Overview

Chris is a trusted advisor for clients in business, sports and entertainment.

Chris serves as outside general counsel for his clients, coordinating the right team of expert advocates to find solutions and achieve objectives while adding value. Much like a quarterback, Chris helps develop the game plan and strategy, whether clients are evaluating business opportunities, seeking to protect intellectual property, securing legacy through non-profit formation or estate planning. He leads the charge with the end-goals in mind. Chris represents clients using his dispute resolution experience paired with his legal team’s diverse practice strengths—a multi-faceted combination that meets his clients’ unique needs.

Chris’s clients range from start-up entrepreneurs to nationally recognized athletes and businesses. He is committed to pro bono work and leads the firm’s inclusion & diversity initiatives. Chris is co-chair of Fredrikson’s Sports & Entertainment Group.

Services

Experience

Business, Sports & Entertainment

  • Serve as concierge counsel for family-owned business in connection with real estate, employment, and estate planning matters.
  • Serve as concierge counsel for national entertainment and artist management company in connection with general corporate, intellectual property, and contract matters.
  • Serve as concierge counsel for national trucking company in connection with general corporate, employment, bank and finance, and construction matters.
  • Represent recording artist in connection with the sale of his music catalog.
  • Represent collegiate athletes in connection with name, image, and likeness (NIL) matters.
  • Represent professional athlete management company in connection with business formation and general corporate matters.
  • Represent Olympic track-and-field athlete in connection with contract matters.
  • Represent NBA players in connection with estate planning, non-profit organization formation, drafting/negotiating prenuptial agreements, limited liability company formation and reviewing/negotiating marketing agreements.
  • Represent sports medicine facility with real estate and contract matters.
  • Represent multiple recording artists in connection with reviewing Record Label Agreement, Management Agreement, Licensing Agreement and Production Agreement.
  • Represented private security companies with licensing and employment matters.
  • Represent hospitality clients in connection with liquor licensing, intellectual property protections, partnership agreements, lease agreements, and franchise agreements.
  • Represented multi-platinum recording artist in an action for False Endorsement and False Designation of Origin under the Lanham Act and violation of the right of publicity.
  • Represented client in connection with Life Story Option Agreement.
  • Procured favorable settlements/dismissals in connection with state court lawsuits on behalf of the estate of a world-renowned, music icon.
  • Defended nightclub/concert venue against claims of alleged fraud and breach of contract.

Business Litigation

  • Represent minority investors in shareholder dispute involving breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Represent portfolio companies in connection with third-party subpoenas, breach of contract disputes, and employment matters.
  • Defended global company in copyright infringement lawsuit involving alleged damages of over $1 billion.
  • Defended public company in breach of contract and negligence lawsuit involving alleged damages over $1.5 million.
  • Represented claimant in FINRA Arbitration involving claims of unsuitability and unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and negligence.
  • Served as counsel for Special Litigation Committees retained by public companies, and private, family-owned company.
  • Obtained dismissal of $100+ million shareholder derivative claim in FINRA Arbitration.
  • Negotiated favorable settlement on behalf of client involved in a complex, multi- party, dispute with parallel proceedings – arbitration and state court – regarding alleged claims of fraud, defamation, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, conversion, and tortious interference.
  • Procured favorable resolution on behalf of client in connection with a Minnesota Department of Commerce investigation relating to a customer complaint for alleged unauthorized transactions.
  • Successfully obtained expungement of certain references to client’s registration records maintained by the Central Registration Depository (“CRD”).
  • Defended client in shareholder derivative lawsuit involving claims of alleged sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and breach of fiduciary duty, and ultimately obtained dismissal following the issuance of the Special Litigation Committee Report.

Credentials

Education

  • Mitchell Hamline School of Law, J.D., 2009, cum laude
  • Chapman University, M.A., 2006
  • University of Minnesota, B.A., 2004

Admissions

  • Minnesota, 2009
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, 2009

Recognition

  • Thomson Reuters Stand-Out Lawyer, Independently Rated Lawyers, 2022 & 2023
  • 40 Under 40 Honoree, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 2021
  • Attorney of the Year, Group Recognition, Minnesota Lawyer, 2019
  • Top 100 Under 50 Emerging Leader, Diversity MBA Magazine, 2019
  • Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, 2018
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star, Securities Litigation, 2015-2022
  • North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2013-2018, 2021-2022
  • Diversity Award, Hennepin County Bar Association, 2013
  • Leonard E. Lindquist Pro Bono Award, 2013
  • Pro Bono Spirit Award, 2012

