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Sports and Entertainment Law: 5 Things You Need To Know

Published March 12, 2018

Sports and Entertainment Law is a desirable career path for many aspiring lawyers because it incorporates their love for entertainers and athletes with the practice of law. Not to mention, the fact that famous people are confiding and trusting you to advocate on their behalf. The reality is that this career path incorporates many other areas of law that you might not expect.

1. You’ll be a jack of all trades

Sports and Entertainment Law encompasses several legal areas, just applied to athletes and entertainers. Depending on what your client needs, you may be expected to handle anything from criminal matters to contract disputes, estate planning to intellectual property issues. The range is very wide, so you must be able to deliver in several different areas. If you do not have an expertise in an area that is requested of you, you should know another lawyer who is to ensure your client always gets the best representation.

2. You’ll probably have to specialize first

There are not many sports and entertainment law lawyers who are fresh out of law school. The immediate years after law school are typically spent developing an expertise in a substantive area of law in order to gain the experience necessary to properly represent an athlete or an entertainer with a multifaceted need for representation. While you are in law school, you should try to make connections with attorneys who are doing the work you desire to do. You should also gain an internship or fellowship in the area you intend to go into. 

3. You can’t do it all

There are many different types of Sports and Entertainment lawyers. Check out the ABA’s Entertainment Law 101 for a breakdown in the different types of areas you can specialize in as an Entertainment lawyer. The article also includes these tips:

  • Know your stuff. Study contract law, intellectual property, tax, corporate, and any applicable entertainment guild law.
  • Attorney before groupie. Appreciate your client’s talent but never be in awe of them. If you are a fan first, you will be unable to perform the cold calculations necessary to properly advise and help them.
  • Location, location, location. Los Angeles, New York, and Nashville are key hubs where the deals get done.
  • Study the culture. Read entertainment biographies and industry news periodicals (Variety, Billboard, etc.). Whatever others in your biz watch, read, or listen to, you must as well.

(via ABA)

4. You’ll adapt to changing times and technology

Whether it is a change in technology or change in the laws, you must stay up-to-date and be on the leading edge of your industry. Sports and Entertainment Law requires flexibility, adaption to change, and innovation. Keep up-to-date on industry news and changes by following UB School of Law’s Sports and Entertainment Blog.

5. You’ll work around the clock

Practicing law in this area is not a nine to five type of job. Your clients will need your time and attention around the clock. Be prepared to never have the same workday twice!

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Amber Melvin, Esq.'13 is the Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator for the Office of Admissions.


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