What is a “Sports Lawyer”?
The sports industry is complex and there is a growing demand for qualified sports law professionals with an array of expertise in law to effectively represent their clients whether they are professional or amateur athletes, leagues or clubs, sports venues and stadium owners and operators, or businesses or sports organizations.
Though “sports law” may sound niche, it is actually a broad industry crossing many areas of law.
Sports lawyers usually require skills like negotiation, drafting, and arbitration plus knowledge of various areas of law including: contracts, labor, antitrust, tax, intellectual property and media law.
Other areas of law, like immigration, can also come into play for foreign athletes and international leagues or clubs.
By studying under the umbrella, it is possible to get the broad range of skills necessary for today’s “sports law” practice and provides U.S. and international attorneys and law students superior training and an edge when breaking into this competitive industry.
Topics and courses that were once thought to relate exclusively to entertainment or art can also affect the sports sphere—sports personalities can have brand sponsorships, parts in films or TV shows, their likeness branded in video games or clothing, and more.
This track was ranked in the LLM. Guide's Top 10 Sports Law Programs of 2020 and also ranked #1 most popular in the U.S. by llm-guide. LL.M. Guide is the premier website with information on worldwide LL.M. programs with a directory of over 700 law schools. It bases its top-10 rankings on various factors including: concentrations, research capacity, existing rankings, interntational balance, and location.
Courses and Requirements
The LL.M. is two semesters consisting of required and elective courses, and a practicum. All courses are taught by Law School faculty and prominent practicing attorneys. The blended nature of the LL.M. enables students to maximize their studies and create a curriculum to match individual professional interests.
See Requirements for International Students Who Plan to Take the NY Bar
International students have the option to do a special course of study in the LL.M. in Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law to accumulate enough credits to comply with the State Board of Law Examiners’ requirements to qualify to sit for the New York Bar Exam. These students still complete the LL.M. in the same two-semester period and earn the same degree. If an international student does not want to take the N.Y. bar (or wants to take additional courses) he or she can use the additional courses for study of EASL electives of their choice.
Required Track Courses:
Sports Law (2 credits)
Negotiating and Drafting Sports Venue Agreements (2 credit)
Negotiating and Drafting the Purchase of a Minor League Baseball Team (1 credit)
Copyright Law (3 credits)
Trademark Law (2 credits)
Practicum (2 credits)
Required Elective Courses (that may be Substituted with Director's Permission):
NCAA Amateurism (1 credit)
Representing the Professional Athlete (1 credit)
Required NY Bar Courses:
* This course complies with the State Board of Law Examiners’ requirements to qualify to sit for the New York Bar Exam.
PREREQUISITES (4 of 6 required or equivalent): Administrative Law, Antitrust, Business Associations, Federal Income Tax, Labor Law, Trusts and Estates
Sports Law - Surveys antitrust, labor (collective bargaining, arbitration), publicity/privacy rights, and anti-discrimination law with a focus on the laws governing professional and collegiate leagues, teams and athletes.
Negotiation and Drafting Sports Venue Agreements - Provides the opportunity to negotiate and draft complex agreements and deal documents (stadium leases, naming rights, sponsorships, media rights, concerts, etc.).
Purchase and Sale of a Minor League Baseball Team - Provides opportunity to conduct negotiation and drafting sessions in the role of the attorney for the Franchise Seller/Purchaser resulting in final agreement and closing.
Copyright Law - Addresses the legal protection provided under the Copyright Act of 1976 (and subsequent amendments) for artistic, musical and literary works (including computer programs).
Trademark Law - Introduces U.S. law for trademarks, service marks and trade dress; also covers related state and common law doctrines and relevant international agreements.
Practicum - Affords students the opportunity for additional training in the workplace. Placements have included: Roc Nation, NBC Sports, Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Vikings, Legends, & Sony Music.
