The Sports, Entertainment & Media practice group includes more than a dozen lawyers who have tried and won significant lawsuits for sports, entertainment and media concerns in courts and arbitral tribunals throughout the United States and Europe, and advised on and closed significant transactions involving a variety of sports, entertainment and media-related assets. In addition, the group provides counseling on a wide range of issues to sports federations and governing bodies, sports teams, athletes and agents, media companies, musicians, artists and publishers.
The group brings an inter-disciplinary and international approach to our representation of sports, entertainment and media clients, calling upon our extensive worldwide resources not only in litigation but in such disciplines as intellectual property, corporate, securities, banking and finance, securitization, governmental relations and other fields whenever appropriate to deliver expert, efficient and cost-effective solutions to our clients' problems.
Mayer Brown has broad expertise in sports-related cases at every level, including professional, Olympic, collegiate and local. We represent national governing bodies, sports federations, professional teams, team owners, colleges, municipal and private corporations, lenders and investors, sports agents and prominent athletes. We have litigated sports cases before the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, and before CAS' ad hoc division for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. We have also tried cases before the arbitral tribunals of Olympic federations in the U.S. and abroad, and in courts throughout the United States and Europe. We regularly represent USA Track & Field (USATF) and the United States Golf Association (USGA), the national governing bodies for their respective sports in the U.S. Our representation of clients in sports matters has encompassed a wide range of issues, including federation rule-making powers and governance issues; questions of athlete eligibility; drug-testing programs; sale of broadcasting rights; development of arenas and sports venues; trademark licensing, endorsement and sponsorship; and legal questions relating to sports equipment, among many other matters.
Our lawyers have been at the center of some of the most prominent and cutting-edge sports litigations and arbitrations in recent years. Among Mayer Brown's recent victories are the successful defense of USATF in a highly publicized proceeding initiated by the International Association of Athletics Federations regarding the confidentiality of U.S. drug-testing results, and the successful defense of three top-ranked professional tennis players against doping charges. Mayer Brown's vigorous defense of the players led to the discovery and correction of a nandrolone contamination problem in products distributed to players by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the governing body for the men's tour.
The Mayer Brown Sports Law Group has the distinct advantage of including several lawyers who recently served as in-house counsel for major professional sports teams, including as general counsel for the Indianapolis Colts football team, general counsel of the Houston Rockets basketball team, and in-house counsel for the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.
Mayer Brown represents television networks and studios, motion picture production companies, record companies, a Broadway theatre production company, actors, authors and artists in a variety of matters, including disputes over contractual rights and obligations, royalty calculations, copyright and trademark rights, merchandising questions, and antitrust and unfair competition claims. Among other matters, we have represented a movie studio in defending against an idea misappropriation claim by a purported screenwriter, a record company in establishing New York common-law copyright protection for pre-1972 sound recordings which are not protected by the federal copyright statute, a music company in a challenge to its calculation of royalties over a multi-year period, and a famous actress in fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims against her former agent. We also represented the underwriters of the "Bowie Bonds" in the groundbreaking transaction which securitized the future royalty stream from David Bowie's portfolio of music.
Mayer Brown has wide-ranging experience in media-related matters at every level. We represent a national media company and various trade journal publishers regarding a variety of issues unique to the media industry. We have also represented a number of clients in defamation and invasion of privacy claims. We have litigated media-related issues in the state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate levels.
Professional Athletes, Sports Agents and Players Associations
We have represented top professional athletes on a wide range of legal issues, including eligibility questions, cases before anti-doping tribunals in various sports such as track & field and tennis, endorsement and licensing deals, contract claims and estate planning. We have also represented sports agents, including defending an agent from a professional malpractice claim brought by his client, an NBA player. In addition, one of our partners represented the NFL Players Association, the NBA Players Association and the Hockey Players Association in various litigation matters. Another of our partners, while an Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuted the participants in a nationwide conspiracy to produce and sell sports memorabilia carrying forged autographs of famous athletes, in a criminal enforcement action known as Operation Foul Ball.
