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Among his peers in the National Hockey League, New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur certainly stands out. Since winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 1993-94, he has led the Devils to two Stanley Cup championships and has played in six All-Star Games. He also stands out by being the only player in the NHL to be represented by a female attorney. Susan Ciallella, who is of counsel at Cozen & O’Connor, has represented Brodeur since 1997 and traveled with him this month to Denver, where he was a member of the North American All-Stars. For Ciallella, who joined Cozen in September 1998, practicing sports law is one of the most enjoyable parts of her job. The trip to Denver was just one of the many perks involved in representing a professional athlete. “It’s a great opportunity for me, because not only is it fun work, but I’m also given a lot of opportunities to meet a lot of neat people, to participate in things that I otherwise would not be able to participate in,” Ciallella said. “I have an 11-year-old son, who thinks it’s great because he gets to meet all of the players. It’s a lot of fun.” While representing a pro athlete requires a lot of time, Ciallella enjoys getting to make part of her living in the world of athletics. Ciallella said that fewer than 10 percent of the NHL’s players are represented by attorneys as opposed to agents. And none of those other lawyers is a woman. “I think that it’s unusual [for a professional athlete to have a female attorney],” Ciallella said. “It shouldn’t be rare, because you’re applying the same skill sets. I think a lot of it has to do with the individual interest, and I’m a big hockey fan.” While she may be a big hockey fan, Ciallella is not making as much money as many others who engage in sports representation, because she is not a registered sports agent. She charges Brodeur an hourly rate as she does with all of her clients. Most agents make a significantly higher amount by charging a percentage of the player’s contract. “Many of the agents are attorneys, and they do get a percentage of the contract,” Ciallella said. “But you have to be a registered agent in order to get a percentage of the contract.” Brodeur is currently making $5 million this season from his contract with the Devils, which expires at the conclusion of the 2001-02 season. According to the NHL Players Association, he is the 38th highest paid player and the sixth highest paid goalie in the league. In addition to the team contract, though, Ciallella also negotiates all endorsement and licensing deals for Brodeur, and she serves as his contact person with the NHLPA. A 1980 graduate of the University of Florida, where she worked for the athletic department, Ciallella always had a love for sports but never knew it would become part of her career. She chose law as a profession later in life and graduated from the Rutgers School of Law in 1995. Practicing in corporate and securities litigation and real estate law, Ciallella had no intention of representing professional athletes until she met Brodeur in 1997. Through a connection that her husband had with Devils coach Larry Robinson, Ciallella discovered that Brodeur did not have an agent at the time of his most recent contract signing in 1997. She negotiated that deal for him and has helped him with all of his representation since that point. “It was just serendipitous that I met him, and we took a liking to one another,” said Ciallella, who also has done work for Devils defenseman Scott Stevens and Minnesota Wild coach Jacques Lemaire. “I think once I gained his confidence and trust, I got more and more involved in what he was doing. I didn’t really have an interest in pursuing representation of professional athletes. It’s very time-consuming, and there’s a huge personal commitment.” That personal commitment includes things like attending the All-Star Game in Denver, traveling to the Stanley Cup Finals and taking trips to Toronto for commercial shoots. While there may be perks to the job, Ciallella estimates that 15 percent to 20 percent of her time is spent on Brodeur. That is one reason she feels fortunate being at a large firm like Cozen. Previously, if any of Brodeur’s work required outside help, she would need to seek advice elsewhere. At Cozen, that’s not the case. “The advantage of being at a firm like [Cozen], in particular with representing someone like Marty, is if I have an intellectual property question, which often happens because of the licensing agreements with the NHL and the [NHL Players Association], I can have someone here in IP take a look at any endorsement contracts, so they can advise me on that,” said Ciallella. She said she also takes advantage of Cozen’s international tax planning and estate planning practice groups to deal with issues that might arise due to Brodeur’s Canadian citizenship.

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