Join Your Law School’s Sports and Entertainment Law Society or Found It Yourself

One of the coolest and more beneficial things I have stumbled upon since being in law school is the idea of a Sports Law/Sports and Entertainment Law Society.

For anyone that is in the same boat as me—i.e. looking to have a career in sports as an attorney—the Sports and Entertainment Law Society at your respective law school (or undergrad if applicable) is a good start as far as putting yourself out there and trying to discover more about the field.

Through this organization, networking opportunities that would not otherwise be available become available. You’re able to meet experts in the field that can provide advice and interesting stories on their experiences in their work as an attorney in the sports industry. On top of that, you are getting the opportunity to work with likeminded people that are in the same position as you and who also love sports.

Many law schools have these types of organizations so it is as simple as going to an introductory meeting and joining through signing up and possibly paying dues. Once you sign up, continue building up the program and carrying on what is hopefully an already successful and worthwhile organization.

For those of you who do not have a Sports Law/Sports & Entertainment Law Society, this presents an even BIGGER opportunity. If it’s not there, nothing should stop you from forming it yourself—if you are passionate about it. This presents—not only a great resume booster—a great opportunity to build something special and fun for not only yourself, but others in the law school who may not have thought of the idea of a sports law society. It also provides a path for those that come along after you have left that will undoubtedly be interested in the sports law industry. Whatever the case, joining will allow for opportunities that lead to careers, contacts, or more.

As for my experience, I had the chance to be a co-founder of the Sports & Entertainment Law Society at the University of Memphis Law School.

A few months ago, one of my friends at law school approached me and a few others with the idea of founding/re-starting the Sports & Entertainment Law Society at our law school because he knew that he and I have similar aspirations. I immediately was interested and could already see the benefits of starting something as great as a society that combines the law with sports—especially with friends in my law school class that shared the same interests.

Before I knew it, we had been granted allowance to re-start the society and we drafted our constitution for approval (it was approved). After that, we advertised the society and tried to get as many people to join as possible. Much to our astonishment, there was a great amount of interest among the law school student body, which was a pleasant surprise because we knew we now had an opportunity to build something worthwhile.

So far, we have had a very successful beginning to the Sports & Entertainment Law Society. Not only have we attracted many other law students to want to join, but we have put together programs with speakers who have taken their law degree and have had an accomplished career in the sports world.

Since we are in Memphis, we have tried to utilize all local connections in an effort to build a strong home base and connections within the city. Guests have included Zach Kleiman (General Counsel for the Memphis Grizzlies), Lionel Hollins (former head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies), and Greg Gaston (former founder of the Sports & Entertainment Law Society at Memphis Law/Manager of Business Development for the Memphis Tigers Sports Properties with Learfield Sports). All have provided valuable insight into the sports law world and into different professions post-law school. We already have several more guest speakers scheduled and know that the society will only grow bigger and better in the years to come.

This was not accomplished without some help, however. We also had the opportunity to reach out to friends at different law schools that had already established Sports Law Societies and they provided valuable insight into starting it up (many of the friends we asked came from our connections at the Oregon Law School Summer Sports Law Institute).

With that said, I highly encourage all readers—if interested—to join your law school’s Sports Law Society or start your own. It is well worth the time and can only help you grow in your potential. If you are looking to start your own, I also welcome any questions on how we went about starting ours up at Memphis Law. My contact information is in the “Contact” tab and I am glad to answer any and all questions.

As always, thank you for reading and God Bless!

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar

—Dale Hutcherson

 

Motivation Monday: Never Peak

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and is having an even better start to a new year (for law students, I hope you survived finals). With the new year in the works, I’d like to begin by making some improvements and more frequent posts on TASL Blog. I have had many ideas over the past month since finals have ended and really want to be able to make some big and positive changes in many facets of life.

With that said, one of the new ideas I have for the blog is “Motivation Monday” where I would like to write an article that encourages, inspires, and provides some motivation for those pursuing their professional dreams—particularly those that want to pursue something in sports law. And what better forum to do this? A blog about sports and law should definitely have some sort of motivational aspect given that we as a society associate sports with motivation, determination, and a means to learn something greater than a game and apply the lessons in our daily lives.

In today’s Motivation Monday post (hopefully the first of many), I want to touch on what I believe is a very important lesson to remember in our daily lives and in our constant pursuit of a dream—the concept of never peaking. And what does that mean to “never peak?” Well, the best way to explain it came to me this past December as I was watching my youngest brother and my high school alma mater play for a state championship—and win—in football.

