Years ago, when Fred Goldring told his parents that he wanted to be a musician, their response was something along the lines of, "That's fine, you can do whatever you want – as soon as you finish law school and medical school."
Goldring didn't go for the medical school idea, but he did sign up at Miami Law, where he mixed his passion for music and his growing interest in the legal world by founding the Entertainment and Sports Law Society. He also took two music courses, which, he recalled in a recent speech at Miami Law, had "never been done before" by a law student. As a result, he added with a laugh, he deserved to take at least partial credit for the joint degree now available from Miami Law and the Frost School of Music.
After graduating in 1982, he went to work in New York and, ultimately, Los Angeles, where he became a top entertainment industry lawyer, representing performers such as Will Smith, Boyz II Men, Mark Wahlberg and Alanis Morissette, all of whom were the subject of various anecdotes in his speech. In Los Angeles, Goldring came up with the acronym I.R.I., which stands for "idea, reality, impact," a collective notion that he said "applies directly or indirectly to I've ever done in my whole life, starting when I was here."
Goldring's speech, part of the J.D./M.M. Lecture Series, was arranged by the Career Development Office and the Law Alumni Association, which presented him with its Law Alumni Achievement Award. His advice to the students in the audience was to "keep one eye on the ball and one eye on the horizon," even though there will be times "when you'll feel you're on a fool's mission."
Asked whether working with famous people in Hollywood posed particular difficulties, he said anyone entering that "minefield" needs to be honest above all. He said celebrities' lawyers should tell them what they need to hear: "A lot of times you're the only person in the room who's really telling them the truth – the rest are just blowing smoke."
Goldring won an Emmy as executive producer, with will.i.am, of the "Yes We Can" video. He is a longtime Huffington Post contributor and is a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. He is co-founder and chairman of Aficionado Media, a social media platform for affluent enthusiasts who share passionate interests. He was a founding partner of the Beverly Hills law firm Goldring, Hertz, & Lichtenstein.