Sports Lawyers Association 45th Annual Conference

What's the Format? 

You will have time to ask questions after the individual presentations or panel discussions. There will be social events and other opportunities to meet speakers, SLA Board members, and other registrants, as well as to learn about the Sports Lawyers Association.

What About Substitutions or Cancellations? 

Substitutions may be made at any time. Written cancellations must be received by by May 1; 75 percent of the registration fee will be refunded or the paid fee can be applied to the 2020 Annual Conference in Miami. All registration fees must be paid before the meeting. On-site registrants are expected to pay all fees Conference on-site; SLA will not invoice.

What If I'm only Attending the NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor Session?

Registration for the SLA Annual Conference covers all educational sessions, as well as the NFL Certified Contract Advisor Session. There is no separate, single fee for this specific session. Questions regarding your individual NFLPA requirements should be directed to the NFLPA office in Washington, DC.

Is This Conference Tax Deductible? 

Income tax deductions for expenses of education, including travel, meals, lodging, and registration fees, undertaken to maintain and improve professional skills are allowed under Treas. Reg. 1.162.5 and Coughlin v. Commissioner, 203 F 2nd 307, and subject to the tax reform act of 1986.

Conference Attire 

The conference attire will be business casual.

Supporting Materials

Conference handouts will be accessible on online as well through the Conference mobile app.

On-Site CLE Questions 

A representative will be present to answer specific CLE questions.


Click here



Wednesday, May 15

1:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Arbitrators & Mediators Seminar
This Wednesday CAS session is only open to CAS Arbitrators and Mediators and registration for this Seminar should be handled directly through CAS. Should CAS Seminar attendees wish to also attend the SLA Annual Conference, Melissa Pomerene, SLA Executive Director (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), can assist CAS members with SLA Conference registration.

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Academic Research Paper Session
Six sports law academic papers — with a variety of different research designs (doctrinal, quantitative, qualitative) — will be presented during this three-hour session. Topics include antitrust, intellectual property, criminal law, governance, labor relations, and agency law. Each paper will be presented by the author for twenty minutes, with ten minutes of moderator/audience questions to follow.


Thomas A. Baker, III, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Suwanee, GA

Ryan M. Rodenberg, Associate Professor, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL


Marc Edelman, Baruch College
John Holden, Oklahoma State University
Ignatius Ingles, Ateneo de Manila University School of Law
Joshua Lens, University of Arkansas
Matt Nichol, Monash University
Daniel Rascher, University of San Francisco

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm


Thursday, May 16

9:00 am – 6:15 pm


9:30 am – 11:00 am

Breaking Into the Sports Law Industry


Samuel Renaut, Director, Sports Law & Business Program, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ


Buffy Filippel, TeamWork Online, Cleveland, OH
Dana L. Hooper, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Phoenix, AZ
Jason R. Krochak, Associate, Proskauer Rose LLP
Felipe Saltz, Director, Business & Legal Affairs, FOX Sports, Los Angeles, CA

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Networking and New Members Reception
Sponsored by     

12:15 pm – 12:25 pm

SLA 2019 Annual Conference Welcome
SLA President, Nona Lee

12:25 pm – 12:30 pm

Opening Remarks 
Richard Thigpen
, 2019 Annual Conference Chair

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

An Overview of Recent Legal Developments in Sports

Gabe Feldman, Paul and Abram B. Barron Professor of Law, Tulane Law School; Director, Tulane Sports Law Program; Associate Provost for NCAA Compliance, Tulane University; Mediator/Arbitrator, MAPS, New Orleans, LA

Matt Mitten, Professor of Law and Executive Director, National Sports Law Institute, Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, WI; Member, Court of Arbitration for Sport, Lausanne, Switzerland

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm

eSports the Next Big Thing


Jared Bartie, Co-Chair, Sports Industry Group, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, New York, NY