As I was sitting in the stands and watching a great team full of really solid athletes play for a state championship I thought, “Wow, what an experience and chance of a lifetime. They’ll never get to experience something like this again. It doesn’t get much better than that.” But then I thought back to my playing days… I had a great experience.  I had a pretty good career. Heck, I was even named first team all-state and went on to play four years of college ball. But looking back—though they were great experiences and nothing is wrong with appreciating it—none of it really matters anymore. Outside of the relationships built and the friendships made, none of the records matter. None of the accolades amounted to anything much. Honestly, I think I was the first quarterback (or one of the firsts) from my high school to ever be named to the all-state team and literally no one has mentioned it to me since I received the honor. This is not to say I want them to or that I am asking for praise—I’m not. I simply say this to prove the point that all of that really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of life. The lessons that are taken away from the games are what matter.

The same can be said for anything else as well. Valedictorian of your class? Great. Chess Champion? Awesome. State championship in football? Love it. But, all those things really should do is help to set a higher expectation for something greater later. This is not to say that those types of accomplishments are completely meaningless and that you shouldn’t be proud of your accomplishments—you should. Nothing is wrong with taking pride in accomplishing something that you have worked so hard for; however, use it as a stepping stone to continuously succeed and move on to bigger and better things—plus it’s also a good thing to leave a legacy behind that will be continued by others (different article for a different time).

So, with that said, I continued thinking about what I wanted my little brother and his friends to get out of their experience—plus I started thinking about my life and how I want to approach my dreams and the process of attaining my goals.

In my research of professionals that are in the type roles that I aspire to be in one day, I have come across some great people who offer great advice for not only career stuff, but for life as well. For those of you not familiar with a sports law pro by the name of Andrew Brandt (ESPN Legal Analyst; interviewed him earlier), he has a hashtag in his twitter bio that says, “#NeverPeak.”

To me, never peaking is like a daily life motto each of us should live by in this fast-paced world where succeeding requires constant work. You almost have to approach dream chasing and goal setting with a “what have you done for me lately” mentality. This allows you to not dwell on past accomplishments, but to move forward in life so that you can continuously succeed at new things and continue to accomplish new goals. Sure, celebrate the victories; but continue to approach the next day as if there is a whole new agenda—I truly believe this is what many successful people do in their careers.

For my little brother and his teammates; for myself and others pursuing a career: let today be a new day with new goals to get you to a better end goal. Do not dwell on past accomplishments—appreciate them and take lessons away from them as you move forward. Never Peak and move on to the next phase so that you will be a constant success in whatever it is you want to do.

To finish this Motivation Monday up, I encourage myself and others that are willing to read into these posts to Never Peak. Constantly strive for something greater than what you’ve already accomplished. It is a good thing to have a constant hunger to be more than you were the day before and to constantly improve. It will allow you to have a higher ceiling in all that you do and will provide a constant ambition so that you may accomplish your goals, dreams, and aspirations.

I hope that this post has provided some sort of motivation—please give feedback—as I think this Motivation Monday thing will be a good theme throughout the year. There will be more to come including these types of posts, interviews from sports law professionals, and other experiences I am facing in my pursuit of a career as the year comes along.

Again, all feedback is appreciated and I hope you feel like sharing this post as many could use words of encouragement and motivation on any given day—especially Mondays.

Thank you for reading and God Bless!

#NeverPeak” – Andrew Brandt

—Dale Hutcherson

Interview with Family Man/Sports Executive/Keynote Speaker/Humanitarian David Meltzer

As I go further into my journey to find a place in the sports law world, I have had the opportunity to network and research many great sports law professionals. This has led to finding interesting and role model-type people to model my journey after. One of those people that is extremely influential on aspiring attorneys and business professionals is David Meltzer.

David Meltzer is as versatile a person as you will find in the sports industry. He is the CEO of Sports 1 Marketing, a Forbes “Top 10 Keynote Speaker,” a national best-selling author, humanitarian, life coach, and most importantly, a family man.

Meltzer, like several successful people in the sports law world, received his Juris Doctorate Degree from Tulane University Law School. He also has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and executive in the legal, technology, sports, and entertainment fields.

As far as Sports 1 Marketing goes, he is the co-founder along with Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon. With Sports 1 Marketing, Meltzer has grown his clients’ marketing and endorsement potential and represented clients in many different sports. Some of his projects with Sports 1 Marketing have included the NFL Player’s Association, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Super Bowl, and The Master’s, just to name a few.

David began his career in sports with Leigh Steinberg Sports & Entertainment (Jerry Maguire is based off of Steinberg) where he helped in negotiating over $2 billion in sports and entertainment contracts. Meltzer is also a media personality with many national publications including Forbes and ESPN. As far as his humanitarian work, David was recognized for his efforts and honored at Variety’s Unite4:Humanity event as the Sports Humanitarian of the year.

