Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

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PennBull
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Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby PennBull » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:26 am

Rising 2L at Penn. Sometime in 10-15 years or so I'd like to be working in the sports industry somehow, preferably working towards some sort of administrative position with a team/league/conference/tee-ball team.

I originally thought it was a no-brainer to stay on the transactional side of things at firms, but lately I've been seeing that a majority of the current power players in sports (no pun intended) were litigation partners or associates at their respective firms.

It's sort of making me rethink if I should be aiming for transactional type work, and thus, affecting the firms that I would bid for in OCI.

I'm aware I could do both for my 2L SA in the right situation, but I'd prefer to have a solid idea of what would be better for my end goals, and just focus on that. It also will streamline my OCI bidding.

I'm hoping TLS can at least give me things to think about that I didn't before. Hit me!

heeloftar
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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby heeloftar » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:40 am

Whatever you do, make sure it's at P. Rose in NY.

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PennBull
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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby PennBull » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:43 am

heeloftar wrote:Whatever you do, make sure it's at P. Rose in NY.


It's on my bidlist. But a.) there's no guarantee I get the job; and b.) there's other firms that handle great sports work too.

Also, for what it's worth, I will be bidding exclusively NYC.

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:42 am

PennBull wrote:
heeloftar wrote:Whatever you do, make sure it's at P. Rose in NY.


It's on my bidlist. But a.) there's no guarantee I get the job; and b.) there's other firms that handle great sports work too.

Also, for what it's worth, I will be bidding exclusively NYC.


Two things:

(1) Most sports work is on the transactional side.

(2) While everyone always talks about Proskauer, the other preeminent sports law practice is at Covington DC.

(3) Use Chambers: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/USA/Editorial/71051

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PennBull
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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby PennBull » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:Two things:

(1) Most sports work is on the transactional side.


Agreed, which is why my intuition for years has been do transactional, not litigation. But, again, I am seeing countless sports executives/etc. that were primarily litigation. It's making me think, therefore the thread.

(2) While everyone always talks about Proskauer, the other preeminent sports law practice is at Covington DC.


Very aware of this. Will be bidding there as well, but I'm pretty sure it's one of maybe 3 or 4 bids I'll use outside of New York City.

Also, it's hard as shit to get Covington DC from Penn. We got the grade distributions for the past 5 years for offers and...yeah. Haha I'll obviously try though.



Thank you for this. I have been using Chambers but hadn't stumbled across this yet.

Also, can this Anon PM me? Not sure why you needed the Anon, but it would be helpful to talk.

abc12345675
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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby abc12345675 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:02 am

I have a background working in sports.

You are 100% correct about transactional at a big firm.

Latham & Watkins is another one. I know at the MLS the league President as well as General Counsel came from there. And a couple franchise Presidents came from there, too.

Bottom line, get in at a big firm. Stay connected in the industry (read SBJ etc). Network your ass off with people already in the club. Be ready to pounce if given the opportunity. Attend things such as the Sloan Conference and schmooze. Get your name out there. If you have a solid career at a big firm out of a great school, you'll have the chance if you have the desire and are okay with moving to a random place potentially.

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby PennBull » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:37 am

abc12345675 wrote:I have a background working in sports.

You are 100% correct about transactional at a big firm.

Latham & Watkins is another one. I know at the MLS the league President as well as General Counsel came from there. And a couple franchise Presidents came from there, too.

Bottom line, get in at a big firm. Stay connected in the industry (read SBJ etc). Network your ass off with people already in the club. Be ready to pounce if given the opportunity. Attend things such as the Sloan Conference and schmooze. Get your name out there. If you have a solid career at a big firm out of a great school, you'll have the chance if you have the desire and are okay with moving to a random place potentially.


I know what I need to do to get into sports, generally. That is not my question.

My question is whether I should do litigation or transactional at the firm when I get there. When you say I'm "100% correct about transactional", what do you mean?

abc12345675
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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby abc12345675 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:40 am

PennBull wrote:
abc12345675 wrote:I have a background working in sports.

You are 100% correct about transactional at a big firm.

Latham & Watkins is another one. I know at the MLS the league President as well as General Counsel came from there. And a couple franchise Presidents came from there, too.

Bottom line, get in at a big firm. Stay connected in the industry (read SBJ etc). Network your ass off with people already in the club. Be ready to pounce if given the opportunity. Attend things such as the Sloan Conference and schmooze. Get your name out there. If you have a solid career at a big firm out of a great school, you'll have the chance if you have the desire and are okay with moving to a random place potentially.


I know what I need to do to get into sports, generally. That is not my question.

My question is whether I should do litigation or transactional at the firm when I get there. When you say I'm "100% correct about transactional", what do you mean?


I mean that every person I've met that does what you want to do did transactional. It is more relative to your day to day tasks in the industry. Whenever there is pending litigation they hire outside counsel.

