Berkeley Law has assembled an impressive all-star lineup for its April 3 Sports & Law Conference. Six months in the making, the event features a who’s-who of sports law giants—from iconic agent Leigh Steinberg ’73 to Major League Soccer President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott ’89 to NBA general managers Pete D’Alessandro and Bob Myers of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors, respectively.
Leaders of the Berkeley Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law—Editor-in-Chief Nick Brokaw ’15, Managing Editor Zak Welsh ’15, and Deputy Editor-in-Chief Felipe Saltz ’16—worked tirelessly with the law school’s Alumni Center to organize the conference. Together, they designed issue-oriented panels, booked two dozen speakers, secured CLE credit for attending lawyers, and coordinated myriad travel arrangements.
Learn more about the conference and how to register here.
“It’s been an exhausting, full-time process,” Brokaw said, “especially with all the rigors and demands of a full-time law school schedule. Still, it’s been fun and exhilarating. It’s very rewarding to play a role in solidifying Berkeley Law’s spot as a go-to school for sports and entertainment law.”
The conference will take place inside the University Club atop Memorial Stadium—which looks out onto the football field on one side with a panoramic view of the Bay Area on the other. The journal hosted a smaller conference last year that earned rave reviews and exceeded expectations, planting the seed for a more expansive event this year.
“We saw great demand for a conference that could function on multiple levels,” Brokaw said. “We wanted it to provide an education medium for students interested in the law and business of sports, and a platform for those looking to get their foot in the sports door—and to engage with those in the business.”
The morning panel will examine the increasingly blurred lines between athlete and entertainment representation, and how the sports industry has morphed into the larger entertainment composite. Over lunch, general counsels from several professional sports teams and the Pac-12 Conference will discuss sponsorship, media, and other legal issues and how they impact their position within the sports industry.
In the afternoon, real estate and sports lawyers—as well as team and league executives—will evaluate ongoing stadium development issues, with a focus on Northern California sports organizations. That panel will be followed by a question and answer session with D’Alessandro and Myers, two lawyers turned NBA general managers.
The last panel will examine recent disciplinary issues in the major sports leagues. It includes Steinberg—who revolutionized the sports agency industry and was the inspiration for the 1996 hit movie Jerry Maguire, and Greg Genske ’98—a top baseball agent who also represents quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, widely projected to be the No. 1 pick in next month’s NFL Draft.
Berkeley Law Dean Sujit Choudhry will deliver closing remarks, followed by a keynote address by high-profile sports attorney David Cornwell of Barnes & Thornburg.
“This law school has a rich and storied tradition in the sports industry,” said Brokaw, a legal intern for the Warriors the summer after his first year of law school. “Take the NBA, for example. When the National Basketball Players Association was looking for a new executive director, it had two finalists: Michele Roberts, Class of 1980, and Terdema Ussery, 1987. Who were the candidates vying to replace? Billy Hunter, Class of 1971.
“Our journal has tripled in members this year and we have a lot of passionate people on staff. We have a huge number of alums who are top agents, prominent lawyers, in-house counsel for teams, or serving as outside counsel and leaders at their respective firms. People know this school produces leaders in fields like social justice, politics, and environmental law, but they’re now starting to realize it also produces leaders in sports.”