Sports Federations, Leagues and Governing Bodies
We represent USA Track & Field, the national governing body for track & field in the U.S., in various litigation matters, including litigation arising from USATF's drug testing program. We have also acted as counsel in institutional arbitrations regarding regulatory disputes between Italian sports federations and the Italian Olympic Committee, advised on disputes between Italian sports federations and international bodies and acted as counsel for several Italian sports federations in litigation brought by athletes and third parties. We have represented the National Collegiate Athletic Association in significant antitrust litigation arising from the NCAA's rule-making activities, and the National Basketball Association in an antitrust challenge to the NBA's television broadcasting policies. Our long representation of the United States Golf Association, the governing body of golf in the U.S., has involved us in antitrust and other litigation regarding golf equipment, trademark litigation regarding golf handicaps and other issues, and unfair competition litigation regarding hospitality facilities at golf championships. We also serve as major outside counsel for The Big Ten Conference, America's most successful collegiate conference, in a variety of matters, including the sale of television broadcasting rights.
Professional Teams and Sports Venues
We are primary outside counsel for the Indianapolis Colts Football Team, and one of our partners recently served as general counsel for the Colts. We also represent England Football Enterprises, a subsidiary of The Football Association, the governing body of football in England, in the building of The National Football Centre. We have represented two municipal corporations, the Illinois Sports Facility Authority and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, in connection with the siting, development and construction of major sports facilities. We have represented commercial paper conduits in the securitization of contractually-obligated income streams from National Football League and National Hockey League venues, and private placement investors in the structured financing of a Major League Baseball stadium.
Intellectual Property Owners in Licensing Matters
We have represented three major golf courses (Pebble Beach Co., Resorts of Pinehurst and Sea Pines Resort) in litigation regarding intellectual property rights in golf course design. We represent Umbro in the licensing of soccer apparel worldwide, as well as in connection with the broadcast of soccer games on American television. We also represent Nike on licensing matters and in litigation to enforce intellectual property rights. We have advised a number of NBA athletes in contract disputes with sports memorabilia companies that claimed that the athletes had breached personal services contracts. We represent the Estate of Walter Payton, star Chicago Bears running back, in the protection and licensing of his name, image and likeness.
Television Networks and Studios
We have represented a television network in an action to enforce the exclusivity terms of an actor's contract and in "block booking" disputes with profit participants of motion picture films shown on the network. We have also represented a television studio in a dispute with talent concerning merchandising rights to the name and likeness of a well-known character on a television series. We have represented The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) and its wholly owned TV station (WMAQ-TV Chicago) in a variety of matters including defamation, prior restraint, fair use and invasion of privacy. We have also represented them in commercial matters such as breach of broadcast agreements and misappropriation of copyrighted materials.
Motion Picture Production Companies
We have expertise representing motion picture production companies in contractual disputes with talent, in idea misappropriation claims, and in movie and television net profit-participation disputes.
We have represented major record companies in numerous disputes, including royalty disputes, litigation over the ownership of and accounting for recording and music publishing rights and antitrust and unfair competition claims.
Broadway Theatre Production Company
We represent a major Broadway theater organization on an ongoing basis in various matters, including trademark protection and unfair competition. We also represent various local theatre groups on a variety of matters.
We have represented the publishers of trade journals and trade association newsletters in various matters, including claims of defamation, trade libel and prior restraint, fair use, invasion of privacy and unfair competition. We have represented media companies in defamation lawsuits and defended other clients in defamation matters.
We have represented many performing artists in litigation, including a Grammy award-winning R&B artist in a wide variety of copyright, commercial and contractual disputes; the former lead singer of a 1970s mega band in a trademark and copyright dispute with other band members; and a famous television actress in a fraud and breach of fiduciary duty suit against her former agent. We also represented the author of a popular book in a contract dispute with the production companies that helped produce her book into a movie.
SHE IS GREAT. SHE HAS BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY FOR OVER 20 YEARS. SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE'S TALKING ABOUT.Read more
SHE IS GREAT. SHE HAS BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY FOR OVER 20 YEARS. SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE'S TALKING ABOUT.Read less
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Mayer Brown is committed to diversity because it is the right thing to do and because it makes sound business sense. Diversity broadens our knowledge and skills, heightens our awareness of and sensitivity to cultural issues and equips us to respond to the challenges of serving a clientele that spans the globe. Diversity is a hallmark of Mayer Brown heritage and will be a key driver of our future success.
|At Mayer Brown, we view the attainment of diversity at all levels of our organization as crucial to, and a natural result of, building a cohesive, successful law firm. We recruit, develop and promote the highest caliber lawyers and are committed to providing our lawyers with opportunities to realize their potential regardless of race, religious beliefs, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.|
Inclusion begins with opportunity. We continue to seek innovative and effective ways to increase the number of diverse students interested in law school and to recruit diverse law students and lateral candidates. By engaging law schools and colleges directly, Mayer Brown builds programs for students at all levels of higher education to increase the pool of lawyers from diverse backgrounds. We also ensure that all our associates are provided challenging work experiences and the guidance necessary for success. We strive to keep all of our lawyers active, engaged and on the road to partnership in the firm and encourage them to make a meaningful contribution to the profession. By investing in the skills and abilities of all our lawyers, we create a wide variety of role models for the generations to follow.
