Skip to Main Content

Zia F. Modabber

Managing Partner, Los Angeles
Los Angeles – Century City Office

Zia F. Modabber is the managing partner of the Los Angeles offices and is co-chair of Katten's Los Angeles Litigation practice. He handles a wide array of business and entertainment disputes, with particular experience and focus on the music business and clients with significant public profiles.

For more than two decades, Zia has been a sought after litigator for copyright, trademark, right of publicity, First Amendment, defamation, musical recording and publishing, partnership (including band disputes), artist-manager relations, trade secrets, idea submission, and labor and employment matters. Zia's extensive body of work, track record of success, and reputation for maintaining high level of integrity, discretion, and sensitivity have made him the attorney of choice for Michael Jackson and now his Estate, Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails, Stevie Wonder, Lance Armstrong, Aerosmith, Slash/Guns N' Roses, Jeff Lynne/Electric Light Orchestra, Enrique Iglesias, Ben Silverman, Sony Music, Live Nation, Usher, Chris Brown, Andre Benjamin, MusiCares, The Recording Academy and many others.

Zia's reputation for integrity is firmly rooted in helping clients effectively bridge the uncomfortable space between legal crisis and "back to normal," while operating with the level of discretion that high profile matters and clients require. Zia also practices from a perspective sensitive to the whole client, addressing immediate issues in the context of clients' broader professional needs.

Shown below is a selection of Zia’s engagements.

  • Representation of Trent Reznor, the founder, owner and creator of Nine Inch Nails and How to Destroy Angels in a federal lawsuit against a former personal manager over the return of the NIN trademarks and related assets, and the ownership and control of numerous related companies and businesses. Obtained a multimillion-dollar verdict from a New York jury, as well as the return of all Nine Inch Nails trademarks and intellectual property assets.
  • Co-lead counsel in the representation of the Estate of Michael Jackson regarding a royalty dispute with record producer Quincy Jones.
  • Representation of Lance Armstrong in two federal class action lawsuits, one over the sale of his two biographies, and the other over his endorsement of FRS nutritional and performance products.
  • Representation of the former spouse of an R&B legend in a case regarding a critically emerging provision of the 1976 Copyright Act that permits artists to recover copyrights they had previously granted to third-party publishers. The musician had filed termination notices and asked a federal court to determine that, when he recovered those copyrights, he would do so free of the 50% interest owned by his former spouse as part of a divorce settlement.
  • Co-lead counsel in the representation of the Estate of Michael Jackson in a dispute with Jackson’s former manager, Tohme Tohme. Tohme claims he was not paid significant management commissions.
  • Representation of the Estate of Michael Jackson in ongoing work focused primarily on the protection of the Estate's intellectual property assets, including copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity and other assets.
  • Representation of several defendants in an idea submission case over the development of a television program. Obtained summary judgment. Scottish American Media, LLC and Maurice Fraser v. Reveille, LLC, Ben Silverman, et al.


Best Lawyers in America, 2010–2020
Super Lawyers, Southern California, 2005–2019
Legal 500, 2017–2019

Daily Journal

Daily Journal, Top 100 Lawyers in California, 2017

The International Who's Who of Sports & Entertainment Lawyers

The International Who's Who of Sports & Entertainment Lawyers, 2013
Who's Who Legal, 2014


Lawdragon, Lawdragon 3000
Firm News
September 4, 2012
Michael Jackson estate settles copyright lawsuit with memorabilia website dealer, NY Daily News
November 4, 2011
Katten Hosts Charity Bike Ride Benefitting LiveStrong, Los Angeles Daily Journal
November 4, 2011
Cycling Keeps Him Sane, Los Angeles Business Journal
Zia F. Modabber


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

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • US District Court, Central District of California
  • US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • US District Court, Northern District of California
  • US District Court, Eastern District of California


Best Lawyers in America
Super Lawyers
Southern California, 2005–2019
Legal 500

Daily Journal

Top 100 Lawyers in California, 2017

The International Who's Who of Sports & Entertainment Lawyers



Lawdragon 3000
Previous Next


  • American Bar Association
  • American Trial Lawyers Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • City of Hope, Music and Entertainment Industry Committee
Katten Websites   Careers  |  Alumni  |  Mobile Site
Contact Us   Offices  |  Media Center  |  People  |  Email
Legal Notices   Disclaimer  |  Privacy Notice  |  Cookie Notice  |  United Kingdom Notices  | Accessibility 
Attorney Advertisting. © 2019 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP