Sports law makes hot list

The Penn State University scandal involving Jerry Sandusky and the Lance Armstrong scandal grabbed the national headlines this year, along with stories on lockouts, performance-enhancing drugs and other legal issues. What’s that mean? More work for attorneys.

Legal jobs in the sports industry are red-hot right now, according to Robert Denney Associates’ 24th annual year-end market report on what is hot or not in the legal profession.

“I was a little surprised that it started to pop up,” said Bob Denney, president of the company about sports law making the top of the list. “Those firms that cover sports law, it has really become hot for them this year.”

He said the field covers all ranges of sports from collegiate to professional, negotiating advertising arrangements or contracts and everything in between.

“[Sports law] could even involve — now with all this concern about concussions — the medical area and personal injury claims,” Denney said. “It’s almost anything as long as it’s done for an athlete or a school athletic department or the owners of a team.”

He said the trend is boosting work at firms both large and small.

Of course there are many programs dedicated to sports administration, but an attorney doesn’t necessarily need to be an expert in that field to land a job in the practice area. The attorney could have experience in areas such as advertising, contracts, intellectual properties or business acquisitions, to name a few.

“The expertise comes from the specific area of law and then applying it to the athletic client,” Denney said.