MIAMI LAW SPORTS LAW CONFERENCE
EXAMPLES OF ELECTIVE COURSE OPTIONS
International Sports Law
Representing the Professional Athlete
Representing the Professional Sports Franchise
Media & Entertainment in the Digital Age
Collective Bargaining in Entertainment/Sports
Entertainment Law: TV and Motion Pictures
Negotiating and Drafting for the Business of Entertainment
Union Organizing and Collective Bargaining in the Entertainment Industry
Intellectual Property: Transactions and Litigation
Business, Entertainment & Sports Immigration Law
Social Media and Online Liability
Vimeo, Twitter and Youtube: Online Liability and Net Neutrality
Taxation of Exempt Organizations
Entertainment & Sports Law Society / Annual Symposium Entertainment and Sport Symposium
(Pictured: Entertainment and Sports Law Society members at Hard Rock Staduim with the Miami Dolphins Organization for a Legal Learning Series event, fall 2016)
In addition there is a tradition of a focus on sports law at the University of Miami. The Entertainment and Sports Law Society(ESLS) is one of the most active student organizations.
The society has hosted an annual international symposium on Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law since 1997.
Miami – A Great Sports City
(Pictured: Students in the program meeting with Miami Heat VP and Associate General Counsel Vered Yako.)
Miami and South Florida are home to all major professional sports franchises in baseball, football, basketball and hockey, and soon soccer. The city also hosts major events and championships each year. Top-rated tennis players come to the prestigious Miami Open, and since 1935 the city has hosted one of the largest college bowl games – The Orange Bowl.
Only 20 miles south of the law school is Homestead-Miami Speedway, one of the leading venues on the NASCAR circuit. There is also the Polo World Cup featuring international teams which is held on Miami Beach. All this enables students to have site visits with general counsels on site and access to opportunities for their practicum requirement.
International Study Option: Global Sports and Entertainment Law Course
Offered in conjunction with the Madrid-based Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía (ISDE), a leader in legal education, Miami Law offers a course for law students and professionals who are interested in broadening their understanding of the global sports and entertainment industries and provides an understanding of the differences and similarities between the U.S. and the international entertainment and sports law landscapes.
SPORTS LAW TRACK LEADERSHIP
Peter Carfagna is Director of the Sports Law Track and is Chairman/CEO of Magis, LLC, a privately owned sports marketing, management and investment company, including family ownership of the Lake County Captains, Cleveland Indians Class A Affiliate. He also served as Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel of International Management Group (IMG) - world's premier and most diversified sports, entertainment and media company. Before that he was Senior Partner at Jones Day LLP where he worked as outside counsel to the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers’ ownership groups.
Sports Track Committee: The Sports Track Committee provides advice as it relates to curriculum, guest speakers and practicum opportunities students should be seeking based on industry trends. Members include:
Mason Ashe, Founder and CEO, Ashe Sports & Entertainment Consulting, Inc.
Charles Baker, Chair, O'Melveny's Sports Industry Group
Darren Heitner, Founder of Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C.
Mike Kelly, Retired Managing Partner Morgan Lewis
Kim Miale, NFL Agent and General Counsel at Roc Nation Sports
John Ruzich - Senior Vice President, Legends
Adam Schlatner, Attorney, Cozen O'Connor
Charles Baker is Co-Chair of O’Melveny’s Sports Industry Group. Chuck's corporate practice encompasses mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and venture capital transactions, with a core focus in the sports, media and consumer sectors.
Michael Kelly practiced antitrust law in the Washington, D.C. Office of MorganLewis for thirty years, where his antitrust clients included some of the world's leaders in the industries of professional sports, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics, and energy.
Oliver Luck is the NCAA’s first executive vice president of regulatory affairs and oversees all NCAA regulatory functions – enforcement, academic and membership affairs, and the eligibility center.
Irwin Raij is a partner in O'Melveny's Entertainment, Sports & Media Practice Group and Co-Chair of the Sports Industry Group. Raij has extensive experience throughout the sports industry, representing buyers and sellers of professional sports teams, guiding stadium development projects, and negotiating licensing, advertising, and media rights agreements.
Adam J. Schlatner is a Member at Cozen O-Connor and an expert in complex commercial litigation.
Steven Silton is a member at Cozen O’Connor LLP in Minneapolis and represents sports leagues, franchises, club owners and athletes and at Miami Law teaches “Representing a Professional Sports Franchise.”
Professor of Law and Dean Emerita Patricia White served as tax advisor to the Economic Study Committee of Major League Baseball, and advises the Sports Law track of the program. She has also served on the NCAA Compliance Committee for the University of Utah.