Headline Sports Law

The Minor Leagues: Introduction

“Mr. Hart, here is a dime.  Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.”

We were shown this clip from the classic law school movie, The Paper Chase, during my orientation at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Before being accepted, many of us heard law school was “hell” and the professors were “hell’s hardest workers.”  Several students found this clip humorous and a wave of laughter erupted in the room.  One of the professors leading the orientation got up from his chair, and staring sternly at everyone laughing, walked to the podium.  My classmates’ laughter turned to slight chuckles (the professor is still staring, maybe he’s joking?), which turned to half-smiles (STILL staring, maybe I have something in my teeth?), which turned to those nervous, fake coughs people force when they want to cover up laughter (STILL STARING, he might actually throw a book at us now).  He reached the podium, and basically advised us to continue laughing now because fifteen to twenty percent of us will not be in this building next year, and if we don’t study twenty-five hours of the day, we are going to fall behind.  Hello, law school!

Thankfully, I took that professor’s words to heart and was able to be on the opposite end of the spectrum after my first year.  My name is Chris Scolire, and I am a 24 year-old 2L (second-year law school student), living in the bustling sports and entertainment city, Chicago.  I approached Darren about an idea for a potential column detailing my current life, which consists of reading/homework for class anytime of the day, working as a paralegal at a law firm, attending law school at night, and balancing that with my family, girlfriend, friends, social life, and breaking into the sports world.  I suppose I could also throw in balancing these with “El” train issues, but that itself would be an entirely separate column.

I want to write this column because I believe it will be interesting to show that however daunting, it is definitely possible and very rewarding to work with an intense load of full-time work and law school.  Maybe this column will calm people’s fears about going to law school, working, and making contacts in the sports world at the same time, or maybe it will discourage people (although I doubt this), but I hope readers find it helpful either way.  I also believe it will be interesting for established professionals who follow this site to read and comment on entries to help lead us young and passionate future professionals in the industry.

To give you a bit more information on myself, I am an evening student at John Marshall, meaning the typical three-year law school program is going to take me an additional year.  I have also applied for the joint J.D./L.L.M. degree in Intellectual Property Law at John Marshall, which would add an additional year.  I chose John Marshall because of their Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Society, their Intellectual Property program including the magnitude of I.P. classes they offer, and the fact that they had a reasonable evening program.  Before law school, I attended Carthage College, playing on their baseball team while majoring in Political Science with a minor in Communications, while also playing semi-professional baseball for the Addison Braves.  Some of my best friends were drafted; I heard their accounts of dealing with management and things their agents did for them that made their lives easier.  I saw how much they appreciated the little things their agent did for them, even just when an agent would pick up the phone when they called instead of talking to one of their secretaries every time.  I have worked and planned for several years to set a career path that will help me reach my ultimate goal of representing athletes: in high school, I started taking management and pre-law classes; in college, I worked at making contacts while playing baseball and enhancing my communication skills; and, I graduated college early to start making contacts in the city while attending law school and focusing on sports law, intellectual property rights, and counseling and negotiation.

I was recently selected President of the Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Society at John Marshall after serving as Treasurer.  I am working to get our organization’s name more recognition and our members, myself included, more opportunities to interact with sports agents/lawyers- not only in the Chicagoland area, but also across the country. Recently, we met with a sports attorney in Chicago who told us he would allow our organization to work on a case study with him this upcoming year.  This is something I particularly look forward to- getting a hands-on experience of what being a sports agent/attorney is like on a day-to-day basis.  I also have been in contact with a professor in the nationally renowned Sports Law program at Marquette Law School about advice on expanding our organization, and possibly meeting for functions with them in the future.

While I strive to develop the effectiveness of our organization, I also hope to guide our Society into helping others.  In addition to my board positions with the EMSL Society, I serve as the Chairman of the Volunteer Committee. This past holiday season I facilitated an extremely successful book drive with the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation, collecting well over 100 books for underprivileged and abused children in the Chicagoland area.  To be able to help children receive gifts for the holidays was an uplifting experience and I believe the contact I have made with this foundation will be extremely fulfilling.

I invite you to follow me as I work my way through law school and into the field, while maintaining strong relationships with my family and friends.  With finals coming up in a couple weeks and a busy season ahead, including one of my best friend’s wedding, Cubs season, Blackhawks/Bulls playoffs runs (hopefully), and concert season in Chicago, I will have much to share about the life of a busy, driven, young professional.  I will be writing entries as Darren deems appropriate. Thank you for your time and please feel free to comment: advice, tips, stories of your own, and what you would like me to talk about are all welcome.  One question I have is what classes (antitrust, business management, tax law, employment law, even real estate law?) do you think may be helpful for the future when representing athletes?

10 replies on “The Minor Leagues: Introduction”

This sounds very interesting. I about to be done with my 1L year and I will be taking classes full time this summer while taking on an internship and doing pro bono work for a private parctice in my spare time so I feel you man.

Larry, you also have a full plate I see. Good luck man, it will be interesting to see how our summers turn out!

Great column. I’m excited to get a glimpse of what my life could very well be like in a few years.

This is my question to Chris to everyone else entering the sports industry? Why does everyone feel they “have” to go to law school to be an agent? Being an agent in the industry, you come to find more and more of us have not attended law school. Sure it’s a great asset to have, but definitely not required to have success in this industry. I’ve learned over time that it’s not about what you’ve learned or how much you know about the law, it’s all about relationships and how players view you. Thanks, and good luck.

I really never thought I had to go to law school to be an agent, but thought it was my best way to separate myself from other people. And as you said, I have seen that it is more about the contacts you make (its not what you know, its who you know). I went to law school because I was fascinated by my prior legal-related classes and really wanted to learn the ins and outs of the law, especially as it related to sports, entertainment, and intellectual property. I also figured (and hope) that succeeding in law school, learning the nuisances of the law, and being involved in our sports and entertainment society, and making contacts through that, will only help me in the future. Thanks for your comment.

Also, since the goal is to represent our clients the best way possible, I feel learning the law (specifically those sections tailored to athletes, etc.) will only help my potential clients, and help protect/ensure everything they deserve.

Chris – I think this will be a very helpful column to many. I think this will put Law School into a real-world perspective for potential Law School students like myself and will make for a good read. Keep us posted about your experiences and I’m looking forward to reading your column.


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