Being a sports lawyer is an exciting and varied job and the role might be quite different than what you imagine it to be. Whether you aim to become a sports lawyer or want to hire one, you might want to know all about this role. No two days of a sports lawyer are the same.
Knowledge and passion for sports are naturally beneficial for a sports lawyer. But this comes only second to the knowledge of the law. Sports lawyers are judged on the quality of advice that they provide. Extensive knowledge about the law is important to provide value to their clients.
It’s easy to imagine them negotiating contacts and advising high profile athletes. While it is part of their role, there is more to it. Sports lawyers carry out a vast variety of tasks, which include:
- Advising on termination of professional player contracts in a variety of sports.
- Negotiating settlement agreements.
- Advising on large scale projects like training ground redevelopment, stadium development, and infrastructure legal issues.
- Advising on international law related to sports employment law, commercial and regulatory sports law.
- Advising on Acquisitions and Mergers.
- Advising on sports injury compensation, medical negligence, and incapacity terminations.
- Advising on licences, sponsorship, and agreements.
- Advising on image rights, intellectual property protection and disputes.
Sports lawyers must dip into most areas of law to help and advise their clients. Some parts of the law, such as anti-doping codes and disciplinary procedures, are unique to sports but professional clubs and athletes need legal advice on a vast array of topics.
You might have imagined that the time of most sports lawyers is taken up by football. While football clubs and players deal with large amounts of circumstances like contracts and sponsorships which require legal advice, most professional athletes need a sports lawyer.
From fitness instructors to Olympians, there are a huge number of people who can benefit from the experience and expertise of a lawyer. Sports lawyers will not just have athletes as their clients. They also work with national governing bodies, international federations, event organisers, public agencies, broadcasters, sports equipment manufacturers and many more.
Why Are Sports Lawyers So Important?
- Sports is a global industry that is worth billions of dollars. With so much money at stake, contract law becomes essential.
- Contracts play a crucial role in ensuring that players understand their responsibilities towards sports and also ensuring that they are treated fairly.
- Many professional clubs include moral clauses in their contracts, which gives them the authority to withhold wages or to terminate the deal if the actions of the player disrepute the organisation.
- Contracts also ensure that big players are rewarded and protected. This includes providing extra financial assistance for the scored points, created assists, and appearances made.
- Contracts are so crucial and sports lawyers play an even more crucial role in curating such contracts.
An injury can side-line a professional player for weeks or even months, and a nasty injury can even end all the sporting dreams of the player. Sports lawyers represent their clients in compensation claims, thereby helping the players get big settlements to bridge the gap between the end of a sporting career to the beginning of another. Sports lawyers might also file a lawsuit against the current employer of the player or a third party who is responsible for the career-ending tackle.
Sports lawyers help professional teams in a lot of aspects like finding new owners, sourcing funds to avoid winding down of orders, assisting in setting up new clubs and franchisees. Sports stars have the potential to make colossal money by lending their name to products.
Companies can create brand awareness and boost sales through their association with well-known athletes or clubs. Sports lawyers assist with intellectual property rights to facilitate fair deals between the sponsors and the players. They also litigate against anyone who misuses the name of the client without prior permission.
Here are a few things that you should consider before you decide who you will entrust with this vital role.
Experience: Ensure that the sports lawyer of your choice spans the complete spectrum of a wide range of legal matters associated with the sports industry. Some lawyers might have years of experience and still not have the experience of dealing with a lot of legal issues. While some others might have dealt with a wide array of issues in a short period.
Fully Comprehensive Services: You might be involved in college or amateur athletics. As your career progresses and unfolds, you must ensure that the representative you choose is well capable to cater to your requirements.
Range of Client Service: Sports law is a niche industry and hence you need to know that the lawyer you choose has good reviews from a wide range of client bases.
International Expertise: This might not seem to be important during the early stages of your sports career. But the ability to negotiate laws that encroach into other countries and their jurisdiction is essential for the continuity of services.
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