Civic & Professional

Professional Activities

  • University of Minnesota Law School, Adjunct Professor, Sports & NIL Clinic and Sports Law Moot Court Competition
  • Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, Board of Directors
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Member
  • Hennepin County Bar Association, Member
  • Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Member

Community

  • Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Board of Trustees, 2018-present
  • Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, Board of Directors, 2011-2017, 2022-present; Emerging Leaders Group, Co-Chair, 2011-2017; and Member, 2011-present
  • The Legal Revolution, Board of Directors, 2022-present
  • University of St. Thomas Law Mentor Program, Mentor, 2019-present
  • Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, Volunteer Attorney, 2012-2023
  • Greater Twin Cities United Way, Leadership Council, 2021-2023
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Access to Justice Subcommittee Member, 2020-2023
  • Legal Access Point, Legal Clinic Volunteer, 2019-2022
  • YouthLink, Legal Clinic Volunteer, 2010-2020
  • Hennepin County Housing Court Project, Legal Clinic Volunteer, 2010-2020
  • Cookie Cart, Board of Directors, 2012-2015
  • Volunteer Lawyers Network, Letters to Creditors Volunteer Attorney, 2012-2014
  • Tubman Safety Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2012-2014
  • YMCA, Downtown Community Board of Directors, 2011-2014

News & Insights

Publications & Presentations

Panelist, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers Sports and Entertainment CLE, November 20, 2023

"The Real Jerry Maguire: An interview with sports agent and lawyer Leigh Steinberg" (sports & NIL clinic run by Chris Pham mentioned), ABA Journal, September 5, 2023

Presenter, “Show Me the Money?! The U of M’s New NIL Clinic,” The 2023 Minnesota State Bar Association Convention, June 21, 2023

Presenter, “Name, Image, Likeness: Current Legal Issues for College Athletes,” State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Meeting and Conference 2023, June 15, 2023

Quoted, "Mid-Law Firms Eye NIL Work For Schools, Athletes and Others," Law 360, May 24, 2023

Quoted, “For new workers in Minnesota, networking is all part of the game,” Star Tribune, November 13, 2022

Presenter, “IP Spotlight – The University of Minnesota’s New Sports and NIL Clinic,” 2022 Midwest IP Institute CLE, September 29, 2022

Featured, “Breaking the Ice: Networking events connect diverse professionals,” Minnesota Lawyer, September 15, 2022

Quoted, "High school athletes' new sponsorship options kick up debate among coaches," MPR News, August 24, 2022

Panelist, “Community Conversation: AAPI Heritage Month,” Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, May 20, 2021

Quoted, “The Future of Work,” Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, April 22, 2021

Featured, “2021 40 Under 40: Fredrikson & Byron's Chris Pham is advocate for inclusion, equity,” Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, April 20, 2021

Speaker, “Nonprofit Board Service: What New Lawyers Need to Know,” Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, April 20, 2021

Panelist, “Diversity and Working through Difference,” Hennepin County Bar Association Institute for Leadership in the Legal Profession, March 31, 2021

Co-Presenter, “Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace: Going Beyond a Policy!” Fredrikson & Byron’s Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 27, 2020

Featured, “Keeping the Fire Going,” Minnesota State Bar Association Bench & Bar, December 30, 2019

Featured, “Pro Bono Case Leads to Changes in St. Paul Schools,” Minnesota Lawyer, December 18, 2018

Featured, “Profiles in Practice,” Hennepin Lawyer, November/December 2018

Featured, “Minnesota Attorney Christopher Pham Helps Elevate Your Network,” Rollingout, February 5, 2018

Co-Author, “The Effects of New York’s New Cyber Security Law," FredNEWS: Bank & Finance, September 1, 2017

Featured, “How This Young Attorney is Bringing Professionals Together in the Twin Cities,” Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, August 15, 2017

Featured, “The Future is Diverse. Is Your Company?” Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, July 21, 2017

Panelist, “Diversity in Business,” Minneapolis-St. Paul Business JournalForum, July 13, 2017

“New York’s New Cybersecurity Regulation: What’s the Impact?,” FredNEWS: Investment Management, May 2017

Panelist, “Annual Meeting Panel Discussion,” Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, April 12, 2017

Panelist, “Diversity and Working Through Difference,” Hennepin County Bar Association Law Firm Leadership Program, April 2017

Co-Author, “Lien-In: The Use and Abuse of Marital Liens,” Bench & Bar of Minnesota, July 2013

“Championing Diversity in the Twin Cities,” Minneapolis University Rotary Club, July 1, 2013

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