Sports and entertainment fans will have a special way to kick off Superbowl weekend at the Law School. The first annual Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Symposium will showcase some of the top representatives in the industry Friday, Feb. 2.
Co-sponsored by the Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal, the Virginia Entertainment and Sports Law Association, and Virginia Continuing Legal Education, the symposium features industry leader Donald Dell ’64, as well as representatives from ESPN, BET, NBC, the NBA Development League, and TV One. Six hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credit is available to practicing attorneys who attend. Registration is $249 in advance for practitioners and $264 on the day of the event, but law students may attend and receive course materials free of charge as long as they sign in and provide their contact information on the day of the event.
Third-year law student Robby Forbes, editor-in-chief of the Journal, started planning the event last year by looking for alumni who worked in the industry. “UVA Law has a very rich pool of alumni who are working in this field,” Forbes said. “Things snowballed to the point where I realized we had a program with such a high degree of quality that it would be interesting to practitioners, not just students. We needed some outside help in pulling it off.”
Forbes approached Virginia Continuing Legal Education about making the conference available to a national audience. The organization took on the administrative aspects of the event, helped organize a networking cocktail party for participants and attendees, and funded panelists’ travel expenses. “This partnership should last beyond just this year,” Forbes said, noting that the event is a unique opportunity for attorneys in the mid-Atlantic region, who might not normally have access to a conference featuring top experts in the field.
“It will benefit law students who will have a chance to attend—for free—panels with some of the biggest names in sports entertainment law in the country,” he said. “They can make contacts and learn about the industry at the same time.”
The symposium features panels on breaking into sports and entertainment law; negotiating sports and entertainment property rights in the digital age; representation in film and television productions and the music and sound recording industries; legal issues surrounding age limitations in professional sports; and the basics of representing professional athletes. Participants include Philip Evans ’88, president of the NBA Development League; Frank Golding ’93, assistant general counsel at ESPN; Byron Marchant ’87, executive vice president and general counsel at BET; and Virginia law professor Glen Robinson, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law. The conference is bringing in 11 alumni in all.
Considering that many alumni had to pass on the conference because it hit during one of their busiest weekends, “It’s amazing that we were successful in bringing in such an impressive group of speakers. If all goes well, I believe we’ll continue to have success in attracting big-name people to come,” Forbes said.