UVA Law Students Explore Sports Law as Summer Interns for Professional Baseball, Basketball and Hockey
University of Virginia School of Law students Laura Franks, Arianna Lacerte and Nicole Marschean scored a hat trick this summer, landing internships with the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.
The students, all entering their second year of law school, said the work experience is allowing them to combine their love of sport with their legal aspirations.
"I've been a huge fan of hockey my whole life, and was lucky enough to play through college," said Franks, originally from Allentown, New Jersey, who is assisting attorneys on corporate transactions and labor issues at the National Hockey League. "Getting to work for the NHL is really like a dream come true for me."
Franks said she has enjoyed learning from attorneys, such as NHL Vice President Thomas Ferree '02, and has developed an appreciation for the complex skill set they utilize each day
"As a fan, you really only see the end product — the game on your TV or at your city's local arena," she said. "What you don't see are the infinite number of moving parts and people who are working hard behind the scenes to make that game happen. The attorneys I've worked with at the NHL don't each have one specialty, or one focus at a time. They share a multitude of responsibilities for all different types of legal projects and issues."
Lacerte, a Westford, Massachusetts, native working for the National Basketball Association, said she has become involved with the legal side of Draft Day and player trades, and gained practical experience drafting a sponsorship agreement, among other tasks.
"Working for the NBA has allowed me to see more than just one facet of the law," Lacerte said. "I have worked on labor matters, corporate transactional assignments, intellectual property assignments and some assignments that are strictly unique to sports law. The opportunity to learn something new every day in an industry you are passionate about is an experience that is very difficult to match."
Marschean, of Syosset, New York, has worked primarily on player grievance projects during her summer at Major League Baseball. She said the job has been a great way to build on what she has learned in her first year.
"I feel so fortunate to work for MLB this summer because I have found it a great way to practice the varied skills you begin to develop as a first-year law student," Marschean said. "I also completed the January Term course on baseball law with Professor Setear. This provided a great foundation for the work I have been doing."
Virginia has an active sports and labor law community, which includes the Virginia Sports Law Society, the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal and the Virginia Employment and Labor Law Association. All three women hold leadership positions on the journal, and Franks and Lacerte will serve as president and vice president, respectively, of the sports law society.
"It is our goal as a society this year to make opportunities in sports law that are available to UVA Law students, especially 1Ls, more well-known," Franks said. "We specifically want to help students interested in sports law navigate the job-hunt process, as well as bring in speakers to provide first-hand insight into what working in sports law is really like."
In addition to the NHL's Ferree, the Law School has a number of alumni who have risen to the tops of the ranks of sports law, including Thomas J. Ostertag '81, senior vice president for Major League Baseball, and Cynthia Hogan '84, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs for the National Football League. ( More)
"It has been great working with someone who is familiar with our school and to hear from him about his time there, what professors he took, how his softball team did, what has changed, and what has stayed the same," Franks said of Ferree. "It's comforting when entering a new workplace to know someone there who you automatically have a common bond with. He has also been very helpful to me in sharing his post-law school career trajectory, and giving me advice about my own."
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