vandivershannonBy Shannon Vandiver

With over 150 member attorneys in industries spanning the sports and entertainment worlds including those that serve as in house and outside counsel for all of North Carolina’s major league sports teams and properties as well as many of its minor league, amateur, collegiate and youth sports entities and attorneys representing artists, entertainers and media outlets all over the state, the Sports and Entertainment Law Section is truly the hub of the sports and entertainment legal world for North Carolina.

Our attorneys serve clients that include NASCAR and other motorsports teams, drivers and sanctioning bodies as well as NFL, NHL and NBA teams; athletes, coaching staffs and support personnel; NCAA schools and conferences including the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference; the North Carolina High School Athletic Association; media companies, stations and providers; musical, visual and performing artists, labels and venues; literary authors and publishers; and many, many others. Section members include corporate counsel, business transactional and litigation attorneys, attorneys who provide immigration law services for athletes, entertainers, performers, investors and producers; those whose practices are focused on technology or intellectual property, copyright, trademark or privacy law, promotions, digital media, internet, gaming and many other areas of the law that touch sports or entertainment. The largest concentrations of our section members are in the Charlotte and Triangle areas but we are also well represented in the Triad and in areas from Western North Carolina to the coast.

To thoughtfully prepare for how the Sports and Entertainment Law Section can best serve such a wide range of member attorneys, as well as law students interested in sports and entertainment law fields, the council held a strategic planning session in July.  For many years SEL Council leaders have generously lent their time and talents to organizing events and member benefits and this year’s team sought to continue to build on that as we look to provide members a year of quality programming, opportunities to meaningfully connect with each other and helpful information to keep the membership apprised of developments in the sports and entertainment law arenas.

Overarching goals for this year include:

  • Expanding our membership reach to additional attorneys whose practice areas touch the sports or entertainment industries including sports agents, attorneys with collegiate, amateur, youth or professional sports clients and those with clients providing ancillary financial or other support services to sports and entertainment properties;
  • A mix of networking and events that provide either relevant continuing education content and credit or hot topic forums;
  • Relevant and timely information and updates on legal, case law or legislative information through this new blog format as well as increased member connectivity through LinkedIn, the section listmanager and the Sports and Entertainment Law landing page on the NCBA website; and
  • Service to the North Carolina sports and entertainment communities through the creation of legal information content delivered through this blog and through videos.

This year we will expand our geographic reach with council meetings and section events in Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Charlotte and the annual meeting in Wilmington. Plans for the year include two North Carolina-based CLE opportunities. The  first will be The Rise of Daily Fantasy Sports and the Challenges Posed by Anti-Gambling Laws, presented in collaboration with the NCBA Litigation Section at Wake Forest University School of Law, on Dec. 1, 2016. The second CLE of this bar year will be presented in collaboration with the NCBA Intellectual Property Section at the annual meeting in Wilmington on April 28, 2017. The program will focus on gaming and other intellectual property issues affecting sports or entertainment . We will also, for the 10th year, collaborate with the Indianapolis Bar Association for the annual The Racing Attorney Conference (TRAC) which will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana in April 2017.

We have an outstanding team of distinguished council members and leaders this year who represent a true cross section of our sports and entertainment industries and I look forward to serving the section together with them and alongside Vice Chair Cary Davis and NCBA Staff Liaison Julianne Dambro, who is, perennially, the true star of the team. I am most grateful to the leadership of those who came before me, with whom I have had the pleasure to serve, including past chairs Matt Efird, Billy Traurig and Immediate Past Chair Nichelle Levy.

We hope you will find meaningful ways to engage with the section and its membership this year. We look forward to seeing you at one of the three section-sponsored CLEs or one of the four quarterly networking events. We would also invite you to contribute to this blog through the submission of articles, case analyses or other content. Please contact Matt Kelly (mkelly@kelly-lawgroup.com) or Neil Magnuson (nmagnuson@nascar.com) with blog submissions.

Thank you in advance for all that we will do together for the Sports and Entertainment Law Section of the NCBA this year, and please reach out to Vice Chair Cary Davis, to me or to any council member on ways the section can best serve our members and add value to your practice.

Shannon Vandiver is a solo practitioner in the Davidson area whose practice focuses on civil litigation and motorsports.