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby PennBull » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:42 am

abc12345675 wrote:
PennBull wrote:I know what I need to do to get into sports, generally. That is not my question.

My question is whether I should do litigation or transactional at the firm when I get there. When you say I'm "100% correct about transactional", what do you mean?


I mean that every person I've met that does what you want to do did transactional. It is more relative to your day to day tasks in the industry. Whenever there is pending litigation they hire outside counsel.


How come so many sports executives cut their teeth in litigation then?

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby Ruxin1 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:44 am

PennBull wrote:
abc12345675 wrote:
PennBull wrote:I know what I need to do to get into sports, generally. That is not my question.

My question is whether I should do litigation or transactional at the firm when I get there. When you say I'm "100% correct about transactional", what do you mean?


I mean that every person I've met that does what you want to do did transactional. It is more relative to your day to day tasks in the industry. Whenever there is pending litigation they hire outside counsel.


How come so many sports executives cut their teeth in litigation then?


I think they mean more GC's with teams not league execs

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:45 am

PennBull wrote:
abc12345675 wrote:
PennBull wrote:I know what I need to do to get into sports, generally. That is not my question.

My question is whether I should do litigation or transactional at the firm when I get there. When you say I'm "100% correct about transactional", what do you mean?


I mean that every person I've met that does what you want to do did transactional. It is more relative to your day to day tasks in the industry. Whenever there is pending litigation they hire outside counsel.


How come so many sports executives cut their teeth in litigation then?


Same reason why so many of them has J.D.'s in the first place.....who knows? The President of MLS told me that the JD provides him no functional skills to succeed in his job. Other than "analytical skills" there is nothing there. But it looks good and is valued. I suspect the ones who got in to litigation did it because they wanted to. And then later in life they stumbled in to their current gig.

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby PennBull » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:
PennBull wrote:
abc12345675 wrote:I mean that every person I've met that does what you want to do did transactional. It is more relative to your day to day tasks in the industry. Whenever there is pending litigation they hire outside counsel.


How come so many sports executives cut their teeth in litigation then?


Same reason why so many of them has J.D.'s in the first place.....who knows? The President of MLS told me that the JD provides him no functional skills to succeed in his job. Other than "analytical skills" there is nothing there. But it looks good and is valued. I suspect the ones who got in to litigation did it because they wanted to. And then later in life they stumbled in to their current gig.


Right, I know I'm picking on a relatively minor variable of the 100000 variables that determine getting a job in sports someday. That said, I want to pick the one that, I don't know, gets me the most contacts/clients/work/whatever in sports while I'm at the firm.

abc12345675
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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby abc12345675 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:00 pm

PennBull:

Why not just email some and ask the questions yourself? I guarantee most would be more than willing to lend you some advice.

Garth Lagerwey (former Latham associate)- glagerwey@realsaltlake.com
Mark Abbott (also former Latham)- mark.abbott@mlsnet.com
NFL email format: First.Last@nfl.com
NBA email format: flast@nba.com
mlb email format: first.last@mlb.com
MLBPA email format: FirstL@mlbpa.org

Sorry, no info about NHL

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:05 pm

abc12345675 wrote:Why not just email some and ask the questions yourself? I guarantee most would be more than willing to lend you some advice.


Haha it's not like TLS is my only resource. But, we got a good sample size of current law students and recent graduates on TLS who might have similar goals/have new ideas, so I'm asking here as well.

Edit: this is PennBull, didn't mean to Anon this post.

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:46 pm

Coming from someone who is well-connected with lawyers and non-lawyers alike across many sports, the advice in this thread is off-base. While transactional certainly won't bar you from getting into the industry, there are more litigators that successfully make the transition. For legal positions, it's a fairly even split, but clubs (and even the leagues when they consider JDs for executive spots) prefer the litigation skillset for whatever reason. That said, do what you like because if you get one of these positions it will be more of a right place/right time kind of thing than the speciality you chose.

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby PennBull » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Coming from someone who is well-connected with lawyers and non-lawyers alike across many sports, the advice in this thread is off-base. While transactional certainly won't bar you from getting into the industry, there are more litigators that successfully make the transition. For legal positions, it's a fairly even split, but clubs (and even the leagues when they consider JDs for executive spots) prefer the litigation skillset for whatever reason. That said, do what you like because if you get one of these positions it will be more of a right place/right time kind of thing than the speciality you chose.


Right; this is exactly what I've found. Do you have any reason why this is? Anecdotes? Or just knowledge that the current field has more litigators than not? How "well-connected" are you?

Private message me or respond anon; I would really appreciate a more specific answer!

odon59
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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby odon59 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:48 pm

If you're a UPenn Law student and want to do sports law, I hope you have read this:

http://www.pennumbra.com/issues/pdfs/157-1/Infield_Fly_Rule.pdf

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PennBull
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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby PennBull » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:23 pm

odon59 wrote:If you're a UPenn Law student and want to do sports law, I hope you have read this:

http://www.pennumbra.com/issues/pdfs/157-1/Infield_Fly_Rule.pdf


Not really on topic, but thanks?

