For the Month of April we are sharing stories of hope and inspiration for National Month of Hope. Sometimes hope is the deciding factor on if we will continue our journey or stop right in our tracks. As we share the stories of these amazing individuals we hope that you are filled with hope and are inspired to keep on your path of greatness.
Kimra Major – Morris Shares With Us Her Story:
Kimra Major-Morris is a top-rated intellectual property attorney, a nationally published author, the tv host of the Telly-Award winning show Legal Connections, in partnership with FAMU College of Law and Orange TV, and an educator on the protection and monetization of intellectual property. Her clients include global brands and creatives, professional athletes, influencers, and victims’ families sealing the legacies of their loved ones through intellectual property ownership and licenses.
Inspired by her beginnings as a recording artist, Kimra segued to a career in video production where she freelanced as a red carpet and event photographer for Black Entertainment Television (BET) and created content as an HBO video editor for almost five years. Kimra’s unique experiences heavily contributed to her entertainment network and client roster. Kimra is a sought-after speaker on intellectual property as it intersects with social justice, creative content protection, intellectual property in e-sports, brand protection, and church copyright compliance. Her audiences have included those at Microsoft Corporation, Facebook Gaming, the 2021 Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage, AltLegal, The Florida Bar, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, collegiate sports programs, business conferences, and community outreach events.
Her firm, Major-Morris Law, is a Beyoncé/NAACP grant winner recognized for educating and advocating for intellectual property rights in underserved communities. Major-Morris Law was also the African American Chamber of Commerce Central Florida Chapter’s 2019 Eagle Award Winner.
Recognized as one of Florida’s most influential black women, Kimra is a 2022 Onyx Magazine Women on the Move honoree. In 2021, Microsoft highlighted and honored Kimra’s accomplishments in The Legacy Project Women’s History Edition: Celebrating Women Who Empower Change. Some of Kimra’s educational work in the intellectual property space can be found in her articles and features that appear in the American Bar Association’s Landslide Magazine, Forbes Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Huffington Post, Small Biz Trends, VIP Global, The Florida Bar and Orange County Bar publications.
In 2012, Kimra was thrust into the national spotlight when she was retained by the parents of Trayvon Martin to register, protect, and license name, image, and likeness rights for The Trayvon Martin Foundation. Her services paved the way for the licensing deals that fuel the Foundation’s support of other families who have fallen victim to senseless gun violence.
Kimra earned her Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Communications at Florida International University and is a proud alumnus of Florida A&M College of Law. The first black Chair of The Florida Bar’s Intellectual Property Committee, Kimra is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA), the American Bar Association (ABA) Entertainment & Sports Law Forum, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the National Bar Association (NBA) and the Black Entertainment & Sports Law Association (BESLA).
Rated by SuperLawyers® annually since 2015 (a distinction held by no more than 5% of Attorneys in Florida), Kimra is also “AV Preeminent” rated by Martindale-Hubbell® with the highest rating for professional excellence and ethical standards in the legal community and is among the less than 2% of African American attorneys in the country.
Outside of accomplishments, titles, etc, who is Kimra Major-Morris?
I am a free spirit who enjoys the simple things in life. I’m a wife, a mother of two adult daughters, I’m a caregiver blessed to still have both of my parents, a dependable friend who loves a good laugh, and I’m an educator. Although I spend a lot of time educating others on intellectual property, as I interact with others, I’ve embraced the role of educator in life and the pursuit of happiness.
When did you develop your passion and interest in legal studies?
My legal career was the last of several pivots. After first enjoying a career as a hip-hop artist for close to five years, I pivoted to administrative work in the entertainment industry when I become a mother. At the time, I already had a degree in video production and was trying to begin a career in that field. I jumped at the chance to work behind the scenes at CNN and then at HBO as a video editor over a span of 6 years. I absolutely loved video editing, but when HBO had layoffs, I chose not to pursue other production jobs but to go back to school be become an entertainment attorney. This was primarily for job stability, but I was very excited about the possibility of advocating for creatives as an attorney. I made the choice to do so almost 14 years after completing my undergrad education. I was 37, and I graduated from law school at 40.
You spent many years working in video production and other areas of television. How did your experience prepare you for where you are now in your career?
I started a video production company while working at HBO because my co-workers showed me it could be done. I had a blast shooting red-carpet images for BET and being hired to shoot concerts and events I would have paid to get into. I couldn’t believe I was being paid to have VIP access for the purpose of photography. That foundation provided me with the courage to quote my fees, better communication skills for customer service, and a personalized touch to serve my legal clients. It showed me the power of repeat customers and client referrals, and it taught me to admit mistakes if I made them. I largely credit that experience for my 14-year, referral-based law practice. At some point, I will invest in ads, but I’m proud of my brand integrity.
In 2012, you were retained by the parents of Trayvon Martin to register, protect, and license his name, can you tell us about the impact of this experience?
Being retained by Trayvon Martin’s parents just three years into my practice drastically elevated my professional profile. It required me to learn a lot on the job and to have a greater appreciation for civil rights attorneys like Ben Crump and Natalie Jackson. They were dealing with regular death threats and although I didn’t feel that side of the legal industry was my calling, I quickly understood the value of my work for generational wealth-building. My work for The Trayvon Martin Foundation also introduced me to the intersection of intellectual property and social justice. I was honored to help the family establish and enforce their valuable intellectual property rights to focus on the foundation’s mission. I have since had the privilege of advising other families in the social justice movement on intellectual property strategy.
What would you describe as the highlight of your career thus far?
Certainly, representing Trayvon Martin’s family is up there. That, with becoming the first black Chair of the Florida Bar Intellectual Property Committee and being recognized by Beyoncé and the NAACP for my intellectual property advocacy in underserved communities is my top three.
When looking back over your resume, what has been one lesson that you carry with you?
Do what makes you happy. I remember going on a job interview and the interviewer asking me why I kept changing careers. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that there would be confusion because I was tapped into what I wanted to do. I had gone from rapper to promotions coordinator and personal assistant to Bobby Brown, to video production work. For me, all those positions were different opportunities to exercise my writing skills. Specifically, I was writing lyrics as an artist, writing copy for the Bobby Brown Fan Club, writing with pictures as a photographer and video editor, and now writing about legal concepts as an attorney. Society can make us believe there’s only one way to become a thing, and I’m glad I was open to non-traditional ways of developing my skills. That diverse background is exactly what some clients are looking for.
What message do you hope women specifically take away from your brand?
Keep investing in yourself. We tend to give to a fault. At the end of all that giving, we must make sure we’ve covered ourselves. My brand is about making sure others understand that intellectual property ownership is one of the most important steps in building a successful business. You wouldn’t build a house on land you don’t own. Don’t build a business on a brand identity you haven’t protected.
What is next for you, where can we expect to see Major-Morris Law in the future?
We’re excited about our upcoming course offerings and subscription services. Intellectual property education is a national issue, and we look forward to moving the needle to raise awareness about these important legal protections and how to access them.
What is your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles?
An attractive woman of integrity who rises above challenges to thrive in her purpose.
What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs and Lawyers?
Do what you love, be consistent, find your tribe, and trust God and His purpose for your life.