By Phylicia Coleman, 3L, CSLP Fellow
On Thursday, November 13, 2014, the Center for Sports Law and Policy (CSLP) hosted its second installment of the “Padres Speakers Series” at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The CSLP welcomed their guest speaker Erik Greupner, Senior Vice President, Business Administration & General Counsel for the San Diego Padres Baseball Club.
Mr. Greupner first discussed with the Sports Law Fellows his life and career before he received his position with the San Diego Padres. Mr. Greupner worked for six-years, including working for Goldman Sachs in Chicago, IL, before deciding to attend law school at the University of San Diego (USD) and chose USD for their nighttime program options. He made the decision to go to law school after realizing he had become stationary at his job. He also realized the best decision he could make would be to move his career to something with optionality. “I felt like practicing law would open up as many options as possible. However, I did not set out to work in professional sports,” Greupner explained.
Upon graduation from USD law school, Greupner was a judicial intern for Justice Margaret McKeown with the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit in Pasadena, CA. Greupner then started with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Orange County where he worked on the Padres purchase agreement with former Padres owner Jeff Moorad. Greupner was later hired by Moorad for his strong skill set and work ethic in the Padres front office.
Mr. Greupner discussed with excitement one aspect of his role where he oversees the contracts and business of the Padres in Central and South America. Specifically, Greupner just returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic where the Organization runs a development camp in San Cristóbal. He is responsible for negotiating and drafting player contracts and overseeing ballpark operations, which requires him to manage about 340 people. When discussing what a typical day is like, Mr. Greupner replied, “As is often said, there is no typical day. However, I feel incredibly fortunate to have the job that I have. All I can tell you is to be the best lawyer you can. Sometimes it comes down to being in the right place at the right time.”
When asked what he thought about the job market for attorneys in 2014, he responded by telling attendees that practicing law in 2014 is still a good place to start in terms of having optionality. He followed up this question by stressing the importance of building relationships because that is what will get you the job that you want.
One attendee asked of Greupner’s involvement with the Padres and the players’ intellectual property. Greupner responded that the Padres work closely with Major League Baseball (MLB) concerning its trademarks, searches and clearances, and infringement.
The CSLP’s “Padres Speakers Series” has been very successful and well attended, which provides students different perspectives on how they can use their law degrees after graduation. Third-year law student Chanel Di Blasi stated, “Mr. Greupner’s honesty was so refreshing. He encouraged us to trust the system, no matter how scary things look with jobs. As a soon to be graduate looking for a job, I needed to hear those words.”
The final two installments for the “Padres Speakers Series” will be held during the Spring 2015 semester at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and may include speakers from the baseball operations/development and ownership group. Visit CSLP online and follow CSLP on Facebook and Twitter.