Sports Law

The Minor Leagues: Summertime Chi

Chicago summers bring music, movies (Transformers 3 has taken over), and of course, sports.  It’s been awhile since the last time I wrote an entry, and I apologize for the longer post, but a lot has been going on.  First, the Blackhawks championship rally was exactly what it looked like on T.V.: (picture I took below…that’s Kane with the Cup, and Toews, Finals MVP, next to him).

An insane amount of people, a hot and muggy day, and a great celebration of a great team that brought the city and their fans on a great ride.  Even though the last couple of weeks has seen the Hawks championship team from last year diminish significantly due to the NHL’s salary cap, there will be no diminishing of Hawks love for the next season . . . just look at the Cubs-Sox Crosstown Classic, in which no one in Chicago cared about what was going on.  All everyone was talking about at the end of May/beginning of June in a baseball-crazed city was where the Hawks were going to be, which player someone saw at a bar, etc.

This is a picture we took in Joe’s Bar on Weed Street after Kane scored the OT goal (when he scored the goal, it seemed like everyone in the bar threw their drinks, notice the shirts in front of us):

And while “The Decision” captured the nation’s attention, Chicago, even without Lebron, D-Wade, or Bosh, has survived.  The Bulls were still able to put together a solid 3 or 4 seed in the East with the additions they have made so far: Carlos Boozer (Gold-Medal-Winning-Olympian cleaning up what Joakim Noah is not picking up on the boards, and putting up 20+ points a game), Kyle Korver (shooting the lights out with Derrick Rose driving and kicking to him), Ronnie Brewer (young swingman who D’s it up and can put up points), C.J. Watson (10 points per game as a back-up last year) and Kurt Thomas (playoff/veteran experience, and he gives that vibe of the vet that knows the ropes and doesn’t care who he is talking to/scolding, just as long as they get on the same page and win).  Talks have also escalated to the point that now the Bulls are closing in on Tracy McGrady, who will be a good back-up/occasional starter for Deng, especially since he has “unfinished business” with the Bulls (i.e. he has the desire to want to be good here); T-Mac can still invoke memories of when he was making All-Star and All-NBA appearances, and for a role player, his occasional scoring outbursts are more than good enough (as long as the price fits).  While it may seem like the Chicago Jazz, new Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau (who will instill that great Celtics “D” from the 2008 championship team), D-Rose (perennial All-Star, and one of the best PG’s in the league already), Noah (heart of the team, and it shows every time he is in the game), and Deng (was All-NBA Rookie First Team, and without his rash of injury problems, still a solid wing) will give the Bulls one of the best teams in the league, and it will be exciting to watch for an aspiring sports advocate/attorney.

The Cubs continue to disappoint, but with Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin now settling in as big-leaguers, Marlon Byrd becoming an All-Star (every game I’ve gone to this season, he has sprinted down the first base line on every ball he has hit in play, which exemplifies the type of player I would love to represent), and Geovany Soto getting closer to his form from his Rookie of the Year rookie season, they have a solid young nucleus that will be exciting to watch in the future.  Hey, us Cubs fans need something to look forward to. . . especially when the Sox are one of the hottest teams in all of baseball and are in the thick of the division title hunt with the Twins and Tigers.  And the Bears training camp begins soon, and that is always an exciting time in Chicago . . . especially when many of the players/coaches are on the hot seat this year.  It will be very interesting to see how new offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s offensive schemes improve a young and what-should-be explosive receiving crew.

My second year of law school ended up finishing well and I made the Dean’s List (top 25% of my class) for the second semester in a row.  I also found out I was accepted into the Joint J.D./L.L.M. degree program at The John Marshall Law School.  I will receive my L.L.M. in Intellectual Property, specializing in Copyrights and Trademarks, while also receiving my law degree.  While this adds another semester or two onto my already 4-year J.D. requirement, this will give me a chance to separate myself from the other students graduating law school at the same time as me.  Specializing in copyrights and trademarks can only be a plus for me becoming a sports attorney/advocate, especially because athletes now are multi-talented multi-taskers who want to excel both on and off the field.  I will have a duty to my clients to represent them competently and diligently, and in order for me to accomplish this, I need to be versed in different entertainment/sports related law.  Hopefully, this paragraph has given confidence to future law school students who also will work full-time during law school (as I have/will continue to do throughout school), because it does seem like (and is) a daunting task, but it is clearly doable.  And it is doable while also having fun and experiencing whatever city you are in.

During the summer session I took a class called, “Counseling and Negotiation,” during which we explored not only the techniques to lead client counseling sessions and explore your client’s concerns/problems, but we also explored how best to negotiate with difficult opposing attorneys and to get the price that your client wanted/deserved.  I could not help but think that this class will be helpful with negotiating player contracts or marketing opportunities . . . even though I still realize that the best experience will come when actually negotiating.  Next semester is Evidence, Trademark Law, and Trade Secrets Law . . . my schedule then will be three-nights a week for class, with work everyday and my duties as President of the Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Society at John Marshall.

The EMSL Board and I have already set our fall semester schedule.  I have once again teamed up with the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation and our Society will be hosting a School Supply Drive during the first couple of weeks of school.  If anyone is in the Chicago area and would like to donate, just let me know . . . all of the donations go to underprivileged and abused children in the Chicagoland area.  We are also hosting a Bake Sale to try and come up with some money for the organization, and we have other exciting events/discussions planned throughout the semester.

We are always more than willing to help out any sports or entertainment firms or organizations.  One of the other Board members has made a great contact with AMEC (Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel), and our Society now has become THE Chicago volunteer base for helping AMEC organize, promote, and host its events.  They also want to co-host our panel discussions.  For example, this semester we have set up panels consisting of Chicago-area Entertainment attorneys, and next semester, we are doing a panel discussion consisting of three sports attorneys/advocates.  If anyone is interested in coming to talk to our organization, get some free Chicago-style pizza, and meet eager young professionals who are very interested in what you as a sports advocate/attorney do, please let me know.

On a closing note, I think it is pretty cool that “Entourage” is now dipping into the sports world, with Ari potentially being the owner of the “new” football team in L.A.

As always, any comments, questions, or suggestions- just drop a comment.  I have a question for you though . . . ESPN and other sources have stated that Arn Tellem, Tracy McGrady’s advocate, has a strong relationship with Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.  I would like to think that these strong relationships between a player’s representation and a prospective team lead to more reasonable demands in negotiations from both sides, but, to quote Lebron, does it become “just business” when negotiations actually begin?

4 replies on “The Minor Leagues: Summertime Chi”

In regaurds to the closing question of your article…I am tempted to say that it does become “just business”, but I think there’s a bit more to it than that. I think a good relationship between an advocate and an organization allows both parties to make more calculated decision throughout the negotiation process. The advocate should be able to anticipate the arguements provided by the organization and should have fairly good idea as to what value the organization has assigned to the player in question. With this knowledge the advocate ought to be able to temper his clients expectations and should be able to make sure the negotiation is relatively stress free and is completed in a reasonable amount of time without having to deal with the hardships brought on by a long difficult negotiation. In the end I believe it works in both parties favor to have an amicable relationship, and keeping one’s opposition close has long been a successful technique in negotiation.

Micah, thanks for responding…and what you said about the advocate being able to anticipate the organization’s arguments if there is a strong working relationship is a great point, thanks again.

Good read. I like reading about what your doing/involved with while at school. I’m in my junior year so the more info and knowledge I get only motivates me.

Good Luck in Chi-town

Still on my list of places I want to go before I graduate.

Thanks Jon…and Chicago should definitely be on your list before graduating, although I am a little biased….and make sure you go in the summer!

Comments are closed.