50 for 50 Spotlight: Christiane Kinney (JD ’98)

“I really feel there is a unique community at the law school, one that I anticipate will continue to grow and flourish over the next fifty years and beyond.”

In celebration of the law school’s 50th anniversary, we continue to highlight the alumni who together represent a tapestry of talents that go well beyond the legal profession. Christiane Cargill Kinney, a member of the Class of 1998, is one such alumna. A partner with Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP, Christiane focuses her practice on entertainment law transactions, brand management, and intellectual property litigation, representing Platinum-selling and Grammy award-winning recording artists, songwriters and their estates, published authors, professional athletes, award-winning filmmakers/producers, visual artists and more. She is also a creative artist and songwriter herself which gives her a unique perspective in her work as an entertainment attorney. But these are not the only hats worn by Christiane, who is the co-founder and CEO of Hearts Giving Hope Foundation, LLC, a non-profit organization founded to bring music and visual arts programs to at-risk youth across Southern California. She also recently collaborated with her husband, Sean, as an Executive Producer on a film project with Air Force Special Operations veterans, “Call for Fire,” that has already garnered 25 laurels and 17 wins in film festivals (including 3 wins for the film score Christiane and her husband composed for the movie). They are currently looking for distributors to gain more exposure for the veterans who worked as cast and crew on this project. Christiane, who started playing piano at age three and went to college on a piano performance scholarship, has found her own perfect formula of combined legal and artistic passions.

Christiane chose Pepperdine for a “peaceful” law school experience. After touring the campus, she says she fell in love, as most visitors do. While in law school, Christiane was a member of the Pepperdine Law Review, and she graduated magna cum laude. “I certainly feel like I am an extension of the law school,” Christiane said, “and my experiences there are a major part of who I have become as an attorney and a person.”

For that reason, Christiane always looks for opportunities to give back, whether it be through externship opportunities for students, judging Moot Court competitions, or simply meeting with current law students for coffee to discuss her own experiences and path for breaking into the field of entertainment law. “I think when we all look for those opportunities to guide and mentor the current student body and our future colleagues, it helps the school excel.”

She adds, “I read that Pepperdine has grown exponentially in its first fifty years, faster than any other private law school in the country. I hope to see that continued growth and excellence, and I also hope that the University continues to place a strong value on the mentoring and guidance that students receive from the teaching body there. When I was attending, the teachers were all very approachable and willing to help and discuss any concerns we had. That made a big difference for me in my three years, and really bonded me to the community as a whole.”

As Pepperdine Law celebrates its 50 years of history, there is a common sentiment of unity that is expressed by alumni like Christiane: “I’m very proud to be an alumna of this wonderful law school. I remain friends to this day with some of my fellow classmates, and I really feel there was a unique community at the school, one that I anticipate will continue to grow and flourish over the next fifty years and beyond.”

For more on Christiane and her upcoming projects, visit her website. You can also view the trailer for Call for Fire – “a tragic Shakespearean comedy for the modern war” – here.