Sports law is a niche that not many people know about, yet it’s still an important part of the sports industry. With the industry expected to be valued at over $600 billion by 2022, having a system of checks and regulations reassures fans, players, coaches, and clubs that the hard work of each team isn’t exploited and that they get the best deals possible. From contracts to trademark laws to tax issues, sports lawyers are critical in making sure that sports can be enjoyed without worrying about the industry’s financial and legal aspects.
What is a sports lawyer?
Sports lawyers, like regular lawyers, “represent the legal interests of their clients” and work to ensure that things work out for the best for their clients. Their client pool ranges from individual players, athletes, coaching staff, and whole teams at times. While their clients are on the field doing their job, sports lawyers take care of the plays that happen behind the scenes—in a high-stress environment such as the sports industry, a minute problem can become a major factor in their client’s career later down the road.
As a sports lawyer, you’ll secure and negotiate contracts, facilitate sponsorships between brands and your client, resolve any labor disputes that may arise, and be representative of your client in court against any criminal charges and allegations. You’ll also be in charge of lawsuits for any potential breaches of contract, harassment your client may receive, or other similar subject matters. Most importantly, however, you’re the spokesperson for your client: a barrier between the star you’re defending and the mass media.
How do you become a sports lawyer?
As previously stated, being in sports law is just a branch of the law system. To become a sports lawyer, you’ll need to attend law school just like any other lawyer. Law school typically lasts about three years, all of which need to be finished in an allotted time frame. You’ll also need an undergraduate degree, and though there’s no specific degree that you need to get into law school, having a degree in programs like political science, history or philosophy will give you an edge in law school.
Law school is no joke either—like sports, it’s competitive and draining, especially if you get into one of the top law schools. If sports law is a career you want to pursue, prepare yourself for long nights of reading, preparing for exams, and plenty of debates with both your classmates and your professors.