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:48 pm

PennBull wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Coming from someone who is well-connected with lawyers and non-lawyers alike across many sports, the advice in this thread is off-base. While transactional certainly won't bar you from getting into the industry, there are more litigators that successfully make the transition. For legal positions, it's a fairly even split, but clubs (and even the leagues when they consider JDs for executive spots) prefer the litigation skillset for whatever reason. That said, do what you like because if you get one of these positions it will be more of a right place/right time kind of thing than the speciality you chose.


Right; this is exactly what I've found. Do you have any reason why this is? Anecdotes? Or just knowledge that the current field has more litigators than not? How "well-connected" are you?

Private message me or respond anon; I would really appreciate a more specific answer!


Can't tell you for sure why this is, but my guess is that the litigation skill set comes in handy when so much in sports rests on arbitration. The people who make the jump from a transactional practice are usually filtered into licensing issues and such, which can pretty much be handled without interacting with clubs if you work for a league. In comparison, the litigators are the ones who are in contact with the clubs more often due to all the different kinds of arbitrations and lawsuits that are affecting their team. I would assume that these relationships (remember, the league offices work for the owners) allow them to segue into other non-legal roles if they so choose. Sports, more than any other industry, is built on relationships, and it's just a reality that litigators are given more opportunity to foster them. Doesn't mean you can't be as successful from the transactional side, it's just less likely.

Now, like I said, if you just want to get into a league and don't care about career advancement or holding a non-legal job down the road, a transactional background won't be a disadvantage. But, I don't see why you would close off your long-term options when you seem willing to go down either route. And I am very well-connected. Won't get more specific than that, but you don't have to trust me if you are so inclined.

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby Dex » Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:53 pm

Have you considered reaching out to Burbank and asking him about any of this? He's incredibly helpful/open to student questions (including 1Ls, he taught Civ Pro to section 2) and I believe he's a current special master of the NFL.

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Re: Sports Law Career--Start out in Transactional or Litigation?

Postby PennBull » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
PennBull wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Coming from someone who is well-connected with lawyers and non-lawyers alike across many sports, the advice in this thread is off-base. While transactional certainly won't bar you from getting into the industry, there are more litigators that successfully make the transition. For legal positions, it's a fairly even split, but clubs (and even the leagues when they consider JDs for executive spots) prefer the litigation skillset for whatever reason. That said, do what you like because if you get one of these positions it will be more of a right place/right time kind of thing than the speciality you chose.


Right; this is exactly what I've found. Do you have any reason why this is? Anecdotes? Or just knowledge that the current field has more litigators than not? How "well-connected" are you?

Private message me or respond anon; I would really appreciate a more specific answer!


Can't tell you for sure why this is, but my guess is that the litigation skill set comes in handy when so much in sports rests on arbitration. The people who make the jump from a transactional practice are usually filtered into licensing issues and such, which can pretty much be handled without interacting with clubs if you work for a league. In comparison, the litigators are the ones who are in contact with the clubs more often due to all the different kinds of arbitrations and lawsuits that are affecting their team. I would assume that these relationships (remember, the league offices work for the owners) allow them to segue into other non-legal roles if they so choose. Sports, more than any other industry, is built on relationships, and it's just a reality that litigators are given more opportunity to foster them. Doesn't mean you can't be as successful from the transactional side, it's just less likely.

Now, like I said, if you just want to get into a league and don't care about career advancement or holding a non-legal job down the road, a transactional background won't be a disadvantage. But, I don't see why you would close off your long-term options when you seem willing to go down either route. And I am very well-connected. Won't get more specific than that, but you don't have to trust me if you are so inclined.


Hm, all good points.

It doesn't really matter to me where in sports I end up; I love all the leagues, and every facet of it really interests me. I just like the dynamics of the industry.

I tend to like the idea of transactional over litigation, but I would probably enjoy both. I agree with you on the "fostering relationships" deal--I carry no misconceptions about the sports industry and what it takes to get there. I know there's a good chance I won't even make it.

I'll trust you on your thoughts; they're consistent with what I was thinking already, albeit a little more extreme. I think I'm more nervous about the idea of changing my mind away from transactional, because it's what I was planning for several years now. It's not like a switch to litigation is bad or anything haha.

Do you have any other thoughts in general? I would like to PM you with my specific situation (read: grades) to see if you have any advice for particular firms/career paths, etc. I just don't know many folks who actually ended up in this field, so I'm particularly void of good advice. PM me if you'd be willing to chat more.

Dex wrote:Have you considered reaching out to Burbank and asking him about any of this? He's incredibly helpful/open to student questions (including 1Ls, he taught Civ Pro to section 2) and I believe he's a current special master of the NFL.


Totally forgot about this. Good call.




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