Robert D. Forbes, Senior Director Legal - Esports Leagues, Activision Blizzard, Santa Monica, CA
Christopher Greeley, Senior Manager, Esports League Operations, Riot Games, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
Mat Jessep, Director, Sports, Esports & Entertainment Law, DWF (Australia)
Ari Segal, CEO, Immortals LLC, Los Angeles, CA
Bobby Sharma, Special Adviser, Foley & Lardner LLP, and Founding Partner, Electronic Sports Group, New York, NY

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm

Refreshment Break

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Deciphering the Hype: Legal and Business Impacts of Technology and Social on Sports Media


Debbie Spander, Senior Vice President Broadcasting and Coaching, Wasserman, Los Angeles, CA


Josh Kane, Senior Legal Counsel, Twitter, Walnut Creek, CA
Zack Sugarman, Senior Vice President Properties & Digital Media, Wasserman, Los Angeles, CA
Alex Vermeychuk, Vice President and Assistant Chief Counsel-Media, NBA, New York, NY

5:00 pm – 6:15 pm

Athletics Issues Through the Lens of College and University Counsel


Noah Knight, NCAA Division I, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Chair, Kansas City, Missouri


Kimberley Demarchi, Senior Associate General Counsel, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Rebecca Gose, General Counsel, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Brian W. White, General Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs, University of Kansas, Kansas City, KS

6:15 pm – 7:15 pm

Opening Reception
Sponsored by     

Friday, May 17

7:30 am – 5:00 pm


7:30 am – 8:30 am

Continental Breakfast
Sponsored by     

7:30 am – 8:30 am

Continental Breakfast: New Member Breakfast
Sponsored by     

7:30 am – 8:30 am

Continental Breakfast: Outreach Captains Breakfast
By invitation only

8:30 am – 10:30 am

How to Stay Ethical When Dealing with a Difficult Client or Difficult Lawyer


Mary Kay Braza, Chair, Sports Industry Team, Foley & Lardner LLP, Milwaukee, WI
Robert A. DuPuy, Partner, Foley & Lardner, LLP, New York, NY
Bobby Hacker, Principal, Robert A. Hacker Attorney At Law, Marina del Rey, CA
Stephanie A. Jarvis, Principal, SJarvis Consulting; Lecturer, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Scottsdale, AZ
Stephanie Vardavas, Adjunct Professor of Sports Business, University of Oregon, Portland, OR
Norman Wain, General Counsel and Chief of Business Affairs, USA Track & Field, Indianapolis, IN
Robert E. Wallace, Jr., Partner and Chairman of the Sports Law Group, Thompson Coburn LLP, St Louis, MO

10:30 am – 10:45 am

Refreshment Break
Sponsored by     

10:45 am – Noon

Athlete Abuse: The Human and Legal Issues


Jayma M. Meyer, Counsel, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, Visiting Clinical Professor, Indiana
University, Bloomington, IN


Rachael Denhollander, Gymnast, Survivor, Educator and Attorney, Louisville, KY
Janet Judge, Partner, Holland & Knight, Boston, MA
Sarah Klein, Gymnast and Survivor, Attorney, Dalton & Associates, Philadelphia, PA
John Manly, Founder, Manly & Stewart & Finaldi, Irvine, CA

12:15 pm – 1:30 pm

Sponsored by Morgan Stanley

Moderated by SLA President, Nona Lee
Sponsored by     

SLA 2019 Philanthropy Initiative

SLA 2019 Michael Weiner Sports Lawyers Association Award of Excellence:
Ray Anderson, Director of Athletics, Arizona State University

SLA 2019 Seventh Annual Law Student Writing Competition Awards: first, second and third place winners to be announced

1:45 pm – 3:45 pm

NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor Session (only for certified contract advisors)


Tom DePaso, General Counsel, NFLPA, Washington, DC
Athelia N. Doggette, Assistant Director of Salary Cap and Agent Administration, NFLPA
Ned Ehrlich, Associate General Counsel, NFLPA, Washington, DC
Mark Levin, Director of Salary Cap and Agent Administration, NFLPA, Washington, DC

1:45 pm – 3:45 pm

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Update: Recent Developments in Procedure and Disputes Involving the Olympic Games, Soccer, Doping and Sport Governance