Outside of the sports industry, he is known as a successful entrepreneur, best-selling author (books include: Connected to Goodness, and Compassionate Capitalism: A Journey to the Soul of Business), and life coach. On top of all of that, David is a family man with his wife and four children.

A friend I met at Oregon’s Sports Law Institute told me all about David, and I knew I had to secure an interview with him for The Aspiring Sports Lawyer Blog. I hope you enjoy and can take away valuable, meaningful, and motivational advice from one of the leading executives in the industry:

 

TASL: Could you explain your journey as far as getting into the sports law world and how you went about working your way into your profession?

Meltzer: While I was in undergrad at Occidental College, I visited my brother in med-school at UCLA. I quickly realized I did not want to be a doctor so I went to Law School instead. I got my law degree from Tulane University and then got a job in the technology industry. Westlaw, the newest division (at the time) of West Publishing, the world’s largest legal publisher, had an opportunity for me to sell legal resources on the Internet. I was with Westlaw for seven years where I became the Sales Director before leaving for Everypath, eventually meeting the CEO of Samsung. I was hired as the CEO of Samsung’s PC-E Phone Cyberbank Division, which would eventually become the world’s first smartphone. I chose to semi-retire and leave the company to become an entrepreneur at only 35 years old. I was rich and became a venture capitalist, creating my own businesses, buying tons of real estate, and invested in new businesses. I eventually went bankrupt and was forced to start over. I was connected with Leigh Steinberg to complete a simple one-time contract but ended up getting hired as the COO of his famous sports agency. I had always secretly dreamed of being a sports agent so this was my chance to at least get close to living that dream. My first day, I stepped into my new office that was between Leigh and Hall of Fame Quarterback, Warren Moon. Warren and I ran Leigh’s business for him as he was in and out of rehab throughout my time there. I was eventually promoted to CEO and ran the whole operation. Warren and I knew we were enabling Leigh and needed to get out which is when we left and started Sports 1 Marketing in 2010. We were profitable within the first month of business and have only continued to grow until today.

TASL: You are clearly well-rounded in many different areas including the business, legal, marketing, and public speaking/writing realms. How has getting your J.D. helped you in accomplishing all that you have done?

Meltzer: Getting my J.D. forced me to hone my critical thinking skills, which are critical to success in any arena. Being able to understand and effectively communicate different frames or viewpoints can help you in any industry. I also think my understanding of contracts has been very beneficial to the businesses that I operate.

TASL: What advice would you give aspiring sports lawyers that are in law school now and looking to find a job in the sports law world? What should they be doing now and what steps would you recommend they take both immediately and in the future?

Meltzer: I like to have people take a good look at their friends and associates, because your friends are your future. If you want to be a sports lawyer, start associating with individuals who are (or have been) sports lawyers. Find out where they hang out or what charities they work with, and then seek them out. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they will mentor you and share the knowledge that they have gained throughout their careers. They have already paid a “dummy tax” and you can avoid it yourself by being more interested than interesting.

TASL: Given your extensive knowledge in the field, what do you think employers are looking for most in a candidate for an internship/externship/entry-level position with a professional sports team or sports agency?

Meltzer: It is a pretty hackneyed piece of advice to tell people “make sure you stand out from the crowd”, but I think it is really applicable to the sports industry. Especially true in entry-level positions in sports organizations, you are going to need to be recognized as someone who brings unique assets to the team if you want to advance. At Sports 1 Marketing, we are looking for employees who stand out in four specific areas. Those are gratitude, empathy, accountability, and effective communication. If you can use the principles that set you apart to get your foot in the door and stay there, you are going to be ahead of the game.

TASL: It is clear that you are a professional that wears many hats—especially considering you are a keynote speaker, life coach, CEO, humanitarian—what is your favorite position that you hold and why?

Meltzer: I’m going to cheat and say two related positions: teacher and student. I really relish having a bunch of young people in the office with whom I can share the situational knowledge I’ve gained throughout my career. I say a prayer every day asking for ten people to be put in front of me to help and I think teaching is a big part of that. The flip side of the coin, of course, is being a student. I advise everyone to have at least three mentors to learn from and I’ve got some great ones, including Hall of Famers, best-selling authors, and business tycoons. I try as much as I possibly can from people, especially if they have some mastered some skill that I need help with.

TASL: Last question, if you could give one piece of advice to those of us that aspire to find a career in sports law and make an impact in sports law like you have, what would it be?

Meltzer: Get inspired. If you really want to do something, being inspired to accomplish it and remaining connected to that inspiration can and will make a difference.

