Duane Morris Sports Practice AdvantageSM
Duane Morris attorneys have extensive experience representing clients doing business in sports. Whether pursuing new opportunities or investments, enforcing contracts or agreements or protecting clients' rights, the firm's lawyers understand the unique issues presented by operating in the industry, including the importance of establishing and maintaining relationships, controlling sensitive information, maintaining privacy and confidentiality and achieving goals in tight timeframes. Providing personal service similar to a boutique firm which may have offices in one or a few cities, Duane Morris provides clients access to lawyers around the world working in all the legal disciplines that clients may require. Whether in New York, Los Angeles, London, or any of the more than 20 markets where Duane Morris has offices, the firm's attorneys are able to provide experienced counsel and effective representation for clients in this fast-moving, high-stakes industry.
Duane Morris attorneys have represented a varied roster of clients in sports, including:
- Athletes, including Olympic gold medalists, world champions, all-stars
- Sports teams, owners, coaches
- Sports leagues, executives, officials
- University athletic departments
- Sports equipment manufacturers
- Sports venues, clubs and resorts
- Sports and recreation associations
Negotiating deals can be career defining moments. Our lawyers initiate, structure and finalize deals with some of the best known companies and organizations in sports. Our attorneys regularly handle negotiations for clients, including:
- Merchandising and licensing
- Broadcasting, syndication, content distribution
- Copyright/trademark permissions
- Joint ventures and investments
- Venue naming rights
- Real estate
In sports, names, logos and likenesses are among the most valuable aspects of the industry. Enabling their use in the most advantageous ways while simultaneously protecting against non-permitted uses is a constant balancing act. For many years, Duane Morris attorneys have negotiated trademark and copyright licenses, purchases and consent agreements for sports clients. More recently, Duane Morris has become increasingly involved in global anti-counterfeiting enforcement, coordinating efforts of to stop the sale of knockoff goods around the world.
Wealth Management and Tax Planning
Athletes' flow of income and return on investments can be more volatile than almost any other, making it of the utmost importance to have solid current plans and future financial strategies. Duane Morris attorneys have experience counseling high-profile, high net-worth individuals in all stages of their career, advising them and their heirs on estates, trusts, asset planning and protection and the creation and management of charitable foundations. The firm's Tax Accounting Group is a unique, in-house CPA practice that provides tax planning and consulting services, working in conjunction with the firm's attorneys to strive for tax minimization while ensuring necessary compliance in an evolving tax landscape (such as the growing importance of multi-state tax reporting, as states are becoming increasingly aggressive in seeking tax revenue from athletes and entertainers performing in their states).
Misconduct/Criminal Charges and Civil Claims
Public figures facing claims of wrongdoing can find themselves simultaneously trying to protect their livelihoods and their reputations. Whether an athlete is accused of doping violations or charged with a crime, Duane Morris lawyers understand the situation not only needs to handed effectively, but it needs to be done quickly and discreetly to best put the client back in a position to perform.
Liability and Risk
Duane Morris attorneys are among the pioneers in the law regarding liability and risk in sports, recreation and outdoor industries. For decades, the firm's lawyers have represented equipment manufacturers, retailers, venues and trade groups, and in that time helped revitalize and define the doctrine of primary assumption of risk. The firm serves as national counsel for many well-known brands of snow, water and outdoor gear. Whether representing a equipment company, resort, or other client, our lawyers are adept at helping weigh the potential risks and benefits of litigation or settlement, while managing the possible financial and public relations consequences. The firm also advises clients on risk management and avoidance, as well as insurance issues.
International and Immigration
The sports world knows no borders. From business deals to asset management, and intellectual property rights to technology issues, the firm's attorneys advise clients on opportunities, obligations, and rights in nations throughout the world. Also, Duane Morris' globally-recognized immigration practice assists athletes and their families with visa and naturalization issues.
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Ken Shropshire is flanked by Football Hall of Famer James Lofton and James' wife Beverly,
as well as Ken's Duane Morris partners (from left) Andrew Hahn, Michelle Gervais and (far right)
Michael Grohman at Duane Morris' Big Game Tailgate Party in 2014