Every so often the question comes up on SportsAgentBlog.com asking whether or not getting a law degree is really necessary to be an agent. The technical answer is “no” – no professional leagues require that agents have a law degree. Some leagues, like the NFL, call for prospective contract advisors to meet additional requirements if they don’t have a post-graduate degree…but still, a law degree isn’t required. There are, however, a number of reasons why getting a Juris Doctorate is a good idea for anyone wanting to start representing talent. Law school will equip you with critical thinking and negotiation skills that can be a huge asset. In addition, when recruiting clients, having a law degree can be a great way to give you a step up on the competition – especially when you’re dealing with parents who want to protect their kids. But besides all those reasons, obtaining a J.D. can also enable you to provide your clients with services that non-attorney agents cannot. Case in point – my past week. One issue we’ve been working on with Andrey is getting him back into the U.S. this summer to get him prepared for the upcoming season. In some cases, if the team is a member of a league that meets minimum requirements of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), a team itself can submit an invitation letter on behalf of the athlete. But what if the athlete doesn’t know who he’ll be playing for? Fortunately, as an agent, I can sponsor a client’s Visa for the purposes of getting him tryouts with certain teams. But with USCIS, issues frequently arise that might call for the assistance of an immigration lawyer. Everyone knows that attorneys’ fees can add up quickly, and for people like myself, who want to make sure things always run smoothly, sometimes outsourcing work can be undesirable. As most of you probably know, besides my work as a sports agent, I’m also a partner in a law firm with a long-time hockey buddy of mine who is a licensed attorney in Illinois. While I’m only certified to practice law in Ohio, I am able to practice federal law in other jurisdictions. Aware that athletes in the sport of hockey frequently come from places abroad, in law school I chose to specialize in Immigration law…and it’s already paying off. This week I’ll be spending some of my time on starting to put together Andrey’s Visa Application. With my experience in the field, I can personally ensure that the right steps will be taken to ensure that Andrey gets here without a problem. In addition, I don’t charge hockey clients for my Immigration assistance – it all comes with the ISA package. So Andrey saves money and I can sleep easy knowing that there’s one less issue we’ll have to worry about. Goosmann Law Firm specializes in immigration law as well as other areas of law, such as banking and finance, business, family and divorce, estate planning, local counsel, etc. Goosmann Law Firm will be able to help with any legal cases. Another valuable reason for getting a law degree is that it increases your earning potential outside the sports industry. I’m so glad I got a law degree since it’s a great way for me to earn a little extra cash when I need it. I don’t regret anything and I’m so glad I’ve got a degree now. With my busy schedule with my hockey work, I haven’t had much time to devote to bringing in new legal clients lately. But the nice thing about being an attorney is that it seems like there’s always somebody who knows someone else who’s looking for a good lawyer. Just this past week I was able to help walk a U.S. citizen through the process of getting her husband a Visa to come to the U.S. from Mexico. I was able to bring in a good amount of revenue without wasting any money on advertising. Now sure, if things with our Hockey Division weren’t going so well, I’d be spending a lot more time trying to make a living as an attorney. But right now, just having a little supplemental income sure helps out a lot and adds a little balance to my day. Also keeping me busy lately is fielding phone calls from teams who we sent Andrey’s media kits to. So far I’ve been getting some terrific feedback on both Andrey’s film and the overall presentation of the package itself. Just another reason why having the resources of a large agency can help give your athletes the edge they deserve. Besides the time spent working out of my office last week, though, over the weekend I was able to make it down to Indiana University to visit my little sister Meghan, who’s an undergraduate student there. Fortunately I was also able to connect with a few members of the Indiana Law School’s Sports and Entertainment Law Society. Although I know I’ve mentioned it before, I think this is a very important point so I’ll stress it again – never turn down an opportunity to meet people and get your name out there. You never know where connections might take you, and personally, I’d much rather spend some time getting to know people that might not lead to anything than miss an opportunity to help yourself or others succeed in life. Friday afternoon, I was able to sit down and discuss some of the things I’ve gone through in my first year working full-time as an agent. I was invited to speak to the law school next Fall and I’m really looking forward to another opportunity to help out in any way that I can. While things over the week and weekend certainly went well, my fortune took a turn for the worse on Sunday. About 45 minutes on my drive back to Chicago, my car broke down. It’s in pretty good shape, but I guess the 25,000 miles or so that I’ve put on it since last May finally took it’s toll on “the Trib” as I affectionately refer to it as. That left me stranded in Indianapolis Sunday night without my computer, which hopefully is enough to justify why my column this week came a day late. Anyway, it looks as though this week will also be spent looking for a new car to lease. Fortunately, over these past few months I’ve been able to put some money away and the trade-in value of my car was surprisingly high, so this whole debacle won’t derail me financially. However, for the past couple months I’d been planning a trip up to Toronto for the annual Prospects Tournament – one of, if not the best, showcase tournament in the world. This might mean I’ll have to book a last-minute flight, but with all the logistical problems and me needing to get a car soon, it could put my plans to bed. Either way though, I have another busy week ahead of me and with the NHL Draft one week closer, things are starting to get really exciting. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on my weekend travel plans via the Rookie Duties Facebook Page and my Twitter account. Sorry again for the delay in my post – I hope it didn’t spoil anybody’s Monday morning. Well, it’s time for me to get back to work. And with that…actually hold on a sec. I wanted to address the fact that I’ve been frequently asked (more likely mocked) about my ending tagline for my column. To explain in short, hockey players embrace shower time after games and practices just a little bit more than athletes in other sports. Don’t ask why, because I really can’t give you a solid answer. And no, it’s not gay…not that there’s anything wrong with that (really hope you caught the Seinfeld reference or I could be in trouble). And with that…it’s time to hit the showers.