TOLEDO, Ohio — Attorneys in the sports practice group at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, a national business law firm with five offices and more than 240 attorneys, recently launched social media channels to redefine the business of athletics at the collegiate and professional level.
As the attention and scrutiny that athletes and coaches face increases exponentially from year to year, attorneys in Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP’s sports practice group are sharing their expertise online, blogging at the Shumaker Sports Report and tweeting @ShumakerSports about many of the major legal issues that have come to dominate headlines about sports and athletes.
“Athletes, like celebrities, are turning more and more to social channels to communicate with fans and followers, and we felt that joining that conversation in a meaningful and useful way would give our clients another asset and a modern way to benefit from our collective experiences,” said Bennett H. Speyer, the attorney who spearheaded the creation of Shumaker’s sports practice group after arriving at the firm’s Toledo, Ohio office in 2011.
While working as a tax and business lawyer, Speyer began working with an elite college coach, helping him restructure his multimillion-dollar contract to ensure maximum financial stability. After that first project, he began to expand his services while working with a number of other coaches and athletic directors at major universities.
By joining Shumaker, Speyer was able to offer clients a one-stop shop for all their legal needs. Shumaker’s sports practice group works with clients on issues as diverse as hiring, disciplinary matters, terminations, negotiating severance agreements, internal investigations, franchising, immigration compliance and visa support, representation in litigation or other legal proceedings, estate planning, creating philanthropic foundations, and organizing sports camps.
“With the full range of legal services that someone is going to encounter in his or her career, we’ve got the expertise to solve their problems,” Speyer says. “That’s the advantage of working with a firm with international reach like Shumaker.”
Attorney Dana Drew Shaw joined the firm and the sports practice group in January, bringing years of experience as a high-profile college basketball player to the team. From 1990-95, Shaw played point guard for the University of Toledo Rockets, ending her career as the university’s all-time leader in assists and fourth in career points scored. She attended law school after graduating then married University of Toledo men’s basketball star Casey Shaw, who was later drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers. The couple and their family spent many years in Europe, primarily in Italy, as Casey pursued a professional basketball career.
With her global experience, and coming from a family of Division 1 basketball coaches, Shaw, who now lives in Chicago, works on issues that face collegiate coaches and athletic directors, professional athletes and coaches domestically and abroad, and adds her experience to the blog.
“Our strong suit so far has been the college arena, but we’re looking at ways to grow, and that includes taking advantage of Shumaker’s broad expertise in international law,” Shaw says.
Speyer, Shaw and attorney Seth P. Traub from Shumaker’s Tampa office — a former sports writer for the Miami Herald with a background in sports management — all offer insights into the world of collegiate and professional athletics on the sports practice group’s new blog and Twitter feed. “It’s a great way to update the public about some of the legal developments that might drastically alter the American sports landscape, like the pending decision in former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit challenging NCAA rules that prevent athletes from profiting from the use of their name, image and likeness,” said Speyer. Other recent topics tackled by the blog include tips on contracts, Title IX hiring rules and the impact of technology on refereeing.
With the sports marketplace transforming at such a rapid pace, the Shumaker sports practice group is rewriting the rules about legal representation for coaches, athletes, athletic directors, universities and conferences.
About Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP is a full-service business law firm with more than 240 lawyers, 60 paralegals and 495 employees in five offices: Toledo and Columbus, Ohio; Tampa and Sarasota, Florida; and Charlotte, North Carolina. In each of its markets, Shumaker is the premier provider of quality legal services to individuals, small businesses, health care providers, nonprofits and Fortune 500 and international corporations.