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At the heart of everything Damien Granderson ’03 shared with Albany Law School students was, “Know your why.”

“As long as you know your why that will push you through adversity and failures that you will, inevitably, face,” Granderson said. “If you know your why it will provide you with the passion, the drive, you need to get through any obstacle…I was in some pretty tough times during my journey, but my why pushed me through.”

The Beverly Hills-based entertainment lawyer - who represents and handles transactions for some of music and entertainment’s biggest stars including Nicki Minaj, Zendaya, A$AP Rocky, J. Cole, Wizkid, J. Balvin, and others -  shared the sentiments during his two-day visit on Oct. 25-26 as he was named the law school’s latest Alumni in Residence.

Granderson is consistently recognized as one of the music and entertainment industry’s most prominent attorneys. He has been named to Billboard’s “Top Music Lawyers” and “Change Agents” lists, The Hollywood Reporter’s “Top Music Lawyers” list, and Variety’s “Dealmakers Impact Report” and “Legal Impact Report.”

He returned to his alma mater as its latest Alumni in Residence and spoke with students during a tour of campus and visits to the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Career and Professional Development Center offices. He presented “How I got Here” an engaging lecture on his career journey as well. 

Damien Granderson in Class

During his visit he recalled formative experiences in Torts classes with former Dean Dale Moore, working with Professor Pamela Armstrong, working on law review, participating (and winning) in Moot Court negotiations competitions, turning to Career and Professional Development Director Joanne Casey for help, and the Socratic Method of teaching.

He also joined an Art & Entertainment Law class with Professor Robert Heverly to engage with students further.

Finally, he accepted his official placement on the Alumni in Residence wall in the West Foyer.

The Alumni in Residence program, inaugurated in 1992, is designed to bring Albany Law School’s most distinguished alumni into the classroom to share their expertise with students and to raise awareness about the value of an Albany Law School degree. 

Damien Granderson, Esq. '03 - Alumni in Residence

Born in New York City, and spending his formative years on Long Island, Granderson became the first attorney in his family and eventually a founding partner at Granderson Des Rochers, LLP in 2019. He took his first steps toward that Hollywood practice here in Upstate State New York with his start at Albany Law School. 

Prior to launching the firm, Granderson was a partner at Davis Shapiro Lewit Grabel Leven Granderson & Blake, LLP. He began his career in Business & Legal Affairs at Entertainment One, LP (formerly, Koch Entertainment). He received his B.S. in Business Management from Stony Brook University and J.D. from Albany Law School. He is licensed in both New York and California.

Beyond his legal practice, Granderson is an active board member of the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) and is a trustee at The Center for Early Education.