Mayer Brown handles many of the most important cases and transactions for the largest companies in the world, and we consider our diversity efforts critical to the level of service we provide to our clients. Clients recognize diversity and inclusion as business imperatives critical for success in our multicultural world. To remain a world-class law practice, we must continue our push forward in these vital areas.
Our commitment to the professional development and advancement of our diverse attorneys is central to our diversity and inclusion programs. We strive to create a culture in which all our attorneys can thrive and advance. The Firm sponsors attendance at numerous external networking and educational conferences, such as:
The retreats have provided our lawyers from all of our U.S. offices with the opportunity to interact over the course of a weekend. The retreats have been a great success. The lawyers networked with one another while gaining valuable career advice from minority partners and senior associates. The retreats also give our associates the opportunity to meet with the leaders of the Firm, as well as allowing each to give suggestions and guidance as to how the Firm's recruitment, retention and promotion of diverse lawyers could be improved. The Firm uses the wealth of knowledge and insight gathered and shared at the retreats to inform our diversity efforts.
Members of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion host, in each office, periodic sessions with lawyers to share information about our diversity efforts and solicit ideas and comments regarding ongoing events and future initiatives. In addition, minority lawyers meet informally to provide ongoing opportunities for building relationships within the firm.
Women's Symposiums are hosted every other year for all female lawyers. These include workshops, panel discussions, networking receptions and presentations led by our female partners and leaders from the legal and business community. We are actively focused on opportunities to raise the visibility of our female lawyers, supporting their development through leadership conference participation, skill development programs and mentoring. We provide business development programs focused on issues unique to women attorneys and have held numerous networking events for our female attorneys and clients. In the past year, for example, our women attorneys have hosted women clients at a luncheon and private museum tour, a chamber music concert performed by female musicians (who discussed the career challenges they faced as women in their field), wine tastings and theater performances. We have partnered with the women’s groups of several clients for networking events and educational workshops. These programs have facilitated building relationships between our women lawyers and our clients, providing focused opportunities for our women lawyers not only to learn about our clients’ needs, but also to showcase their own talents. Each office hosts programs focusing on women’s professional development issues and periodic informal lunches for female lawyers to cultivate and strengthen relationships.
Family-friendly programs offered to Mayer Brown’s US lawyers include: part-time work opportunities; back-up child care service; paid leave of absences for new and adoptive parents, including up to 18 weeks for new mothers, and a coaching program to provide support to new parents returning to work from leave. The firm also offers up to 6 weeks paid leave for lawyers who need time to serve as a primary caregiver for elderly family members. In addition, Mayer Brown is a founding member and sponsor of the Project for Attorney Retention, which works to stem lawyer attrition at large firms by promoting work/life balance and the advancement of women in the legal profession.
Mayer Brown is committed to providing a thriving workplace for LGBT lawyers. We have provisions for same gender relationships in our domestic partner benefits program. We provide pro bono legal service for a number of LGBT-focused organizations as well as support for their organizational events. We participate annually in the Lavender Law Career Fair in order to increase the number of LGBT law student applicants to our summer associate program. The Committee on Diversity and Inclusion includes LGBT partners who monitor and push for progress in this important area.
Highlights and Achievements regarding LGBT rights issues at Mayer Brown include:
Mayer Brown is an equal opportunity employer and partnership. It is our policy to hire, train and promote lawyers without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, disability, national origin, or veteran's status. The Firm seeks to hire, develop and advance lawyers on the basis of their professional ability and strives to build a team of lawyers that reflects the diversity of our world.
Mayer Brown is signatory to several statements of goals for increasing the recruitment and retention of minority lawyers and women, including The Association of the Bar of the City of New York's "Statement of Goals of New York Law Firms and Corporate Legal Departments for the Retention and Promotion of Women" and its "Statement of Diversity Principles," The Chicago Bar Association’s “Call to Action”, the Houston Bar Association's "Gender Initiative Commitment Statement" and the New York County Lawyers' Association "Statement In Support of Diversity In The Legal Profession.” By proudly signing these statements, Mayer Brown publicly affirms its commitment to a culture of inclusion.
