Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

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Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:53 am

I'm a former D1 football player attending law school at a T20 with a big football program. I know plenty of players from many schools who have borderline NFL talent, and I'd like to represent some of them in the future.

Would it be possible to represent these players on the side after graduation while working in biglaw, or would the firm shut that down as it has potential to become a conflict of interest? Assume that my agent duties wouldn't directly take time away from any biglaw work I had to do.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:18 pm

Others may be able to weigh in more, but I'm a graduating 3L and my firm specifically said you have to disclaim any affirmative ownership in any company outside the firm prior to accepting employment there.

I also know a third year at the firm who had to sell his equity ownership interest in a very profitable startup because of this (and it wasn't merely precautionary- he disclosed it to the hiring partner who said he must sell)

However if you want to do it during your summers (and get a feel to whether that could be a long-term gig) you'd probably be able to do that for sure

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:25 pm

*5th round pick bypassing registered agency to sign Iowa 2L who asks the Internet if he's allowed to represent people*

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby favabeansoup » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Would it be possible to represent these players on the side after graduation while working in biglaw, or would the firm shut that down as it has potential to become a conflict of interest? Assume that my agent duties wouldn't directly take time away from any biglaw work I had to do.


(1) No firm will let you do this (2) you will not have time to be an agent and a biglaw lawyer at the same time, so you can't even assume that its not close to reality.

From the firm's point of view, if you have extra time to be an agent, that should be time you are billing for the firm's benefit.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby jkpolk » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a former D1 football player attending law school at a T20 with a big football program. I know plenty of players from many schools who have borderline NFL talent, and I'd like to represent some of them in the future.

Would it be possible to represent these players on the side after graduation while working in biglaw, or would the firm shut that down as it has potential to become a conflict of interest? Assume that my agent duties wouldn't directly take time away from any biglaw work I had to do.


The default is no.

At my firm a couple associates who knew founders of startups (each funded, valued over 8 figures) tried to get the firm to let them onboard the companies, charge lower rates, etc. but keep the work among themselves. Firm nixed it.

No harm in having the conversation after you receive an offer (I do know biglaw coworkers who have moonlighted on non-legal ventures) but if you want to be an agent you'll likely have to walk from big law.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:43 pm

favabeansoup wrote:(1) No firm will let you do this

I know partners of small(er) firms that do sports rep. I just think that the firm has to see what added benefit it is going to bring them. It's not like they're going to let you take billable time away from them so you can get your 30 percent of your client's signing bonus. They're gonna want their cut, too.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby favabeansoup » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:46 pm

1styearlateral wrote:
favabeansoup wrote:(1) No firm will let you do this

I know partners of small(er) firms that do sports rep. I just think that the firm has to see what added benefit it is going to bring them. It's not like they're going to let you take billable time away from them so you can get your 30 percent of your client's signing bonus. They're gonna want their cut, too.


Yeah but that is a different discussion. Bringing in OP's friends as clients of the firm while he or someone else in the firm reps them is different than OP moonlighting as a non firm affiliated agent while you are working biglaw.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:03 pm

OP here:

Thanks everyone for the responses, you've provided some great information! This thread reinforces my assumption about outside work. I definitely didn't think there was a great chance a biglaw firm would let an associate represent players on the side, but figured it couldn't hurt to ask.

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:*5th round pick bypassing registered agency to sign Iowa 2L who asks the Internet if he's allowed to represent people*


I think you'd be surprised how many players projected to go on day three or undrafted sign with no-name agents. Obviously those agents have to be registered with the NFLPA, but often they don't have an established client base.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:06 pm

OP: Do you have a big law job lined up? Or any job for that matter?

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:13 pm

favabeansoup wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:
favabeansoup wrote:(1) No firm will let you do this

I know partners of small(er) firms that do sports rep. I just think that the firm has to see what added benefit it is going to bring them. It's not like they're going to let you take billable time away from them so you can get your 30 percent of your client's signing bonus. They're gonna want their cut, too.


Yeah but that is a different discussion. Bringing in OP's friends as clients of the firm while he or someone else in the firm reps them is different than OP moonlighting as a non firm affiliated agent while you are working biglaw.

