Savannah Logan ’22 Stays in the Game
Savannah Logan ’22, a student at the University of Virginia School of Law, isn’t content with sitting on the sidelines. The former college volleyball player recently interned with Major League Baseball, in addition to working at a legal aid organization in Mississippi.
At UVA Law, Logan is co-director of the Alternative Winter Break Program, on the editorial board for the Virginia Journal of International Law and a Peer Advisor.
The Jupiter, Florida, native earned her undergraduate degree in economics, international business and French from Rider University.
In our occasional series “Star Witness,” Logan discussed her volleyball career, her work in baseball and a case she tackled on an Alternative Spring Break trip.
Tell us something about your life before law school.
Before law school, I played Division I volleyball at Rider University. I was an outside hitter, so I played in the front row and back row. I never set any records or anything, but I did play all four years. The fall semester of my senior year, though, was when I first realized an interest in sport as an industry rather than just a hobby. Between my personal experiences as a collegiate player, my involvement in my conference’s student-athlete governance and a few elective academic courses, I really found a passion for sports governance and policy.
Why law school?
The first time I can remember saying I was going to go to law school was in eighth grade. I think, at the time, what drew me to the profession was the idea that my entire career would be based on logic, arguing semantics and finding loopholes. I always assumed I would change my mind at some point along the way, but as I got older, I was more and more drawn to practicing law. I love the variety that a legal career provides, from different industries down to different tasks on a day-to-day basis. I love the idea that the field allows for constant learning opportunities. And, on a more academic level, I love the way our legal system connects our modern world to history — learning where our laws and customs originated, reading about ordinary individuals immortalized in case law, and linking the evolution of our legal system to political and social environments.
Describe what you learned with Alternative Spring Break.
During my week with the Mississippi Center for Justice, another UVA 1L, Peter Kaplan, and I were assigned to an education case. We were tasked with drafting a due process complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Our clients were a 16-year-old high school student and his mother, who were seeking administrative action against their county school board for failing in its duty to identify this student as an individual with a specific learning disability entitled to special education and related services. Prior to this experience, I had not had much exposure to education law, so I really enjoyed researching relevant law and school board policies.
I found that the system actually seemed to be set up quite well to ensure the success of all students, but in practice, much like our client, students can often slip through the cracks due to lack of resources and oversight. Additionally, as this was my first case, I found that I became fairly attached to the case even just for the week that I was able to work on it. I also remember feeling so bad for this family — a single mother with a child who had quite a long history of demonstrated struggles in school, both academically and behaviorally. Without an organization like the Mississippi Center for Justice, they would have had to navigate the administrative process on their own against the school board. Overall, I had a great experience and have so much respect and gratitude for the Center for Justice attorneys who hosted us for the week!
Tell us about your experience working with professional baseball.
Following my [undergraduate] graduation in December 2018, I had the opportunity to intern for the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals at their shared spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida. Formally, I served as the corporate sponsorships and marketing intern, but compared to regular season operations, spring training is very leanly staffed in terms of game production, facility management and guest experience, so I actually got the opportunity to serve in quite a few different roles.
My favorite part of my formal job description was pricing sponsorship deals and drafting the partnership contracts. Of the other “hats” I wore during the season, some of my more interesting tasks were photographing player ceremonies and press conferences, helping to design and erect a family friendly game zone for the stadium, directing players participating in pregame ceremonies, and driving a pickup truck around the field between the third and fourth innings. Beyond that, one of the most unique aspects of my internship at the shared facility was seeing just how differently the two teams operated as organizations, both on the playing side as well as the business side.
This past summer, I also had the opportunity to participate in a virtual professional development program with Major League Baseball. I had originally applied to intern in baseball’s legal department, but they unfortunately had to cancel their entire internship program due to COVID-19. In lieu of the internship, though, the talent acquisition team developed a virtual program to connect students and MLB personnel in relevant departments. While I was certainly disappointed to hear the about the cancellation, I still learned quite a bit about day-to-day tasks in the legal department and gained valuable advice about different career paths in the industry. I was also able to get a glimpse inside the organization when baseball operations came to a complete and unprecedented stop, but business operations, licensing agreements, sponsorship deals, etc. were still ongoing, not to mention a complete operational overhaul to execute the shortened season.
How did you apply your legal education in your MLB role?
For my role in new sponsorship deals, I would be tasked with setting up sales pitches and then working through different options that were appealing to potential sponsors. The options were anything from fliers to video advertisements on the scoreboard to entire physical areas of the stadium. Prior to the start of the season, the Astros and Nationals price out what each element costs individually and then part of my job would be to bundle sponsorship elements for different clients and price those accordingly.
In finalizing the sponsorship deals, each contract came with a standard set of terms and conditions, and I would be responsible for drafting the deal items to properly reflect the parties, prices, game dates, payment due date and any in-kind exchanges. I came to find that several sponsorship deals involve in-kind exchanges as most of the sponsors have a service or product that they could easily offer at the stadium. I think the most practical skill I was able to work on from this part of my job was just attention to detail to make sure that no issues would be discovered after the contracts were executed.
What’s something your classmates don’t know about you?
I almost decided to forgo law school in order to pursue a professional volleyball career overseas. Over quarantine, I was actually contacted by a professional team in Greece about playing with them for the 2020-21 season. With classes being online, I might have done it if it weren’t for the time change!
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