Sports and Entertainment Externship Program
Andrew Richman ’16 divides his week between his classes at Seton Hall Law and his passion – a legal externship in one of the world’s top sports agencies.
“People want to get into sports law because they are fans,” he explained. “That might have been my initial intention, but it has turned into something far more than just being a fan.”
“Richman was introduced to the world of sports management through a magnet program in his high school in Florida. During a college internship at a law firm, Richman developed another passion: contracts.
Andrew Richman ’16
“With strong family ties in New York – including Richman’s grandmother, a former assistant district attorney in Brooklyn and his greatest inspiration to attend law school – he chose Seton Hall Law to take advantage of the Law School’s proximity to New York, the base of many of the world’s largest sports agencies and entertainment corporations.
“Building on his academic courses, Richman secured an internship at Viacom during the summer after his second year and enjoyed it so much he sought a similar opportunity for his third year. He also contacted the Office of Career Services regarding his interest in sports management and was connected with Professor Brenda Saunders Hampden, leader of the Sports and Entertainment Externship Program. She helped Richman secure an externship at Excel Sports Management in Midtown, which manages top athletes such as Derek Jeter, Blake Griffin, and Tiger Woods. He works at his externship two days a week, earning two credits each semester.
“I work with a contract manager in the agency’s General Counsel’s office,” he explained. “I love this portion of it. I'm mostly focusing on endorsement licensing and appearance agreements, such as if a basketball player wants to go to an autograph signing.” Richman also uses his externship to explore other options within the area. “Sports is a multi-billion dollar industry, and not all of the ‘players’ are on the court or the field,” he said. “While I’m working on contracts, I also get exposure to the client services division, where I get to watch the agents on the front lines making sure the clients are happy. Meanwhile, sales teams work the phones negotiating the deals for endorsements. It's a great environment.”
“For the past 20 years, Professor Denis McLaughlin has served as the faculty director of the Judicial Externship Program, assisting and mentoring student externs serving in the federal and state courts. He stresses that externships are essential to a law student’s career path.
Professor Denis Mclaughlin
“Professor McLaughlin recognizes the kind of enthusiasm that Richman feels for his experience. “The most common comment I read in the students’ reflection papers is, ‘It was the best thing I ever did,’” he said. “That’s because externships are real. It’s fun to be part of a criminal or civil case in real life, with real consequences. Being onsite in a courtroom or an office, really practicing law, gives students a chance to put to use everything they learned in the classroom.”
“For Richman, his externship at Excel Sports Management has cemented his desire to remain in the sports management field, and he works hard to build his professional network. He has attended sports management conferences, and has become a student ambassador for the New York City Bar Association’s Sports Law Committee. “The forum is really intimate, with just one or two other students and then 10 or 20 of the top industry professionals in the room,” he said. Through the Committee, he has met attorneys at law firms representing athletes in the best and worst of circumstances, from endorsement deals to the criminal cases that become the top news stories of the day. “I haven’t just made good connections, I’ve made real friends within the industry, which has really helped me,” he noted.
“Richman also meets regularly with Professor Brian Sheppard, who teaches Entertainment Law and has assumed the lead of the Sports and Entertainment Externship Program. “Student externs often rely on their faculty advisers as a sounding board as they make the decisions that will shape their future,” said Professor Sheppard. “During our meetings students may ask about specific areas of the law, or we talk about the day-to-day challenges in the workplace, and work together to plan creative strategies and solutions. In doing so we help students get the most out of their externship experience.”
Richman knows his expertise in contracts, developed through his externships, will serve him well. “Last year, I was at a sports conference in Chicago and during a quick speed networking round, I sat down with an agent. I said, ‘I'm one of the most passionate people that I think you'll ever meet.’ He said, ‘You see everyone in this room, everyone is passionate. Everyone loves sports, everyone loves this industry. You need to bring something to the table that isn't just passion, you need to bring something else of value.’
“And I realized that I do bring more than just my passion for sports. I think that my contract drafting and editing is superior to a lot of my colleagues just because I've experienced it first-hand,” Richman said. “Every contract that I can get my hands on, and my eyes on, it helps me learn. It's going to bring me to the next level, being able to negotiate the most favorable contracts for clients. With an in-depth understanding of the negotiating points that exist and how they can affect clients in real life, I am better equipped to negotiate the best terms for my future clients.”