Laying the foundation: The return of UF Law’s Sports Law Symposium

Published: March 31st, 2014

Category: Feature

1620594_376032619203068_674725890_nBy Matt Walker

When Josh Corriveau (2L) decided to move from his native New Hampshire to attend UF Law, his decision was partially based on UF’s reputation in sports, coupled with UF Law’s strong Entertainment and Sports Law Society chapter and annual symposium. But much to his surprise, by the time he arrived at UF Law, the society and symposium had effectively dissolved following the graduation of the symposium’s founder Darren Heitner (JD 10).

Discouraged but not disillusioned, Corriveau decided to take proactive steps to revive the group. After establishing an executive board of like-minded students, he reached out to Heitner to seek advice about reinstating the symposium. Two years of laying the foundation by Corriveau and other members of UF Law’s EASLS will come to fruition with the return of the Sports Law Symposium, featuring Heitner and UF Law grad Kristi Dosh (JD 07) as keynote speakers.

“The leadership of the Entertainment & Sports Law Society have worked amazingly hard to bring this stellar symposium to UF law, and the entire law school will benefit from the great publicity the symposium will receive,” said UF Law Professor and EASLS faculty adviser Lyrissa Lidsky.

She said the symposium will allow students to learn from the experiences of the best lawyers and other experts in the field, and it will give them networking opportunities that will help them throughout their careers.

“People used to get really excited about the Sports Law Symposium,” Corriveau said. “I thought reestablishing the event would allow students to learn about the growing sports law field. The more knowledge students can gain from the symposium, the more it can help them compete for internships and jobs.”

The symposium will be this Friday in the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

“We hope to have a large crowd at this year’s symposium to help create awareness to UF Law faculty that it is time for more courses in sports law and for our school to finally leverage its position as one of the top athletic programs in the country,” Corriveau said. “Currently, UF Law only has one course in sports, Sports Law Seminar, that has a 15-student cap and is offered every spring, but that is not nearly enough.”

As of mid-March, the symposium had more than 150 registrants.

The symposium will consist of two sessions, each featuring a keynote lecture followed by a panel discussion of the selected topic. The morning keynote will feature Dosh, the founder of BusinessofCollegeSports.com, former ESPN reporter and UF Law grad, speaking on “Amateurism and Collegiate Athletes.” The afternoon keynote, “Sports Agency and Professional Sports Athletes,” will be delivered by Heitner, the founder of Sports Agent Blog, partner at Wolf Law Miami, P.A., and author of How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Needs to Know (ABA).

Each panel discussion will feature leading sports law experts from across the country, including authors, attorneys, professors and sports agents.

Corriveau said there is a misconception about sports law, in that many attribute the industry to strictly player representation, but that’s not the case. Sports law is a growing field in law, he said, and every single professional and college team needs general counsel and compliance attorneys. Further, league player unions employ a substantial amount of attorneys, and as always there is the ultra-competitive field of sports agency.

Corriveau said, “Although the sports industry is a competitive field, a student that is passionate about this area of law can find a career opportunity. UF Law EASLS hopes to create more opportunities for students going forward. The group’s future is extremely bright.”