 

To read more about David Meltzer and his many positions and accomplishments, check out his bio here: http://www.meltzermission.com/david-meltzer-bio/. Also, give him a follow on twitter for motivation, advice, and his take on sports and the sports industry @davidmeltzer.

Sports 1 Marketing website: https://sports1marketing.com.

Also, here is a good video on YouTube with David Meltzer that will provide some motivation and insight into his perspective and philosophy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YgyBfBfqHo.

Thank you for reading and God Bless!

“Get inspired. If you really want to do something, being inspired to accomplish it and remaining connected to that inspiration can and will make a difference.” – David Meltzer

– Interview and Information compiled by Dale Hutcherson; Interview coordinated by Bradley Hartman; Questions answered by David Meltzer.

Interview with Sports Illustrated Writer/Law Professor/Sports Attorney Michael McCann

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on Michael McCann’s sports law class concerning Sports Scandals at the University of Oregon School of Law Summer Sports Institute.

Michael McCann is a legal analyst and writer for Sports Illustrated and he is a law professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law where he founded their Sports and Entertainment Law Institute. He received his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law and his LLM from Harvard Law School. As far as his work as a sports attorney, McCann served as counsel for Maurice Clarett in the 2004 case, Clarett v. National Football League, which dealt with the NFL’s age eligibility rule. With SI, he has analyzed and written about sports law topics concerning Peyton Manning’s HGH allegations, arbitration issues in the NFL, NHL, and other sports leagues, “Deflategate” in New England, and many other interesting/stimulating topics in sports. To see some of his work with Sports Illustrated, check out this link: http://www.si.com/author/michael-mccann

After sitting in his class, I knew I had to secure an interview with him for The Aspiring Sports Lawyer (“TASL”) blog and he graciously agreed. Below is the interview:

TASL: Could you explain your journey as far as getting into the sports law world and how you went about working your way into this type of legal profession?

McCann:  When I was a 3L at UVA Law in 2002, I published a note in the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal on the legality of age restrictions and high school players entering the NBA. A couple of years after I graduated from law school, a college football player named Maurice Clarett sued the NFL over its age eligibility rule. I got in touch with Clarett’s attorney, Alan Milstein, and let him know what I wrote. I then joined Clarett’s legal team. It was a great experience, even though we did not win the case. I tell my students my entrance into sports law was through writing on a timely topic.

TASL: What advice would you give aspiring sports lawyers that are in law school now and looking to find a job in the sports law world? What should they be doing now and what steps would you recommend they take both immediately and in the future?

McCann: It depends on what area of sports law you want to go into, but if you want to pursue sports litigation, my advice is to become a great attorney first. Sports law is like any other area of law: the best attorneys in the field are really outstanding attorneys. They are highly skilled, knowledgeable and hard working.

TASL: Where do you see the sports law industry going in the future? Is it a growing field or do you think it has leveled out? Are athletes, teams, and other sports actors in need of one particular type of law expertise over another (i.e. antitrust law, labor law, intellectual property law, etc.)?

McCann: I think sports law will continue to grow. Sports is a growth industry and thus more and different types of legal disputes will arise. Intellectual property, antitrust and labor law are all key areas of sports law.

TASL: Could you comment on arbitration within sports leagues like the NHL and the issues that come along with third party arbitrators versus arbitrators chosen by the league administration?

McCann: I think we’ve seen in sports and in other industries that neutral arbitration is a better format for dispute resolution than the same person being the fact-finder, punisher and arbitrator. Neutral arbitration is more credible and thus less likely to lead to doubts about completeness, accuracy and objectivity.

TASL: Last question, if you could give one piece of advice to those of us that aspire to find a career in sports law and have an impact in sports law like you have had, what would it be?

McCann: Many law students hope they will be hired into a sports law job right out of law school. The reality is that legal jobs in pro sports almost always go to attorneys who have several years of experience and who have already developed reputations for excellence in the practice of law. If you want to become an attorney for a pro team or litigate on behalf of leagues or players’ associations, my advice is to gain skills while in law school related to the practice of law (especially in areas related to sports, including most obviously sports law but also IP, antitrust, labor and business transactions) and then hone those skills as a practicing attorney. They could be honed at a law firm, or as a prosecutor or a public defender, or at a company. But become a great lawyer and then breaking into sports becomes a much more accessible path.

 

To read more about Michael McCann and to read his take on sports scandals and the legal side of current issues in sports, follow him on twitter @McCannSportsLaw.

Thank you for reading and God Bless!

“Become a great lawyer and then breaking into sports becomes a much more accessible path.” – Michael McCann

– Interview and Information compiled by Dale Hutcherson; questions answered by Michael McCann.