My Story – Lawyer. Mommy. For the Culture.
I am the proud mother of a 7-year-old son and 2.5-year-old daughter. I am the founder and managing partner at Funderburg Law, LLC. Funderburg Law is a boutique law firm that specializes in copyrights and trademark law, business law, and estate planning.
Believe it or not, I always wanted to be a teacher – an elementary school teacher in fact. If I’m being completely honest, it took me a long time to find my way in the legal arena. I mean, I look great on paper (ask about me), but personality wise, I never felt like the law was a good fit for me. I’m not really a fan of other lawyers, the Type A personalities, the egos, the firm culture… I just could not be bothered. It wasn’t until I went through a journey of sorts and started working on being my authentic self in all settings that things started to work out. The glow up was real. I found my groove – I could incorporate my love for education and teaching, by being a professor of law to my clients.
I began to understand that while I’m not for everybody (definitely an acquired taste), there are plenty of people that gravitate toward me because I am exactly their style. Most of those people happen to be black mothers and black women, partly because I am a black woman and mother, but the other part is that our backgrounds and experiences are not that different. And I am personable – most of my clients turn into great friends and vice versa. People love being able to be open and transparent with their attorney with no fear of judgment, while also feeling secure that their matters will be handled with professionalism and efficiency.
Outside of my practice, when I’m not with my babies, I spend a lot of time reading and at the spa. I love, love, looooooove the spa. Over the past year or so, I have made a total commitment to personal development. I’ve managed to reach some levels of success in life without really trying because I had this internal fear of failure. I figured if I didn’t try, then I wouldn’t fail, because I didn’t try. It wasn’t until I said that statement out loud to myself that I realized just how dumb it actually sounded. At that moment, I made a change to try – to show up as the best version of myself every day, especially on the days where it seemed impossible or futile. I’m definitely still a work in progress and getting deeper into my meditation and zen lifestyle, but it truly makes the difference for me in being able to run a law practice, be a mom, a daughter, sister, and friend.
I also serve on the Board of Directors for Girls of Excellence, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides supportive services for girls aged 8-18.
And if you’re still reading, maybe you’re interested in my educational background. So, here goes:
I graduated law school from Howard University School of Law in the top 15% of my class. Having an interest in entertainment law, I decided to begin my legal career in Los Angeles, California. First passing the California bar, then moving to California a year later when I attended Chapman University School of Law.
There, I earned my LL.M in Entertainment and Media Law and Transactions at Chapman Law. I received extensive drafting and negotiating training from top-notch industry professionals, particularly in the areas of music and film. While at Chapman, I participated in a legal film clinic where we represented independent film production companies, doing everything from setting up the business entities to drafting all of the necessary contracts for the above the line and below the line players.
Confident in my skills, my professor would often refer clients to me that the clinic couldn’t take. Assisting them allowed me to build my network among independent film producers, while building a small entertainment law practice. The needs of these clients fostered my experience in business law in the process.
Out of my desire to cater to my growing family and gain more experience in the music industry, I transitioned my life to the Atlanta area. Upon returning back to Atlanta, I was blessed to have the opportunity to work for the veteran entertainment lawyer whom I greatly admired from afar while I was in law school. As his entertainment law firm specializes in music law, I had the honor and pleasure of gaining one-on-one training and experience working with him.
Our working relationship had the added benefit of allowing me to prioritize being a mother first. He understood that for me, motherhood came first, and we worked it out. I was able to take some time off to be a stay at home with my son, and study for the Georgia bar (which I was hoping to avoid taking by way of reciprocity after 5 years – no such luck). Once I passed the Georgia bar, I started my own practice, picking up an assortment of cases in various areas of the law, most notably entertainment law and juvenile defense. After the birth of my daughter, I made a conscious decision to focus mainly on entertainment law, business law, and estate planning.
My interest in estate planning began in law school, where I received the highest grade in the course. Studying for the Georgia bar, and working with an Atlanta based estate planning attorney renewed my interest in estate planning but having children of my own is truly what made it an area of passion for my practice.
I wanted to learn how to draft my own estate plan to care for my loved ones upon my death or incapacitation. I found myself studying wills, trusts and estates like crazy – attending continuing legal education classes on the subject, reading everything I could get my hands on, networking for mentors, until finally I attended the Institute of Business and Finance and took an estate planning specialist certification course.
At that point, the information was pretty much review, but that was the affirmation I needed to confidently represent clients in the subject matter. I am inspired by educating my community on estate planning, because most of us don’t even know what it is, or we have misconceptions about whether we need it or not. We do! And that’s where I come in!
Even though I have 10 years of legal experience, I still consider my practice to be in its foundational stage. There is still so much that I hope to develop and achieve for my practice and my clients, that it makes me feel like there is still so much left to do!
My goal is to be the go-to trademark and business law firm for black and brown people. I want to help those who are unfamiliar with copyright and trademark laws and ensure that they are not taken advantage of due to their lack of knowledge of the laws, and policies.
In addition, I want to help every person with a business idea and the work ethic and discipline to make it happen, create a profitable and sustainable business. And lastly, I want to help fellow black entrepreneurs secure their legacies by developing estate plans to provide generational wealth for their families for years to come.
Now enough about me, I’d love to hear about you and all of your goals and aspirations. I’m super excited about all of the possibilities between the alignment of my business and yours and I would love, love, love to help you make your dreams come true.
I hope to meet you soon!
BAR ADMISSION & CERTIFICATION
Admitted to California State Bar & United States Southern District Court
Admitted to Georgia State Bar
Georgia Broker’s License
Institute of Business and Finance, Certification Estate Planning Specialist, October 2017
Chapman University School of Law, Master of Laws (L.L.M.) in Entertainment & Media Law, May 2011
Howard University School of Law, Juris Doctor (Merit Honors), May 2009
- Am Jur Awards for Copyrights, Corporations, and Wills, Trusts and Estates
- Intellectual Property Students Association, Executive Board 2007-2009
- Sports & Entertainment Law Student Association, Executive Board 2007-2009
Mesoamerica: Institute of Afro-Hispanic Literature and Culture, Summer 2004
Clark Atlanta University, Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice, Minor in Spanish (Magna Cum Laude), May 2004
Northeastern University, Paralegal Certificate, August 2003
“DMV The Movie: How I Landed the Coolest Summer Job on the Planet” 2010
“Exit Strategy” 2011
“As High as The Sky”, 2012
“A Beautiful Soul”, 2012
“Coming of Age”, by Sammie, 2017
Music Business Empowerment Conference Panelist, 2016
Ask Music Lawyer Business of Music Summit, 2018