College Basketball Players Headline Sports Agents

UNC’s John Henson Selects Jim Tanner of Williams & Connolly for Representation

Two-Time ACC Defensive Player of the Year John Henson has selected Jim Tanner of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Williams & Connolly LLP for representation.  Henson, a 6’11, 220lbs excellent shot blocker who just finished his Junior season at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, is one of the best players in the nation and is projected to be a lottery pick.  Williams & Connolly will represent Henson leading up to the Draft and will also work with him on all contractual agreements, personal appearances, corporate partnerships and other business opportunities.

“When looking for representation, I wanted to find a group that fit with my goals and personality,” said Henson. “Jim [Tanner] and the team at [Williams & Connolly] had a very specific and unique plan for me and that was important. Overall, I just felt comfortable with them and that they truly cared about my career.”

Jim Tanner and company are also excited about adding Henson to a roster of clients that includes Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, and other prominent NBA players.  “John is one of the most talented and exciting players entering the NBA draft this year,” said Tanner. “His unique combination of athleticism, size and skill for the power forward position give him a limitless ceiling. With his dynamic personality and an enthusiastic following of fans, we believe he has enormous opportunities ahead of him. We are thrilled to be working with him.”

Williams & Connolly has long differentiated itself from the competition by using an hourly rate, instead of charging a contingency fee, in the representation of its athlete clients.  The fact that the firm chooses to bill by the hour may have had a strong influence on its ability to acquire notable clientele such as the aforementioned names (including Henson).  It is not all that uncommon for an hourly fee of a Washington D.C.-based lawyer to be around $500 per hour, which may seem like a lot of money, but truthfully turns out to be less than the 4% (or slightly less) that would be charged to the player under the alternate scenario.  I continue to believe that this type of fee structure will become more prevalent in the industry (by lawyers) over time.

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.