Yes, true. I think most firms will not permit associates to "practice" outside the firm if nothing else than for insurance purposes. I would think that being an agent while also barred could arguably be classified as "practicing law" in most jurisdictions, even though you don't necessarily need a law degree to be an agent. Once you have your law license, almost all of your actions are under a microscope.

It's just not worth the headache.

ETA: How is being a sports agent any different than a real estate broker? Most of the partners at my firm have theirs and have brokered deals, although I think they did so under the firm's name and not their "broker LLC."

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby deadpanic » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:17 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:*5th round pick bypassing registered agency to sign Iowa 2L who asks the Internet if he's allowed to represent people*


This was pretty good.

I think this could be setting yourself up for borderline malpractice, which is partially why most firms would not allow it. Once you become barred as an attorney, you still know absolutely nothing about practicing law, and especially nothing about such a niche area which also has pretty complex issues to consider such as the players' union. (I know this is not a standard "practicing law," but the point still stands)

I did know a guy that kind of did this, but as mentioned above, he brought them as clients to his smaller/mid-size regional firm, but he practiced for several years and was a partner. It was not very profitable and he only had 1 or 2 that panned out so he stopped it altogether. A lot of it is very contingent on long-shot players, and you can expend a ridiculous amount of non-billable hours only to not make a dime. Most firms want you working on the billable hour and not taking contingent matters, which you would have to do with the players that are of the caliber you are speaking of. All the players to make money from go to the handful of sports agents that have a monopoly on the market. This really sounds more like a hobby/cool idea that could go really wrong really fast. But then again, it could pan out, I suppose. Connections are definitely a must, so at least you have that?

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:*5th round pick bypassing registered agency to sign Iowa 2L who asks the Internet if he's allowed to represent people*


I think you'd be surprised how many players projected to go on day three or undrafted sign with no-name agents. Obviously those agents have to be registered with the NFLPA, but often they don't have an established client base.


The large majority of prospects sign with agencies that have dozens of clients, and the large majority of people who attempt this never sign anyone who ever plays a down, but sure, pitch them on your commitment by letting them know that Orrick approves of your side hustle, and let me know how it goes.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby luckyirish13 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:53 pm

Scott Boras is probably a relevant person to study up on. He's the greatest agent in history, was a division 1 baseball player in college, attended law school (McGeorge) and then found his calling representing athletes due to his knowledge of both law and sports. Sounds similar to your situation OP.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Boras

Edit: And I won't comment about whether or not you can do Biglaw at the same time since I'm a 0L so I don't know.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:27 pm

luckyirish13 wrote:Scott Boras is probably a relevant person to study up on. He's the greatest agent in history, was a division 1 baseball player in college, attended law school (McGeorge) and then found his calling representing athletes due to his knowledge of both law and sports. Sounds similar to your situation OP.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Boras

Edit: And I won't comment about whether or not you can do Biglaw at the same time since I'm a 0L so I don't know.


OP Here:

Yup, Boras is definitely a guy who I think is relevant to my situation. Obviously I'm not banking on becoming a super-agent who's negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts, but Boras' early career path is similar to what I could see mine being (sports -> law school -> representing old teammates to get started in the business).

Thanks for the link man!

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:*5th round pick bypassing registered agency to sign Iowa 2L who asks the Internet if he's allowed to represent people*


I think you'd be surprised how many players projected to go on day three or undrafted sign with no-name agents. Obviously those agents have to be registered with the NFLPA, but often they don't have an established client base.


The large majority of prospects sign with agencies that have dozens of clients, and the large majority of people who attempt this never sign anyone who ever plays a down, but sure, pitch them on your commitment by letting them know that Orrick approves of your side hustle, and let me know how it goes.


I'm not here to argue about the feasibility of me becoming an agent in general, but I appreciate your input.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:01 pm

Everyone wants to be Ari Gold but realistically you have better chances of being struck by lightning twice in a row.

Start networking now and maybe you'll be lucky enough to not even have to set foot in a law firm as an associate but instead start your career as an agent. FYI, even with a master's/JD/whatever, you'll still start in the mailroom at a talent/sports agency. I've been told that's just the way the game is played but maybe someone with actual knowledge can weigh in on that.

