Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Benefit of Being A Lawyer/ Sport's Agent

The following is an article by Darren of SAB from a while ago.  It does a great job at pointing out some of the advantages of being a sports agent that holds a JD.  It also talks a little about ethics in the industry and its regulation. 

Possible advantages for attorney Sports Agents: competence, education, accountabilitybar association-mandated and -regulated rules of ethicsExpertise in contract drafting & negotiation, familiarity with collective bargaining agreements, retention of professional malpractice insurance, and adhering to stringent ethical standards.

* What is italicized is what I feel is highly subjective. What is in bold seems to be pretty important points.

Ethical attorney agents have had a competitive disadvantage in signing clients because of their bar-mandated ethical obligations that they must adhere to (if they actually do). As I have stated in a post all the way back on February 15th, SPARTA (The Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act) has attempted to change that and treat all agents alike. SPARTA implements attorney-like regulations for all Sports Agents.

SPARTA only deals with recruiting and signing student-athletes, and says nothing about an agent’s conduct once a representation agreement is made between player and agent. In the future, this may be a good place for politicians to pick up where SPARTA left off.

SPARTA is backed by Scott Boras.

The article contends that the introduction and implementation of SPARTA will lead to the extreme rise of the attorney-agent in the world of sports representation. If you were to believe every detail in the review, it would give a clear cut answer to the most popular question in my inbox: “Should I go to law school if I want to be an agent?.” The answer would be a resounding yes, but you need to make up your own mind on whether the review has its merits.

The Model Rules, which is an ethical code produced by the American Bar Association, bind all lawyers who are acting as Sports Agents. The article believes that SPARTA is strikingly similar to many parts of the Model Rules.

Are unethical agents really without their arsenal of cash inducements, fancy cars, etc. now that SPARTA has been passed? Has the threat of prosecution changed these unethical practices? My personal opinion is that SPARTA looks great on paper, but that without proper enforcement, non-attorney agents will continue to have an upper-hand on attorney agents. Since SPARTA’s enactment, no state or educational institution has commenced litigation against an agent under the right of action conferred by SPARTA, and the FTC has not used SPARTA in any one case. SPARTA does not include a private right of action for the student athlete. This may be why there has not been much litigation. These facts will not deter me from obtaining my law degree, however. Hopefully it will inspire us future/current attorney-agents to continue the battle against certain unethical agents, and spur a change in the enforcement of penalties against those who wish to corrupt our business.

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