Our London office is a signatory to the UK Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Charter and supports the legal sectors PRIME initiative which provides quality work experience to young people from socially deprived and under privileged backgrounds.
Building for the Future
Diversity and inclusion are important keys to securing the future success of the Firm. Legal cultures that welcome and accept differences are the most successful in creating an environment where diverse attorneys thrive. The Firm's inclusion initiatives not only appeal to partners and the clients they interact with, they also attract bright young associates and college and high school-level interns who are encouraged by the dynamic, welcoming environment we provide. Through our various workshops, panel discussions, conferences, and events, and partnership with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), as well as through our diversity-related sponsorships and giving, we are building a bridge to an exciting, diverse future.
Law Schools, Colleges & High Schools
Through conferences, job fairs, panel discussions, and workshops, we make the legal profession less abstract and more familiar and accessible to students of all backgrounds. Providing the "nuts-and-bolts" of what lawyering is about helps students make informed career decisions and puts them on the path to professional success.
The scope and range of events that we are involved with demonstrate our desire to build diversity in as many ways as possible. Participating in special events that target specific groups is an effective way to build interest in our firm and to expand our culture of inclusion.
Through the sponsorship of law-related groups and events, we provide vital support to those who have made diversifying the legal world their central goal. These partnerships enable us to build lasting relationships with minority and female students and student groups while also sharing our own expertise during sponsored events and discussions.
Some examples of the organizations and events to which the Firm has donated are as follows:
Our outreach program is not restricted to young lawyers and students interested in the law. We are directly involved in the communities where our offices are located. We use our resources to strengthen educational and cultural institutions and to assist groups, associations and agencies that are already working for the good of our local communities.
Chicago Government & Global Trade partner Mary Richardson-Lowry has been named one of 50 “Women of Excellence” by the Chicago Defender, the leading daily newspaper serving Chicago’s African-American community. The award acknowledges and celebrates African-American women who personify the exemplary qualities of respect, responsibility, passion, sisterhood and leadership. Mary also was named president of the Chicago Board of Education earlier this year.
Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Mary Richardson-Lowry as a member of the Chicago Board of Education and recommended to the Board that she be named President, which she was. See http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/01_28_2010_PR1.aspx
LAW360 described Britt Miller as someone “With a reputation as a creative and thoughtful strategist” in designating her one of LAW360’s Ten Competition Lawyers under 40. See http://competition.law360.com/articles/157892
Steve Sanders, a Supreme Court & Appellate associate in the Chicago office, argued his first case before the Supreme Court this week. In Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, Sanders went up against former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has argued in front of the Court 51 times. Sanders represented Pottawattamie County and two of its former prosecutors who were sued for falsifying evidence after two men were deemed wrongly convicted in the murder of a retired Iowa police officer. In his argument, Sanders claimed the Constitution only guarantees the plaintiffs the right to a fair trial, not a fair investigation, and that the prosecutors are immune from any suit claiming they knowingly introduced false testimony in trial. To read news coverage about the case and Sanders’ first argument, click here.
Donna Morgan was named to the Top 10 Women List of Leading Women Consumer Lawyers in Illinois by Leading Lawyers Network. Additional lawyers listed in either the Top 100 Women of Leading Lawyers and/or the Top 100 Business Lawyers in Illinois by the Leading Lawyers Network are Fern Bomchill, Debora de Hoyos, Rebecca Eisner, Sheila Finnegan, Michele Odorizzi and Mary Richardson-Lowry.
Mayer Brown LLP, a leading global law firm, announced today that 123 of its attorneys are ranked in the 2009 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, including 32 who achieved top-band ranking or higher in 26 national and/or state categories.
The 2009 edition of the Chamber USA ranks 14 women partners from Mayer Brown. The partners, their areas and band ranking are:
Washington, DC partner Marcia Madsen has been named one of the “Attorneys Who Matter” in the field of corporate compliance by The Ethisphere Institute, an international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability. Honorees were chosen for their work in advancing the cause of ethics and corporate compliance.
Chicago partner Mary Richardson-Lowry, chairman of Mayer Brown's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, will be a speaker on the opening panel at the 2009 conference for The Leadership Institute for Women of Color Attorneys in Law & Business on March 4th in Atlanta. The panel will discuss the value of understanding the intricacies and politics of a law office, navigating diversity issues, the power of networking and the importance of law firm economics. The two-day event helps women of color attorneys develop critical skills necessary to become leaders in their field and provides networking and mentoring opportunities with other successful professionals.