By Ryan Larson (3L) & Amanda Bremseth (3L)
On February 21, the Center for Sports Law and Policy and the Sports Law Society welcomed “Super Agent” Leigh Steinberg back to Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Mr. Steinberg returned to promote his new book, “The Agent”, as well as to share stories and provide insight and experience to the next generation of sports lawyers.
Fifty people were on hand to hear from a legend in the sports and entertainment industry. Mr. Steinberg spoke for about 45 minutes, took 15 minutes for Q&A, and finished the evening with a book signing and conversation with attendees.
He spoke on a number of topics, from his background and personal struggles to the critical issues facing the sports law industry today. He entertained students with stories from Hollywood, where he was a consultant (and inspiration) for movies such as Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger, and Any Given Sunday starring Al Pacino and Jamie Foxx.
Mr. Steinberg tackled tough issues including the question of whether professional athletes are overpaid, head injuries, and the ethical conduct of sports agents. “When a player comes to me who has an agent, I turn them around and send them back to their agent. Not many people do that, but I do. I don't want to destroy an active relationship between an agent and a player. And I don't want to create a slew of enemy agents out there.”
He also had poignant advice for students looking to get into the sports industry. “I have a huge stack of resumes. Be creative. Send something other than your resume to potential employers. Something where they can see that you have the creative skills to adapt and change with the environment.” Mr. Steinberg spoke of one such applicant, who got hired, that sent in a resume based on the layout of a Sports Illustrated issue.
For aspiring agents, he says that it’s all about getting that first player. “Psychology is the most important thing. If you can understand human motivation, you can make it anywhere in life. Take negotiations for example, have an individual identify what their values are (financial, family, being on a winning team, etc.) and you will be able to understand what you need to do, and what they need from you. Do more listening and less talking,” he says.
“It was a great experience listening to Mr. Steinberg’s advice and stories, he is a role model in the sports industry and shared things that will be helpful going forward in my career,” said Monique Mumford (3L).
Jonathan Stahler (3L) agreed, “It was a pleasure to hear Mr. Steinberg's stories and words of wisdom once again.”