Over the years, lawyers at M&R have represented athletes, coaches, and the agents and agencies that represent them in most every sports league (the NFL, NBA, and NHL included) and organization (PGA, WTA, NCAA, SafeSport, etc.), providing a level of service to sports professionals typically reserved for ownership and management.
M&R's sports lawyers prides itself on offering our clients in the sports world a full suite of services, from representation in the courtroom and at arbitration and league grievances to advice and counsel concerning transactional and corporate law (including endorsement deals), intellectual property and licensing issues, real estate, crisis management, and criminal defense.
Areas Of Expertise
- Bankruptcy & Restructuring
The bankruptcy practice at M&R is in a league of its own. We skillfully handle the matters facing debtors—whether they be individuals, corporations, partnerships, LLCs, or equity holders—in the full range of bankruptcy-related matters. These include early-stage evaluations and asset protection, pre-petition planning, adversary proceedings and related insolvency litigation, relief from stay, out-of-court workouts, business reorganizations and bankruptcies, complex Chapter 7 liquidation and Chapter 11 reorganization cases, and distressed asset purchases and sales, to name a few.
Complementing our extraordinary team of bankruptcy attorneys are tax, corporate, real estate, and litigation lawyers that are at the top of their respective fields. Together, these legal pros provide outstanding representation for all types of entities and individuals facing major liabilities, slumping business, and cash-flow problems.
- Commercial & Business Litigation
Our clients’ personal protection, bottom lines, and business objectives are front of mind whenever M&R's Commercial & Business Litigation Practice Group is called for representation.
The firm’s commercial and business litigators handle virtually all types of disputes wherever they may arise—in federal and states courts nationwide, in the administrative and regulatory setting, and before arbitrators and mediators across the country. We are renowned for handling the most challenging of cases, and whatever the issues may be, our approach to every matter is exacting, thorough, strategic and, above all, effective.
- Corporate & Securities
The reach of M&R’s Corporate & Securities Practice Group spans industries and borders. We represent a domestic and international clientele in transactions in numerous sectors–Banking & Financial Services, Consumer Products, Digital Media & Advertising, Entertainment & Music, Health Care, Hospitality, Insurance, Real Estate, Retail & Apparel, and Sports, among them. These deals range from routine financings to highly complex acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, and endorsement transactions. Likewise, our transactional team guides our clients (athletes, coaches, agents, and agencies, included) through the life cycle of their businesses, routinely handling entity formation and then providing advice and counsel regarding day-to-day operations, expansion, and ultimately sales, mergers, or other liquidity events. In all cases, our transactional attorneys bring a practical, business-focused mindset that enables them to accomplish client goals in an efficient and business-savvy manner.
- Criminal Defense
M&R’s criminal trial specialists, including those who are former federal prosecutors, are single-minded in their efforts to protect oftentimes high-profile clients facing felony and misdemeanor charges and significant monetary penalties. They do so both domestically and internationally and across jurisdictions in cases involving the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Internal Revenue Service, state prosecutors, and attorney general offices, among others. From grand jury subpoenas and trials to appeals and post-verdict litigation, we are exceptional advocates with extensive experience.
- Intellectual Property & Licensing
M&R’s IP pros take all steps necessary to register—and by extension, protect—client trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Likewise, we provide sought after advice and counsel on licensing strategies, which frequently involves the negotiating and drafting of licensing agreements. In our view, the legal justifications for protecting IP on behalf of athletes and coaches are too often overlooked. Yet registering copyrights, trademarks, and patents have a meaningful impact in terms of their owner’s bottom line. Without question, the enhanced rights that are part and parcel to the IP protection we provide add significant value to personalities, brands, and businesses.
- Real Estate
The importance of real estate holdings in our clients’ overall allocation of assets and within their investment portfolios is not lost on M&R. Indeed, our Real Estate Practice Group has its hands in virtually every aspect of real estate law, from advising buyers and sellers of residential and commercial property to providing counsel to developers, builders, institutional investors, borrowers, and lenders. And because real estate transactions frequently touch upon a broad range of issues, M&R’s real estate practitioners routinely collaborate with lawyers from our Banking & Financial Services, Construction, Corporate & Securities, Environmental, and Tax Practice Groups, all of whom are well versed in the real estate business. And when transactions result in litigation, our commercial and business litigators are poised to handle even the most difficult of cases.
- Represented NFL linebacker Jonathan Vilma in so-called “Bountygate” investigation and effort to discipline members of the New Orleans Saints in both league and judicial proceedings, which representation resulted in Vilma’s exoneration.
- Represented two position players on the Minnesota Vikings in the so-called “StarCaps” litigation that established the precedent that the NFL cannot circumvent state laws providing safety, privacy, and health protections to employees.
- Represented NFL running back Ray Rice in his successful challenge to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s disciplinary authority. In so doing, assured that the principle of double jeopardy applies to NFL matters.
- Represented NFL quarterback Michael Vick in matters relating to his victimization in a series of financial fraud schemes.
- Represented several individual members of the NFL in connection with internal league investigations, including one involving the New England Patriots.
- Represented NFL offensive tackle Russell Okung before the U.S. Department of Labor concerning his challenge of the 2020 ratification of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.
- Represented former NHL defenseman Slava Fetisov, the first player who refused to pay a bounty to the Kremlin, in litigation relating to his escape from Russia to play in the NHL.
- Represented James Smith, President of USA Hockey, in a variety of multifaceted matters.
- Represented NBA all-star Kawhi Leonard in litigation matters, intellectual property registrations and enforcement, and negotiating endorsement opportunities and resulting agreements.
- Represented professional basketball player in successful international proceedings adverse to a Chinese professional team.
- Represented Marlene Stollings, former head women’s basketball coach at Texas Tech University, challenging her wrongful termination based, in part, upon gender discrimination.
- Represented several officers of the NBA Players Association in criminal matters, as well as league investigations involving the conduct of former union head Billy Hunter.
- Represented athletes in a number of international proceedings, including before the Basketball Arbitral Tribunal and the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
- Represented golf professional Vijay Singh in his challenge to the PGA Tour’s efforts to discipline him for his use of an over-the-counter supplement. Alleged that the organization violated its duty of fair dealing in administering its disciplinary process.
- Represented professional golfer Patrick Reed in multiple PGA Tour-related matters, along with endorsement deals and miscellaneous contractual matters.
- Represented Madison Brengle, a top 100 player on the WTA Tour, in litigation adverse to two women’s tennis organizations challenging their drug testing methods that inflicted serious medically diagnosable consequences.
- Represented college coaches, including Hall of Famers Larry Brown and Les Miles, and student-athletes with regard to NCAA investigations and university oversight.
- Represent several sports agents and agencies in both litigation and transactional matters.
- Represented multiple players and coaches across professional leagues in many criminal matters nationwide, including the notorious Nike payoff investigations that played out in New York federal court.
- Represented dozens of players, coaches, and agents in various league disciplinary proceedings, grievances, and arbitrations.
- Represented minor league baseball team in dispute with local government regarding playing rights.