Mr Zia Modabber > Katten > Los Angeles, United States > Lawyer Profile

SUITE 1000
United States

Work Department

Managing Partner (Los Angeles); Chair Entertainment and Media Litigation


Time and again, major recording artists, their key advisors and core industry companies trust Zia Modabber, the managing partner of the Los Angeles offices, to handle legal issues they face in the creation and protection of their assets. With decades of experience in the music and entertainment industry, he has an ability to not only address his clients’ pressing legal issues, but also their long-term artistic and business interests. Zia is a sought-after litigator of intellectual property, First Amendment and other entertainment-related issues. And his ability to maintain a career-long perspective — along with his integrity and discretion — cements the trust between Zia and his clients that make him an invaluable counselor even outside of actual litigation.

In a high-stress, high-reward industry, some of the biggest musical artists have relied on his experience, judgment and skill: Michael Jackson (and now his estate), Trent Reznor, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Usher, Chris Brown, Slash and Jeff Lynne/Electric Light Orchestra among them. Zia also represents industry powerhouses Live Nation, The Recording Academy and MusiCares, as well as personal managers, agents, business managers and record and publishing companies.

Zia’s industry relationships and reputation are tools that he brings to bear for his clients’ advantage. He has deep experience in all forms of dispute resolution, from private mediations to high-profile jury trials and appeals and everything in between. His matters include cutting-edge issues, as in his representation of the former spouse of an R&B legend in a case involving the tension between state community property laws and the federal Copyright Act. And for Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Zia won a multimillion-dollar jury verdict and the return from a former personal manager of all of Nine Inch Nails’ trademarks and other intellectual property.


  • Loyola Law School Los Angeles, JD
  • University of California, Berkeley, BA

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Media, technology and telecoms > Media and entertainment: litigation

The Los Angeles-based team at Katten balances risk assessment aimed at avoiding litigation with a broad contentious practice that encompasses contracts, IP and business disputes for high-profile clients from the music and visual entertainment industry. Practice head Zia Modabber focuses his practice on music industry disputes; he recently represented the estate of Michael Jackson in a matter of first impression matter concerning a posthumous Michael Jackson album. Seasoned litigator David Halberstadter  specializes in intellectual property defense, in a recent highlight he represented Viacom CBS in a copyright infringement case concerning the alleged misuse of a pilot script. Fellow IP expert Joel Weiner also specializes in anti-SLAPP motions. Further recommended is Tami Kameda Sims who provided key support when the aforementioned Michael Jackson matter was argued in front of the California Supreme Court.