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby Itiswritten » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:10 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:*5th round pick bypassing registered agency to sign Iowa 2L who asks the Internet if he's allowed to represent people*


I think you'd be surprised how many players projected to go on day three or undrafted sign with no-name agents. Obviously those agents have to be registered with the NFLPA, but often they don't have an established client base.


The large majority of prospects sign with agencies that have dozens of clients, and the large majority of people who attempt this never sign anyone who ever plays a down, but sure, pitch them on your commitment by letting them know that Orrick approves of your side hustle, and let me know how it goes.


Who are you and what are your bonafides, monochromatic egg?

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby Itiswritten » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:20 pm

OP here's an option, albeit, slightly different from what you articulated. So if it's not of interest to you, feel free to toss it in the garbage.

Biglaw firms often have sports attorneys and sports law divisions (i.e. Proskauer, Covington, hell, even Winston+Strawn has sports practice I think, etc.) This means they represent athletes in certain contractual matters, but also player classes in things like antitrust or other litigation matters.

Although you wouldn't technically be an 'agent' perse, you can still leverage your connections into business and can (in theory) work with high-profile clients.

Land a job in biglaw (probably transactional, but lit may have some unique sports opportunities)
Make that money and have that security
on the side, see if you have an athlete who will sign w/your firm
If you're bringing in business they'll let you do some sports practice work (partially, but keep in mind most of your work will likely still be traditional corporate work i.e. M&A)

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Re: Sports agent on the side while in biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:38 am

Itiswritten wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:*5th round pick bypassing registered agency to sign Iowa 2L who asks the Internet if he's allowed to represent people*


I think you'd be surprised how many players projected to go on day three or undrafted sign with no-name agents. Obviously those agents have to be registered with the NFLPA, but often they don't have an established client base.


The large majority of prospects sign with agencies that have dozens of clients, and the large majority of people who attempt this never sign anyone who ever plays a down, but sure, pitch them on your commitment by letting them know that Orrick approves of your side hustle, and let me know how it goes.


Who are you and what are your bonafides, monochromatic egg?


He has almost 2,000 posts on an Internet forum - the majority of which have a negative tone. He clearly doesn't have a working knowledge of the sports/entertainment industry, but he thinks he's qualified to provide advice on a very niche area. Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair!

Itiswritten wrote:OP here's an option, albeit, slightly different from what you articulated. So if it's not of interest to you, feel free to toss it in the garbage.

Biglaw firms often have sports attorneys and sports law divisions (i.e. Proskauer, Covington, hell, even Winston+Strawn has sports practice I think, etc.) This means they represent athletes in certain contractual matters, but also player classes in things like antitrust or other litigation matters.

Although you wouldn't technically be an 'agent' perse, you can still leverage your connections into business and can (in theory) work with high-profile clients.

Land a job in biglaw (probably transactional, but lit may have some unique sports opportunities)
Make that money and have that security
on the side, see if you have an athlete who will sign w/your firm
If you're bringing in business they'll let you do some sports practice work (partially, but keep in mind most of your work will likely still be traditional corporate work i.e. M&A)


This is very interesting to think about. I knew Proskauer had a pretty big sports practice, but I wasn't aware of what they really did (thought it was more representing leagues as a whole, etc.). I'll definitely look into those firms more, this was a very helpful post.

1styearlateral wrote:Everyone wants to be Ari Gold but realistically you have better chances of being struck by lightning twice in a row.

Start networking now and maybe you'll be lucky enough to not even have to set foot in a law firm as an associate but instead start your career as an agent. FYI, even with a master's/JD/whatever, you'll still start in the mailroom at a talent/sports agency. I've been told that's just the way the game is played but maybe someone with actual knowledge can weigh in on that.


While I think your general idea is correct, I also think that it's a mistake to group talent and sports agents together. The mailroom is more of a talent agent thing, I personally haven't heard of a single sports agent ever going through the mailroom. Hollywood is dominated by a few big firms (CAA, WME, etc.) while sports are much more spread out, negating the need for a fully staffed mailroom.



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