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Center for Sport Management to Host Jeffrey Kessler, Leading Sports Labor Lawyer

Headshot image of Jeffrey KesslerOn Wednesday, November 3 at 5 p.m., the Center for Sport Management in the Stillman School of Business will host a VIRTUAL event with Jeffrey L. Kessler, co-executive chairman of international law firm Winston & Strawn. Kessler is among the world’s leading sports law and trial lawyers, and he is the most successful sports antitrust attorney in the United States.

He has been lead counsel in some of the most complex antitrust, sports law, and intellectual property law cases in the country, including major jury trials, and has been referred to as everything from a “damn-good lawyer” to the “most powerful outside attack dog.” In a Fall 2019 article, Kessler’s alma mater, Columbia University, profiled him as The Champions’ Champion. Stating, “Kessler has long operated on the front line of athletes’ rights and interests as individual competitors, employees, union members and citizens.”

His recent victory in the NCAA v. Alston Supreme Court decision marks the first time in more than 30 years that the Supreme Court has weighed in on the governance of college sports. The ruling provides for an incremental increase in how college athletes can be compensated, and according to one source, “also opens the door for future legal challenges that could deal a much more significant blow to the NCAA’s current business model.” 

Kessler has also represented a number of U.S. and international companies in criminal and civil investigations in the antitrust, sports law, trade, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) areas. 

Charles Grantham, M.B.A., director of the Center for Sport Management and the former union executive with the National Basketball Players Association, said, “Jeffery Kessler is the most successful sports antitrust attorney in the USA. His recent victory in the NCAA v. Alston Supreme Court decision has changed the business landscape of collegiate sports.”

Kessler has taken the NFL on in a multitude of high-profile cases, including the 1992 case McNeil v. NFL, which resulted in free agency in the NFL; he has negotiated the current salary cap/free agency systems in the NBA and NFL; and represented quarterback Tom Brady during the Deflategate controversy.

He has received many awards and honors, and has been recognized by countless publications for his expertise – from Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Super Lawyer Magazine to U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers.

During “A Conversation with Jeffrey Kessler,” he will speak in-depth about his career experiences, his role in winning the historic NCAA case, and answer questions from students.

Grantham added, “Kessler will have a lot to share with the audience since he is also the attorney for the players on the U.S. Woman’s National Soccer Team in their fight for equal pay and playing conditions against the USA Soccer Federation.”

This is a must-attend event for students, especially those interested in the sports and legal fields.

About The Center for Sport Management

The Center for Sport Management is a top tier interdisciplinary program that includes courses in sport law, management, marketing, economics and finance, and specializes in prepping students for opportunities in professional and intercollegiate athletics and the industries that serve them.