Help Me Hillary: Going into Sports Law
Help me Hillary:
I am a litigator at a well respected New Jersey law firm. My first love, however, is sports - namely baseball, football, and auto racing - and I am interested in using my experience in the sports industry (e.g. - sports agency, in-house counsel, team management, etc.). I am finding it nearly impossible to obtain any information on how to make this transition.
Do you have any advice for me?
Sports law, like entertainment law, is an area that most lawyers get into through "schmoozing", rather than through formal job listings. There are occasionally job listings for in house counsel at major sports organizations--try looking for them through the American Corporate Counsel Association Web Site, acca.com , or in the Wall Street Journal. You can check these out, but chances are, you should concentrate on trying to meet people who are already in the field, and networking with them.
According to Mike Schiumo, Fordham University Law School's Assistant Dean for Career Planning, a good, and often overlooked place to start, is to set up a meeting with your law school's career planning center, and ask for names of alumni who are in sports law. Then, try to set up short meetings with them. "Networking is doubly important in areas like sports law, that a lot of people want to get into," according to Schiumo. He advises contacting your alma mater's business school as well, if there is one, for more names. Another source of names and possible introductions is your bar association's committee on sports and entertainment law. You should definitely get involved, and actually go to the meetings (don't just read what they send you in the mail!). According to Schiumo, bar associations often also sponsor programs in sports law with outside speakers that you can meet. (If they don't, I personally think a great idea to offer to plan a program yourself--that way you get to pick speakers that you really want to meet) ~
Because sports and entertainment law are so sought after, you need to be really serious about your knowledge of the field and do your research. "Do something that really shows your commitment, like writing a law journal article," said Schiumo. "Give yourself plenty of time to make the transition, so that you can really sell yourself and know what you are talking about in an interview," he advises.
Check out the Vault law board for more information. Also, the American Bar Association has published a great book on the subject called "Careers in Sports Law " that you should read. I also think you should look into taking a week off and volunteering at the upcoming Olympics-you might make contacts, and you will have some sports-related experience to put on your resume.
Even though sports law is a competitive field, I think that this a great time to look. Because the job market is still good for lawyers, you have a window of opportunity now, that you might not have later. Networking can be tough at first, but has a way of leading to great opportunities. So, go for it...and best of luck!
If you have your own question for Hillary send her an email to Help me Hillary.
Hillary Mantis, Esq.,is a career counselor and author of career books. She is the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers and Jobs for Lawyers: Effective Techniques for Getting Hired in Today's Legal Marketplace.
Ms. Mantis consults with individuals and corporations on issues including: career transition, career advancement and direction, interviewing skills, leadership development, women in the workplace, and professional growth. She has been affiliated with Fordham University School of Law Career Planning Center for the past six years, and has been a career counselor for over ten years. She is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School. For more information about private career counseling, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.mynewcareer.net.