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Kia Kamran: Lawyer to the Legends

What if you had to wake up every day knowing that going to work could involve interacting with music legends, popstars, and other notables in the entertainment world? You’d probably consider yourself lucky, as Kia Kamran, 38, lawyer, does. But it’s not a cakewalk: as a transactional lawyer, Kia plays a critical role in brokering contracts that can make or break a successful working relationship. Not only that, Kia’s expertise also involves trademarks and corporations, helping to protect corporate and brand identities and marks, as well as their and assets. There are far too many layers to Kia and his work that we can’t even begin to do justice to him. From clients like Daddy Yankee and the Axis of Evil, he’s on his way to becoming a rock star lawyer and is this week’s Young & Professional Profile.


November 1996




Kia Kamran
Attorney at Law




Los Angeles, California

Current residence

Los Angeles, California


Southwestern University School of Law, 1996, Juris Doctor (JD);
California State University Northridge, 1991, BS in Business-Marketing;
Santa Monica College, 1988, Associate of Arts.

Work Experience

Law Office of Kia Kamran
Attorney, 1996 – Current

Variety Artists Int’l
Junior Talent Agent

Virgin Records

Nederlander Organization
Concert promotion Intern



About the company

I am a transactional lawyer (as opposed to a litigator), with a focus on entertainment and related matters, with an even more targeted emphasis on music-related transactions. I am also a trademark and corporate lawyer.

I represent artists, bands, musicians, composers, songwriters, producers, engineers, mixers, instrumentalists, conductors, executives, promoters, touring personnel, personal managers, business managers, record companies, music publishers, music distributors, film-music libraries, trailer houses, commercial music houses, video game manufacturers, music supervisors, etc… and even a mime (seriously! I kid you not).

My work involves counseling people and creating and crafting relationships, protecting assets, and making sure that written documents that are to memorialize various agreements accurately reflect the parties’ understandings and intentions. I am technically known in conventional legal parlance as an “intellectual property and contracts attorney,” though if it were up to me, I’d give it a more super-hero-y type name.

Accordingly, my practice involves all types of music and music-business related agreements (recording, publishing, licensing, touring, producing, endorsement, representation, composing, personal appearance, film and TV music, etc…), as well as film, television, internet, and other new media matters.

My practice also involves trademarks and trademark protection – which means I help companies create and protect their identities and trademarks.

I also represent several promotion companies, or companies who either themselves regularly use music as part of their branding, or act as an intermediary between content holders and those wishing to use such content.

Finally, I also represent clients in buy and sell transactions of their businesses, with my most current transaction involving some $27 Million in assets.

Most notable milestones

As cheeseball as it may sound, my job humbles me and excites me on an almost daily basis, I am blessed, and I consider each accomplishment a milestone, but ok let me try:

  • Representing a music-business icon whom I used to read about when I was a young music fan, and now finding myself in a position where, as his attorney, I am called upon by him for advice and guidance. Very humbling.
  • Signing my first band to a Major US record label from the ground up, meaning that I was the first to find them, and the first to recognize their potential before anyone else and I worked tirelessly from their early beginnings to help bring them to the attention of the majors, and getting them signed.
  • Everytime a client is thankful because he/she felt I genuinely helped them.

What’s the niche?

I am the biggest fan of music (and movies, television, and pop culture in general). I have an inherent curiosity for the mechanics of the business that I am in, and the artistry of it. This curiosity, I believe, is the most effective way to learn and advance my craft. It makes me seek out and appreciate the rationale and logic behind the WHYs and the HOWs of things, rather than just accepting things as they are. I believe this gives me an additional level of understanding of, and thoughtfulness about, the subject matter of my craft, and likewise the fortitude and courage to be able to question and challenge things on a PRINCIPLED basis when needed, and on behalf of my clients. I believe the most effective lawyers – the really GOOD ones – use principle and rationale as their most powerful tool. Persuasion is much more effective when you present solid, principled reasons for why your position should be accepted.

I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a pompous jackass, but I truly believe I have been able to build self-confidence and respect this way. I genuinely believe that my love of the subject matter that I work with has had the natural effect of making me very good at what I do.

What’s the biggest challenge?

I guess my most specific daily professional challenges involve maintaining an ongoing and functional knowledge of the new technologies and matters which are constantly at play in this digital age. Basically, just keeping up with almost weekly developments and changes.