Matthieu Reeb, Secretary General, Court of Arbitration for Sport, Lausanne, Switzerland
Jeff Benz, Arbitrator/Mediator, JAMS (Los Angeles) & Barrister, 4 New Square (London)
James Bunting, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Toronto, ON, Canada
Brent J. Nowicki, Legal Counsel, CAS Managing Counsel, Lausanne, Switzerland
Johnathan Taylor, Partner, Bird and Bird, London, United Kingdom

1:45 pm – 2:45 pm

Want to Bet? The Post PASPA Sports Wagering Landscape


Naima Stevenson Starks, Deputy General Counsel, NCAA, Indianapolis, IN


Adolpho A. Birch III, Senior Vice president of Labor Policy & League Affairs, NFL, New York, NY
David Miller, Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, PGA TOUR, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Clarence Nesbitt, General Counsel, NBPA, New York, NY
Maureen Riehl, Principal & Counsel, MultiState Associates Inc., Washington, DC

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

When a Sports Client's Problems Go Public: Managing the Public Relations and Litigation Crisis


C. Peter Goplerud, III, President, InfiLaw Management Solutions, Naples, FL


Ari Fleischer, President, Fleischer Communications, Pound Ridge, NY
Ben A. O'Neil, Partner, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, New York, NY
Jay K. Reisinger, Partner, Farrell & Reisinger, LLC, Pittsburgh, PA

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

Stadium and Event Financing


Irwin Raij, Partner and Co-Chair of the Sports Law Practice, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, New York, NY


Richard Haddad, Senior Vice President, Business Affairs & General Counsel, Palace Sports & Entertainment and Detroit Pistons, Detroit, MI
John Keenan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, AEG
Karin Nelsen, Vice President, Legal & Social Impact, Minnesota Vikings, Minneapolis, MN

3:45 pm – 4:00 pm

Refreshment Break
Sponsored by     

4:00 pm – 4:55 pm


Session A: Commercialization of Athlete Names & Images


Robert W. Fuller, Shareholder, Robinson Bradshaw, Charlotte, NC
Kevin W. Goering, Partner, Mintz& Gold, New York, NY


Session B: Labor Relations Update


Richard Berthelsen, Former General Counsel, NFLPA

Glenn Wong, Executive Director, Sports Law & Business Program, Distinguished Professor of Practice – Sports Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ


Hal Biagas, President and Founder, Sideline Sports Management; Executive Director, LCS Payer Association, New York, NY
David Greenspan, Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP, New York, NY


Session C: Legal Issues Arising Out of eTicketing

Melissa Goldenberg, General Counsel, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Klas Bäck, Head of Business Development, Markets, Strategy and Payment Optimization, Braintree, Los Angeles, CA
Justin Burleigh, Chief Product Officer, Ticketmaster, San Francisco, CA


Session D: How to Stop Bad Conduct in Sport Without Going Too Far


Antonio Rigozzi, Partner, Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, Geneva, Switzerland


Howard Jacobs, Law Offices of Howard L. Jacobs, Los Angeles, CA
Ian Penny, General Counsel, MLBPA, New York, NY
Emily Wisnosky, Université de Neuchâtel, Lausanne, Switzerland


Session E: Advising Clients on Finance Issues

D. Max Hilsman, Executive Director, Complex Manager, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Atlanta, GA
Eddie Johnson, Sports Agent, Eastern Athletic Services, Sparks, MD


Session F: Law of Sports Products


Stephanie Vardavas, Adjunct Professor of Sports Business, University of Oregon, Portland, OR 
Kelly Jones, Senior Counsel & Director of Business Affairs, Sports Marketing, Under Armour, Baltimore, MD


Session G: Are College Athletes University Employees- Current Litigation & Potential Workers Comp Ramifications


Richard Wagenheim, Partner, Wagenheim & Wagner P.A., Fort Lauderdale, Fl


Robert Buch, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw, Los Angeles, CA
Matt Mitten, Professor of Law and Director, National Sports Law Institute, Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, WI; Member, Court of Arbitration for Sport, Lausanne, Switzerland
Robert E. Wisniewski, Attorney, Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski PC, Phoenix, AZ


