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The Entertainment and Sport Law Society was reestablished in 2007 by Steven Saperstein and the executive board. From just a handful of members, the society has grown to nearly 50 members in the 2009-2010 academic year.
During the 2007-2008 school year the members of ESLS were instrumental in bringing three highly influential speakers to campus in order to speak to the SUCOL community. The society's first speaker was Harrison Till, a young sports agent who has succeeded in breaking into the industry. Having played college football at Duke University as well as being a member of the 2003 Ohio State Buckeyes National Championship team, Till was acquainted with a number of collegiate athletes who have pursued careers in professional sports. He is currently working on the sale of several European Basketball Teams with UBS. In his speech at the College of Law, he explained how he networked and used his contacts to obtain more contacts, which eventually led to his current employment. Since this industry is so difficult to break into, it is necessary to actively market oneself and network. The opportunity to listen to a young but successful member of this profession not only gave our members the confidence to pursue sports and entertainment law careers, but, also gave them information and tips that will help them break into the field and begin their careers.
The next speaker, Len Elmore, spoke to law students about his background, experiences, and the ethical side of the industry. He provided students with insight into how a sports agency is run, what the day-to-day functions are, and how important a role ethics play. The opportunity to learn from a highly respected individual who has real-world experience in this field was highly beneficial. Elmore made sure students understood the ethical issues that surround the field of sports law, and how hard it can be to distance oneself from the glamorous life this field is known for. But he emphasized that it can be done, and called upon us to maintain our beliefs and values in the face of temptations. He was an outstanding speaker who not only provided useful insights as to how to break into the industry, but also gave practical solutions to ethical dilemmas.
The last speaker of the academic year was Alan Milstein, a well-known lawyer who represented a troubled athlete, Maurice Clarett, in his attempt to challenge a well-established NFL rule restricting early entry into the league. Milstein described to us the process of challenging a powerful organization such as the NFL, and the setbacks that inevitably occurred. He provided details of his experience arguing before the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Unlike the first two speakers, Milstein connected the information we have learned in law school—such as filing a complaint or arguing before a judge—to the sports and entertainment industry. But like the first two speakers, Milstein presented information that we will use in attempting to secure our first jobs within the industry.
During the 2008-2009 school year the society hosted one of the biggest names in professional sports representation, Leon Rose. The lecture hall was packed with more than 75 students and several professors. Mr. Rose spoke on a variety of issues including his representation of Allen Iverson, Lebron James and Richard Hamilton. He implored the students to use the law school as a building block for their professional careers, as well as learning the ability to counsel others. His appearance was featured in the Daily Orange and several prominent law blogs.
The school year also brought about the first ever “1L project,” which allowed the societies newest members to get involved. Nearly 250 pages later, the project outlined all of the steps to becoming a professional sports agent or being certified in the state of California for entertainment representation. The project will soon be available online and is currently available in the law library.
The members of ESLS spent nearly six months on the largest endeavor in the society’s history. The members wanted to rival programs at Tulane and Marquette Law Schools, with its own certificate in Entertainment and Sports Law. Under the tutelage of Professor Laura Lape and the aid of Professor Roderick Surratt, the faculty approved the creation of the certificate in April 2009. This spring, the first group of SUCOL students will graduate with the certificate; the ESLS approximates that nearly 15 students will be eligible in its first year of existence.
The 2009 year kicked off with a bang, as the ESLS has already hosted Howard Siegel, (L’70). Mr. Siegel is a well known entertainment attorney in New York City who has represented: Aerosmith, Steven van Zandt, Paul Shaffer, Carly Simon, Jim Steinman, Bill Wyman, and super agent Don Buchwald. He spoke about how career paths often change and that entertainment clients are no different than any other type of client.
The ESLS Executive Board has many upcoming events and projects set for the future including hosting a “career day” focused on obtaining a job in the sports and entertainment industries, coordinating a networking event with the Sports Lawyers Association, and inviting a top sports lawyer to speak in the spring.