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Washington Entertainment & Sports Law Lawyers

If you are involved in the sports industry, you know the legal issues that frequently arise. Whether you are a professional athlete, coach, or commercial entity engaged in the industry, you will likely encounter several situations that need professional legal advice. A lawyer for sports in Washington can guide you through any negotiations and protect your reputation and career so you can relax on and off the field.

What Is A Sports Lawyer?

Sporting lawyers are specialists in handling legal matters within the sports industry. To practice law in the sports sector, an attorney must have excellent knowledge of federal and state laws across several legal domains.

Sports law is a broad area of practice that encompasses numerous fields of law, including:

  • Contract law;
  • Criminal defense;
  • Intellectual property;
  • Torts and personal injury;
  • Insurance law;
  • Business law;
  • Employment law; and
  • Real estate law.

Specific sports law

While sports law draws on several fields of practice, there are some specific laws and regulations that govern various sports:

  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) – governs sports in colleges and universities, focusing on the well-being of athletes;
  • Professional regulating bodies – each sport may have a specific regulating organization for professional athletes within that competition, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA); and
  • Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 – prohibits any educational program receiving federal funding from discriminating against students based on sex, including gender identity, pregnancy, and sexual orientation.

What Does A Sports Attorney Do?

A sports attorney must have extensive experience within the field, be able to interpret many legal areas of practice, and apply them to the sports industry.

A Washington sports attorney provides a comprehensive range of services:

  • Assisting athletes in negotiating contracts for pay;
  • Representing and defending clients in anti-doping violations;
  • Protecting brands for professional athletes;
  • Managing litigation claims;
  • Negotiating contracts for sponsorship and endorsement agreements;
  • Handling intellectual property matters;
  • Managing financial transactions and business contracts;
  • Defending athletes from allegations of misconduct; and
  • Managing communication with media companies.

When To Hire A Sports Lawyer in Washington?

You should hire a Washington sports lawyer as soon as possible if you are managing the following legal scenarios:

  • Negotiating contracts with players and teams;
  • Establishing business entities;
  • Dealing with a litigation claim;
  • Dealing with criminal charges;
  • Drafting agreements with media companies or sponsorship prospects;
  • Handling issues with intellectual property; and
  • Suffering a personal injury on the field.

How To Find A Lawyer For Sports?

Sports law is a field that overlaps many practice areas, so you must find an attorney that specializes in the sports industry relevant to your case.

Here are four ways to find a sports lawyer to handle your case:

  1. Ask another athlete or colleague if they have a recommendation;
  2. Research online attorney directories on the Lawrina website;
  3. Contact the American Bar Association (ABA); and
  4. Ask sports agents or coaches for a recommendation.

How Do I Choose A Sports Attorney in Washington?

It is crucial that you choose the best sports lawyer in Washington to represent you and protect your career.

When researching sports law attorneys consider the following:

  1. Does the attorney have experience in your sport?
  2. How long have they been practicing sports law?
  3. What fee structure do they use?
  4. Have there been any complaints listed against the attorney in the state bar directory?

How Much Does The Sports Lawyer Average Cost Washington?

Every law firm will differ in how they charge clients. Some attorneys charge by the hour. Others offer a flat fee rate or a contingency agreement. However, an hourly rate is the most common billing structure, and data reveals the average attorney fees range from $100 an hour to $400 an hour. The total cost will depend on the attorney's experience level and the complexity of your case.

Do Sports Attorneys Usually Charge For Consultations?

Some sports lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss the details of your case. This consultation is an excellent opportunity to interview the lawyer and see if they will be a good fit for your case. Alternatively, an attorney may charge a potential client a small flat fee for a consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

I tested positive for a banned substance. How can I prove it was due to contamination?

When you test positive for a banned substance, the burden is on you to prove your innocence. Unlike other areas of the law where you are innocent until proven guilty, in sports doping cases, you are guilty until proven innocent. Many substances can cause a positive test through contamination. For example, certain foods, dietary supplements, and prescription medications can be contaminated and generate a positive drug test. You should hire an experienced attorney in sports law who can help you prove your innocence.

Sports attorneys may utilize the following methods to gather evidence for your case:

  • Documenting a food log of substances you consumed before your drug test;
  • Calling upon expert witnesses in the field of environmental contamination; and
  • Organizing a polygraph test to add credibility to your claim.
Could my personal sponsorship deal cause a breach of contract with my team or school sponsorships?

Personal sponsorships allow athletes to build their brand in the media, and athlete endorsement agreements are standard practice in the industry. However, your sponsorship could conflict with the promotional agreements in place for your team or school. Therefore, you should consult an attorney before signing any endorsement agreements to ensure there will be no legal consequences.

A company is using a photo of me in an advertisement that I didn't authorize. How can I have it removed and claim compensation?

A right of publicity claim might be available to you if your name or image was used for commercial purposes without your authorization. If the claim is successful, the company will have to remove the unauthorized photos. Contact a sports law attorney to assist you in protecting your brand and legal rights.