Since graduating from Davidson College in 1978, Bertis Downs has lived in Athens, Georgia, where he received his law degree in 1981 from the University of Georgia’s School of Law. He represented the band R.E.M. throughout the band’s storied thirty year career and continues on as advisor to their various endeavors since disbandment in 2011.
In 1988 Downs originated the Entertainment Law course at the University School of Law. Since then, he has regularly nourished his interest in teaching by speaking at various continuing legal education and music industry conferences, and he has lectured widely at universities and law schools in the United States and abroad. His civic and sociopolitical interests has taken a special interest in advocating for our nation’s public school children and teachers. His focus is on fighting the growing corporatization of public schools to the detriment of the teaching and learning that goes on in them. His main professional interest is, like most everyone else in the creative industries these days, the changing legal and business landscape in the digital age of ubiquity.
Downs married Katherine in 1986 and they have two daughters, Adelaide and Eliza. Downs is active in various organizations and has served on boards for groups including The Network for Public Education, People for the American Way, The Athens Clarke Heritage Foundation, and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.