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Which Law School Breeds Success?

Should I go to law school?  What law school should I go to?  Should I go to a law school that has a sports law specialty?  What should I Major in at my undergraduate institution?  Do my Minors matter?

Those are some of the most common questions that I receive by email, even though all of those queries have been answered on this blog and its accompanying Forum.  Yesterday, Sports Law Blog further backed my common answer, which is that there really is none at all.

The most successful agents have attended a variety of law schools.  Some are in the top tier, others you may have never heard of before.  A few have decent Sports Law programs while others do not even have a single Sports Law class (like my lovely UF Law).  See this list that I compiled with the help of our extensive database of interviews along with some additional research:

  • Ben Dogra (CAA Football) – St. Louis University Law School
  • Scott Boras (Boras Corp) – McGeorge School of Law
  • Arn Tellem (WMG) – University of Michigan Law School
  • Drew Rosenhaus (Rosenhaus Sports) – Duke University School of Law
  • Paul Sheehy (Pro Star) – Whittier College School of Law
  • Rick Walden (Dishon & Walden) – University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • Steve Kauffman (Kauffman Sports Management) – University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Mark Steinberg (IMG Golf) – University of Illinois College Of Law
  • Steve Herz (IF Management) – Vanderbilt University School of Law
  • David Canter (DEC Management) – University Of Miami School Of Law
  • Kevin Gold (Longsnap.com) – Widener University School of Law
  • Scott Casanover (MAC Sports & Entertainment) – Washington University School of Law
  • Peter Webb (Gaylord Sports Management) – New York Law School
  • Jim Kuzmich (GAAMES) – University of Oklahoma-College of Law
  • Max Eppel (MESA) – Court School of Law (England)
  • Leigh Steinberg – UC Berkeley Boalt School of Law
  • David Falk – George Washington University Law School
  • Rob Pelinka – University of Michigan Law School
  • Tom Condon (CAA Football) – University of Baltimore Law School
  • Eugene Parker (Maximum Sports) – Valparaiso University School of Law
The only law school listed more than once on this extremely diverse list is the University of Michigan, but that should not be an indication that Michigan will prepare you any more than another law school to be a successful sports agent.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

16 replies on “Which Law School Breeds Success?”

I think a good MBA program (concentrating in marketing) will probably better prepare you for the day to day business operations of an agent than the JD you’ll occasionally use in a negotiation. Almost all big time agents (even the ones with law degrees), still retain legal counsel to overview contracts and handle litigation issues.

I am currently a 2L at Seton Hall School of Law, and while no big agents have come from my school (I get to be first, YES!), we do have some very good courses. On my slate for next semester/next year (because we have a concentration in Sports & Entertainment Law here)

Entertainment Contract Drafting & Negotiation
Sports Law
Advanced Topics in Sports Law
Entertainment Law
Advanced Entertainment Law

and Information Privacy Law, which I’m currently taking and is actually a great class to learn about what the media can/will publish about your clients without being sued.

I understand that having a background in law helps with contracts etc but what about other business skills that can be used in the sports business world, plus experience.
For example an MBA or accounting plus law. both used for forecasting and projections.

hurray McGeorge!! my school is repping the most famous name in baseball agentry, but they boast a huge 1 class in sports & 1 in entertainment law. This proves the most important thing is your relationships… the prestige of your law school is more important if you have no connections — pretty similar to everyday life. A hookup is better than the schooling UNLESS you have no hookup, where the opposite holds true.

No where in the post did I say that a law degree is necessarily. Nor did I say that it is in any way better than getting an MBA. Many successful agents have not gone to law school. Some have gone the business school route.

My name is Mimi Dahlby. I am the Gifted/Talented Coor for the Hayward School District in Hayward, WI. I am working with a young lady who is extremely interested in a career in sports law. She is currently in 8th grade and we are developing her educational plan for the next few years.

Do you have suggestions/guidelines that would be helpful for this young lady to put her on the right track for college planning? We are looking for suggestions as to course work, summer programs, and prelaw programs that would prepare her for a career in sports law. She is also a very strong athlete, especially in basketball and track(throwing events).

Shes in 8th grade… just make sure she makes it through high school with good grades and board scores. Wayyyyyy to early to start planning for an actual career.

Well, you forgot a couple of good agents that went to Temple University School of Law: Leon Rose and Jeff Schwartz. You may also want to include Sam Goldfedder who works with Jeff.

As for aGent37’s response to Ms. Dahlby, I don’t agree that it is ever TOO early! Ms. Dahlby, what I would suggest is that your student take extra curricular courses in anything that entails public speaking or negotiation (i.e. debate team). Also, mak sure she has a thirst for reading and writing. Get her involved in creative thinking activities. All of these traits will not only help her in the sports agent career, but if she later decides it is not the career for her, it is a great foundation for several careers!

Come on aGent37, let’s get a little creative here and think outside the proverbial “box!” We should be a resource and not attempt to dissuade anyone from pursuing their dreams no matter how young! I am sure you may have had nay sayers in your life and just think of what would have happened if you listened to them! Fortunately for you and the clients you might represent, you did not listen to them and pushed forward in your life!

I hate to sound like an asshole, but I really don’t think to many college students know what they want to do when they grow up, much less an 8th grader. Her concept of sports law probably doesn’t go behind that Lebron James commercial in which he plays a famous defense attorney.

Heck, I’m in law school and a practicing agent and if you’d ask me what exactly sports law is I’d be hard pressed to give you an answer. The only think I can tell you for sure is that no class in high school (at least in terms of what I learned) has even slightly helped me get to were I am today.

Do well in school, play sports and be aggressive. Curriculum starts counting when your in college… not high school.

I would have to agree with aGent37. Less like he’s hating or dissuading, and more like being real. It is too early in 8th. I’m similar to Gent in that I’m in law school and working with athletes, but in 8th grade I wanted to be a doctor (or batman). So the best advice is to study hard, be active & join clubs (if possible due to sports), but most of all work to be a success PERIOD. So when you do get more serious about your calling, you can take ANY path you want… Good luck young one, there is a lot to learn in these next 8+ years…

The last university mentioned Valparaiso School of Law should be at the top as they have one of the only sports law clinics around and were featured at this past Beijing Olympics. Valpo produced two notable sports agents in Eugene Parker and the much younger Craig McKenzie who is also a talent agent as well.

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