General Counsel to Harding Academy, a K-8 Independent School in Nashville. Phil has also served on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Art League in Nashville.

What do I like most about practicing law? - Winning.


  • University of Tennessee College of Law, J.D., 1978
  • University of Tennessee, B.S., 1975

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee

Court Admissions

  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


  • AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers® - Commercial Litigation, Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television, Entertainment Law - Music, Litigation - Intellectual Property
  • Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year in Nashville – Entertainment Law – Motion Pictures and Television, 2021, 2024
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) Intellectual Property Litigation 2006-2019
  • “Best Lawyers in Tennessee”  Intellectual Property – Business Tennessee Magazine

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • Federal Bar Association
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Nashville Bar Association
  • Country Music Association
  • Federal Communications Bar Association
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Tennessee Art League, Board of Directors