The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.
Jared Bartie, Co-Chair—Sports Industry Group
Jared Bartie is a nationally recognized sports attorney and O’Melveny’s Sports Industry group co-chair and partner co-head of Diversity and Inclusion. He has been named a “Dealmaker” by Variety, a “Power-Player” by SportsBusiness Journal, “Sports Attorney of the Year” by the National Bar Association, and—most recently
—one of the “Most Influential Black Lawyers in America” by Savoy Magazine.
Jared’s career uniquely encompasses both the legal and business professional sports and entertainment experience. He has served as chief legal officer and general counsel of the United States Tennis Association; general counsel and chief administrative officer of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats; and an executive in the National Basketball Association’s renowned Team Marketing and Business Operations group.
He represents domestic and international clients on a variety of high-profile matters, including professional sports team investments, stadium and arena transactions, prominent facility naming rights and sponsorship transactions, and complex media rights agreements.
Jared has also developed a robust practice in the burgeoning esports industry and advises on team investments, league entry negotiations, corporate sponsorships, player contract discussions, and arena development matters.
Describe your practice area and what it entails.
I am a trusted advisor to team owners, executives, and in-house counsel throughout the sports industry. I handle a broad array of matters related to traditional “stick-and-ball” sports and have developed a thriving practice related to the emerging esports sector.
What types of clients do you represent?
I represent professional sports leagues, teams, governing bodies, buyers and sellers of sports properties, media entities, global apparel and footwear companies, stadiums and arenas, municipal bodies, and collegiate athletic conferences.
What types of cases/deals do you work on?
I lead various matters related to the sports sector, including M&A transactions, facility naming rights matters, media rights deals, sponsorship transactions, and stadium/arena-related agreements.
How did you choose this practice area?
My love of sports, both playing (when I was much younger) and as a spectator, influenced my career choice. I realized at an early age that I didn’t have the talent to play at the professional level. So instead, I forged a path to align my passion for sports with my desire to be a lawyer.
What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?
A typical day consists of working with our clients to address issues affecting their businesses and finding ways to mitigate or eliminate challenges, while at the same time maximizing opportunities that position them for success.
What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
There are no set criteria for becoming a sports lawyer. However, a solid foundation in various core courses—such as legal writing and drafting, corporate transactions, finance, tax, negotiations, and labor relations—will prove to be useful in pursuing a career in sports. Internships that afford an opportunity to experience and gain an understanding of the business of sports are highly recommended.
What do you like best about your practice area?
I enjoy the diversity of work and that it is affiliated with something I truly enjoy: sports.
What misconceptions exist about your practice area?
The biggest misconception is that the industry and the work related to it is all glitz and glamour. While the work is certainly more interesting than many other areas of law, it requires a dedicated commitment to the craft, long hours, and being well versed in a number of areas of the law.
What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?
Junior attorneys are important members of the team. They participate in a wide range of areas, including attending strategy meetings, conducting research, preparing memoranda, preparing drafts of various types of documents, conducting diligence, managing deal closings, and handling many other essential contributions. As is the case with many roles, those who are diligent in their preparation and put forth quality work product often have the opportunity to take on greater responsibility.
What are some typical career paths for lawyers in this practice area?
There are a number of career opportunities for lawyers working within the sports sector. It is not uncommon for lawyers in private practice to move in-house to work with leagues, teams, media companies, agencies, or governing bodies. Many lawyers transition to business positions and have held roles as commissioners, team presidents, agents, and network heads, to name a few. Solid legal training provides a gateway to a number of career opportunities within the sports sector.