Session H: Inside Arbitration: Insights from the Sports Law Advocates, Arbitrators, and Parties


Maureen Weston, Professor of Law, Director, Entertainment Media & Sports Law Program, Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, CA


Patrick Houlihan, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Labor Relations, MLB
Roger P. Kaplan, Arbitrator, Alexandria, VA
Barbara Reeves, Arbitrator and Mediator, JAMS, Los Angeles, CA
Maurice M. Suh, Gibson, Dunn,& Crutcher, LLP, Los Angeles, CA
Lance Tanaka, Vice President, American Arbitration Association, Denver, CO


Session I: Immigration Update


Giselle Carson, Shareholder, MarksGray, Jacksonville, FL
Jon Velie, Sports Immigration Attorney, Velie Law Firm, Norman, OK


Session J: Tactics and Strategies for Negotiating Venue, Event and Team Sponsorships


Kari D. Cohen, Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, BSE Global, Brooklyn, New York


Stokely G. Caldwell, Jr., Robinson & Bradshaw, Charlotte, NC
Richard L. Brand, Managing Partner, Arent Fox LLP, San Francisco, CA


Session K: Teaching Sports Law


Alfred C. Yen, Law School Fund Scholar and Director of Emerging Enterprises and Business Law Program, Boston College Law School, Boston, MA


Platon Elias, Attorney, Elias Law Firm, Plandome, NY
Daniel Gandert, Clinical Assistant professor of Law, Northwestern Law, Chicago, IL
Despina Mavromati, Attorney, SportLegis Lausanne, Adjunct Professor, University of Lausanne, Switzerland


Session L: Legal Issues for Start-up Leagues


Oliver Luck, CEO and Commissioner, XFL, Stamford, CT
Rishi K. Sehgal, Interim Commissioner, Director of Business Development and Legal Affairs, NASL
Richard J. Volante, CEO and Co-Founder, Historical Basketball League Enterprises, Inc., Cleveland, OH


Session M: Hot Topics in High School and Youth Sports


John Black, General Counsel, National Federation of State High School Associations
Mark Mignella, Legal Counsel, Arizona Interscholastic Association, Phoenix, AZ


Session N: Chasing Major International Events


Maidie E. Oliveau, Counsel, Arent Fox LLP, Los Angeles, CA


Christopher McCleary, General Counsel, USOC, Colorado Springs, CO
Patrick Eyers, General Counsel & Company Secretary, Rugby Australia, Sydney, Australia
Kate Koster, Vice President, Legal, MLS, New York, NY

5:00 pm – 5:55 pm

BREAKOUT SESSION #2 (same topics and rooms as previous sessions)

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

SLA President's Reception
Sponsored by     

Saturday, May 18

8:00 am – 3:00 pm


8:00 am – 9:30 am

Continental Breakfast (all attendees)

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Continental Breakfast: Women in SLA

8:30 am – 9:30 am

Continental Breakfast: International Breakfast
Informal networking event for our international attendees and others wishing to participate.

9:30 am – 11:00 am

General Counsels' Forum (invited to speak)


Abraham D. Madkour, Executive Editor, SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily


Adolpho A. Birch, III, Senior Vice President of Law and Labor Policy, NFL
William L. Daly III, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Legal Officer, NHL
Jamin S. Dershowitz, General Counsel, WNBA
Patrick Houlihan, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Labor Relations, MLB
William Z. Ordower, Executive Vice president and General Counsel, MLS
Dan Spillane, Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, NBA

11:00 am – 11:15 am

Refreshment Break

11:15 am – 12:45 pm

Executive Directors' Forum (invited to speak)


Abraham D. Madkour, Executive Editor, SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily


Tony Clark, Executive Director, MLBPA
Donald Fehr, Executive Director, NHLPA
Bob Foose, Executive Director, MLS Players Union
Michele Roberts, Executive Director, NBPA
DeMaurice F. Smith, Executive Director, NFLPA

12:45 pm

Meeting Adjourns

Event Properties

Event Date 15-05-2019 13:30
Event End Date 18-05-2019 12:45


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