What to expect from a career as a sports lawyer

The role of a sports lawyer is often misunderstood. What can you expect from a career as a lawyer working in the world of sport?

Sport is a multi-billion-dollar industry that is growing all the time. Huge deals and agreements are made in the world of sport, which means there is always a demand for lawyers and legal experts to help secure these deals and ensure they get over the line.

The idea of a sports lawyer might sound strange to some people, but the truth is that they play an enormously important role and without them, the sporting world would not be able to function as it does today. Read on to find out what to expect from a career as a sports lawyer.

Different types of sports law

Working as a lawyer means you can choose to specialise in certain areas. For example, you could be a criminal defence lawyer, a property lawyer, or a media lawyer. Each of these specialities requires specific knowledge, training, and experience, and the job roles themselves can offer unique advantages and disadvantages.

However, while the above examples are well-established law niches, there really is no such thing as a sports lawyer. Instead, sports lawyers tend to be lawyers working within a certain established category who focus on serving clients in the sporting world.

If you decide to focus on sports in your career as a lawyer, let’s take a look at some examples of the work you could be doing.

Working for organisations

Sports organisations, such as professional football clubs, are huge companies often valued in the billions of dollars. What this means is that they will require the service of a team of lawyers all working to ensure the best interests of the business are met.

As a lawyer working for a sports organisation, you could be tasked with all manner of things. You could be working on purchasing new property such as training facilities, reviewing and monitoring contract negotiations, or dealing with sponsorship agreements with clothing brands and live bet firms.

Lawyers will also be heavily involved when a sports organisation is bought or sold. The ongoing sale of football club Manchester United is a perfect example; this will have a team of lawyers working around the clock to ensure the deal goes smoothly.

Working for athletes

Lawyers can also work for individual athletes, such as footballers, rugby players, or boxers. In this capacity, you can be expected to carry out a number of duties, depending on your background and experience.

For example, you may help your client negotiate contracts with clubs and teams. You could also help them with sponsorship deals and navigating the media. If you are a defence lawyer, you may be tasked with defending your client in court if they break the law.

What it takes to be a sports lawyer

As we have demonstrated above, there is no real definition of a sports lawyer. Instead, sports lawyers carry out a wide range of different duties and can represent organisations, athletes, or both.

What does it take to become a sports lawyer? You’ll need the same qualities that you’d need to become a standard lawyer, but you’ll also need to have a passion for and a deep understanding of the sporting world.

This is crucial, no sports organisation or athlete is going to want to hire a lawyer who knows nothing about their client’s background and particular situation.


Choosing to explore a career as a sports lawyer can be a fantastic decision. Not two days will be the same, and you’ll find yourself working across multiple projects and cases with a range of different people. What’s more, the money can be particularly attractive, and you’ll certainly benefit financially by working with some of the world’s top sports organisations and athletes.

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