Jared Bartie (Martin Bentsen)
Jared Bartie, who once served as general counsel of the upstart Xtreme Football League and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., has joined O’Melveny & Myers’ high-powered sports practice as an entertainment, sports and media practice partner in New York.
The move comes two weeks after O’Melveny & Myers brought on DLA Piper partner Charles “Chuck” Baker to chair its sports industry group from the Big Apple. In a phone interview Monday, Bartie said that he has known Baker for at least a decade, one that saw Bartie hold a handful of high-profile jobs in the sports world.
After beginning his career as an associate at Proskauer Rose— the training ground for many a sports industry lawyer—Bartie left the firm in 1995 to become acting chief counsel for production at Black Entertainment Television, where he spent three years, before eventually landing the role of general counsel at Dennis Publishing, a company controlled by the late Felix Dennis that owned the U.S. version of notorious “lad” magazine Maxim.
From Maxim, where Bartie spent only a year as the publication’s first U.S. in-house lawyer, he moved to the XFL, a renegade professional football league launched by WWE chairman Vince McMahon and television executive Dick Ebersol that was the subject of a recent documentary by ESPN. Bartie, who does not appear in the film, credits the upstart league with launching his career in pro sports.
“It was [at the XFL] that I started doing media agreements, IP and stadium deals, and player contracts,” Bartie said. “It was a great experience. I was the sole in-house lawyer for the league and its eight teams.”
The XFL lasted only a year, so Bartie moved on, joining the U.S. Tennis Association in 2002 as chief legal officer and general counsel, a role he held for three years. In 2005, Bartie joined the National Basketball Association as vice president of team marketing and business operations, a position that saw him work with the league office and its member teams.
Bartie, who while growing up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, dreamed of becoming an NBA player, moved in 2007 from the NBA’s league office to the Charlotte Bobcats, a team owned at the time by BET founder Robert Johnson. Bartie served as the team’s chief administrative office and general counsel, leaving before its $275 million sale in 2010 to Michael Jordan. (The Bobcats, previously known as the Hornets, re-adopted their former name in 2015.)
In 2008, Bartie joined the WWE as its general counsel, a role he held for two years until he left the in-house ring in 2010 and made his move to Arent Fox in New York, where he advised the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers on the renaming of their home arena in 2013.
Bartie, 48, spent almost five years as a media and sports transactions counsel at Arent Fox before heading to Herrick in mid-2015. He made partner at Herrick last summer. The American Lawyer reported in December on Herrick’s merger talks with Crowell & Moring. (The website domain name www.herrickcrowell.com was registered anonymously on Dec. 27.)
Asked about the potential combination, Bartie said he had no opinion on it, expressing only optimism about the prospects for his predominantly corporate practice at O’Melveny & Myers. He cited the platform of O’Melveny & Myers, with its offices in Asia and connections with potential Chinese clients, as a key factor in his decision to switch firms. Bartie said he also represents two of the largest teams in e-sports, although he declined to name them.
Matthew Erramouspe, co-chair of O’Melveny & Myers’ entertainment, sports and media practice from Century City, California, played a key role in recruiting him to the firm, Bartie said. The firm’s additions of Bartie and Baker are the latest moves by O’Melveny & Myers to rebuild a practice hit hard in late 2014 by a spate of partner departures to Latham & Watkins.
O’Melveny & Myers also announced last week its recruitment of IP litigation and technology partner D. Sean Trainor in Washington, D.C., where he spent the past decade as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis.
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