Editor’s Note: Each summer Penn Law students hone their skills through a wide array of private and public sector internships across the country and around the world. Generous financial support and fellowships for international and public interest work enable students to pursue diverse assignments in the U.S. and abroad. This dispatch from Lauren-Kelly Devine L’14, is one in a series of firsthand accounts by Law School students about how their summer employment opportunities are preparing them for their legal careers.
Devine is working near Washington, D.C., in the McLean, VA office of Octagon Inc., a global sports, entertainment and music sponsorship consulting and talent representation practice. After graduation she plans to participate in a clerkship before pursuing a career in corporate or regulatory work.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been at Octagon for almost five weeks! As I’m splitting my summer with a judicial internship, I’ll be leaving DC soon, but it’s unbelievable how much I’ve learned during the first half of my summer.
With 800 employees in 22 countries on six continents, Octagon is truly a global operation, and I’ve gotten a glimpse of the scope of Octagon’s reach during my time here. Octagon employees are involved in just about everything, from organizing sporting events, to managing athletes, to providing financial planning for sports and entertainment clients all over the world. Clients include athletes and celebrities from all over the map, such as Michael Phelps, Apolo Ohno, Piers Morgan, Bill Cowher, and Jo Dee Messina.
When working on an individual agreement, it is entirely common for Octagon’s lawyers to draft agreements for the company’s offices abroad on behalf of clients traveling to and from events all over the world.
As a member of the legal team in Octagon’s Athletes and Personalities division, I’ve been providing legal support for Octagon’s agents and event managers, as well as assisting with in-house litigation matters and various research projects.
Because the Summer Olympics is only a few weeks away, a significant number of the contracts coming through the legal department this summer have involved appearances, endorsements, and other agreements for Octagon’s Olympic athletes. But, of course, one of the wonderful things about working in the sports industry is that there is always something exciting going on.
Devine and a fellow legal intern take a break in the “Octapen,” Octagon’s recreation room
From the French Open & Wimbledon, to the US Open golf championships, to the NBA playoffs, our clients have been busy and so have we! Octagon also represents many coaches, broadcasters, television personalities and retired athletes who are busy year-round with speaking engagements and appearances at events both in the US and abroad.
Though I had the opportunity to work in the crazy world of sports during undergrad as an intern in the University of North Carolina Men’s Basketball Office, I definitely have had a lot to learn moving to the legal side of things. I’ve been lucky to have the benefit of a small and supportive group of attorneys who are always available to discuss complex issues, and two great fellow interns.
In addition to drafting contracts for a variety of purposes, I have also gotten to engage in substantive research on sports and entertainment-related legal topics, including the various player associations’ collective bargaining agreements, athlete agent registration laws, and contractual obligations in bankruptcy.
One of the most interesting parts of working in the sports industry is the tremendous diversity of legal matters, as nearly every industry intersects with sports in some way, frequently using it as a marketing platform. This diversity provides for engaging work, but also plenty of challenges. Octagon’s legal team must grapple with complex research questions in areas with a clear connection to sports, such as labor and employment, but also unexpected corners of the legal market, such as mergers and acquisitions and insurance law.
Overall, my experience here at Octagon has greatly exceeded all of my expectations. I can only hope the second half of my summer is as informative as the first!
- Lauren-Kelly Devine