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New Hampshire Launching Sports Law ProgramThe University of New Hampshire School of Law will launch a Sports and Entertainment Law Institute next fall that will combine courses, workshops, externships and conferences aimed at preparing students to practice in those fields. Leading the institute will be Michael McCann, who now teaches sports law at Vermont Law School.
2013-01-18 06:06:54 PM
The University of New Hampshire School of Law is known for its strong intellectual property program. Now administrators hope to make it a destination for students interested in sports and entertainment law.
The school will launch a Sports and Entertainment Law Institute next fall that will combine courses, workshops, externships and conferences aimed at preparing students to practice in those fields. Leading the institute will be Michael McCann, who now teaches sports law at Vermont Law School. He is co-author of the popular Sports Law Blog and a legal analyst for Sports Illustrated.
"The Sports and Entertainment Law Institute will be a great pairing with our historic strengths in trademark and copyright law," dean John Broderick said. "We are very fortunate to have Michael McCann, one of the most exciting legal scholars in the country, leading the way."
McCann said he anticipates offering two sports law courses -- one focused primarily on the law of professional sports, the other on amateur and international sports. Classes will cover major sports leagues including the National Football League and National Basketball Association, but also NASCAR and skiing.
"The scope of sports law continues to grow, and types of legal issues that arise are also increasing," McCann said. "With sports, you're dealing with intellectual property law, contract law, criminal law and even immigration law."
Those areas are also relevant to entertainment law, and the law school expects to offer a class in that area as well, he said. McCann hopes the institute will collaborate with the university's business school and athletic program. Students will have opportunities to extern with area sports and entertainment companies, including equipment manufacturers, agents, broadcasters or teams, he said.
Sports law programs have been growing in popularity. Marquette University Law School has run a widely respected program since 1989, and Tulane University Law School and Duke Law School also have well-regarded programs. Villanova University School of Law established a program in 2012 with a $5 million donation.
McCann acknowledged that these programs have their critics, who contend there are too few jobs in these practice areas; he said he is the first to warn students against fantasies of becoming hotshot sports agents a la Jerry Maguire right out of law school.
But there are plenty of overlooked opportunities in sports law, he said. For instance, colleges and universities often like to hire attorneys as compliance officers who enforce NCAA, state and federal rules, he said, and sports can start out as a small component of a practice that grows over time.
Even if a student never goes on to practice sports law, sports law classes are a compelling way to teach legal concepts ranging from antitrust law to contracts, McCann said.