On a personal level, I would like to get much better at surfing, go to the gym more often, and perhaps be visited in my sleep by Joe Strummer of the Clash or Bob Marley. Oh, and I wouldn’t mind skiing an actual glacier one day, and also living with my soulmate right next to the ocean and being able to catch fish from my balcony and look at my boat.

What’s in store for the future?

EVERYTHING. I would be a fool to try to de-emphasize the greatness of the present, and to even remotely suggest at pretending that the future is known. I am pretty sure though, that it will be great.

The future is unwritten” – The Clash.

Who would you like to be contacted by?

All entertainment, technology, and creative executives and artists in all areas. I love to hear from all my peeps.

However, please note that I do not “shop” bands, artists, producers, songwriters, etc…to labels and publishers, etc. . .

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Best way to keep a competitive edge

Maintain curiosity. By staying current with all developments in your field. I do so by reading Billboard Magazine (USA music trade paper), Rolling Stone Magazine (consumer music and culture magazine), and Wired Magazine (Technology and Culture Magazine). I am also a voracious Internet surfer and take advantage of newsgroups on the various salient topics.

Guiding principle in life

I do what I LOVE. I want to be appreciated for my level of Integrity and my self-confidence. I’m never afraid to ask questions, nor do I seek to KNOW all the answers.

Although I may not be BETTER than anyone, I am JUST AS GOOD as anybody.

And as Bob Marley says “In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty,” and “only a fool lean[s] upon his own misunderstanding”.

Yardstick of success

Being able to measure it based on the ADVANCEMENT OF YOUR CRAFT as opposed to how much money you are making in DOING it.

I appreciate TRUE SUCCESS for the human story behind it, as opposed to some objective quantification.

Goal yet to be achieved

Being one of the people thanked by an artist accepting a Grammy.

Finding (and keeping) my soulmate.

Living by the beach.

Buying an awesome fishing boat.

Best practical advice

Go after doing ONLY what you LOVE. There is no other way to be respected on the merits of your work and the integrity of your character. Sorry if that sounds like a greeting card.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

My parents, siblings, and friends have always encouraged me to seek out what brings me happiness. All my life, it has been music, and when I decided to seek a law degree so I could approach music as an attorney, my family’s support was unconditional. I am lucky.


I have recently been taking an Iranian Language class on our great poet Rumi. I find his words and messages reaffirming, and I am humbled by his grace and beauty.

What motivated you to get started?

My curiosity for the subject matter. I’ve always been seeking a deeper understanding of how things work in the background. With music, I found myself evolving from curiosity about its “players” (artists, executives) to its process (how the business is handled) to its philosophies, history, and inner workings, which can only come from knowing the law. Curiosity is the best motivator.

Like best about what you do?

Being able to make my own decisions as to the people with whom I work… and, at… I genuinely believe, in my heart of hearts, that I am very good at what I do (and I recognize that some people may find that pompous…).

Like least about what you do?

Those few days a month where I have to run the “admnistrative” side of my life – paying bills, etc… Other than that… it’s all Irie.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I didn’t really know, but it had to allow me to be around music. I believe I was once very impressed with an Orthodontist that my parents took me to and wanted to be one of them, but later I realized it was because his office was really cool and had headphones and it was actually the music part that had me fascinated&helip;and…of course, I wanted to become a Jedi.

What was your first job?

At a record store in the Westwood area of Los Angeles called Music Plus, in (gulp) 1986.

Biggest pastimes outside of work

Socializing with my peeps, being active, working out, my iPod, and watching TV.

Person most interested in meeting and why?

I’ve never been able to answer this question. I think that if Bob Marley was alive, I would be most interested in meeting him – I would most likely kiss his hand like I did to Joe Strummer of the Clash when I met him.

I would also love to have dinner with the following: Bono, Elton John, Robert Plant, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Terry Gilliam, Jeff Bridges, Elizabeth Hurley, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlet Johanssen, and Natalie Portman.

Leaders in business most interested in meeting

Clive Davis, Jimmy Iovene, Dr. Dre, Doug Morris… for being such badasses at what they do.

Three interesting facts about yourself

1. I can beat anyone at Star Wars trivia and 80’s music trivia.
2. If I fall asleep with a song in my head, I always wake up with it too.
3. I order my tennis shoes online and put my name on them.

Three characteristics that describe you

1. Competent.
2. Enthusiastic.
3. Happy to exist.

Three greatest passions

1. My Family
2. My Friends
3. Music

Favorite book


Favorite cause


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Interview by Myriam Bouaziz
Introduction by Kaiser Shahid

Also this week

Matt SueokaSteven VasquezTushar Unadkat

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