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When they land with a new team, elite athletes get the chance to enjoy a level of professional success they’ve fought for years to achieve. But they also face the daunting task of juggling critical decisions about their finances, brand value, and future business opportunities — decisions that are particularly challenging for young players. Our attorneys can assist on all these fronts. They are well-versed in the myriad business and financial considerations that accompany an athletic career at the amateur, semi-professional and professional level.

We sit down with athletes and their families, carefully identify business and financial priorities, and determine how best to achieve those specific goals. Our attorneys can act as de facto general contractors for our athletes, coordinating with their various brokers, accountants, and agents so players are free to focus on their athletic performance. The result is an open, responsive relationship between athlete and attorney that protects the player’s current prospects and plans for his or her future.

On the agency side, Thompson Coburn’s skilled corporate attorneys can advise sports agencies or individual agents on all aspects of their day-to-day operations, including the drafting and review of all manner of contracts. Other attorneys at the firm can assist these business clients with any other issues, including those involving employment, tax, litigation or intellectual property.

Representation of players, coaches and executives
The professional athletes, coaches, and sports executives we represent rely on us to negotiate player and marketing contracts, to structure their business relationships, and to counsel them on all aspects of their professional careers, including, but not limited to the following:

Player contracts
We have extensive experience in negotiating these agreements (both in the U.S. and for athletes playing in leagues overseas), the primary and most important source of income for most athletes. In addition, we advise athletes on team relationships with coaches, the front office, and the public relations and marketing staff.

Marketing contracts
We assist in the origination and negotiation of endorsements and product licensing agreements by focusing on realistic marketing plans that enhance athletes' opportunities and build their reputations in their team and college communities and throughout the nation.

Business opportunities
We assist in identifying and reviewing business opportunities, both while the player is active in the league, as well as after play, providing superior legal advice on day-to-day needs and helping athletes become wise and independent decision-makers in their future business lives.

Post-Career Business Opportunities
A player’s professional career doesn’t have to end when he or she leaves the field. Thompson Coburn advises businesses of all types and sizes, so we are well-equipped to help a player leaving the sports world chart a course for business success. We can help form corporations or charitable endeavors, secure funding through capital raising, explore investment opportunities, and plan for expansion. At all stages of a business’ development, we offer comprehensive legal services with one goal in mind: to serve the interests of our clients as if they were our own.

Wealth Management
Signing bonuses and top-dollar salaries are only as valuable as the financial and legal instruments used to protect, preserve and enhance wealth. For some of the country’s wealthiest families, our Private Client attorneys have developed wealth management strategies that offer practical solutions to complex financial issues. We can help players with estate planning, trusts, and the creation of charitable foundations. Our international trade, commerce and tax experience also aligns well with a global sports market where athletes frequently play abroad or pursue business relationships with foreign companies. We can also assist international players with U.S. tax planning.

Agency Representation
We have significant experience representing sports agencies, from their corporate formation to all aspects of their day-to-day business. We can draft player contracts and any agreements with outside vendors, including those involving employees, real estate, or web hosting and site design.

Intellectual Property
Athletes are their own brands, so the protection of that brand as intellectual property is critical. Helping athletes capitalize on their brand is a major focus of Thompson Coburn’s Sports Law practice. Our firm maintains a dedicated intellectual property team of 30 attorneys and technical advisors, more than 20 of whom are registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. With our guidance, players can establish, protect and enhance the value of their brand.

Advertising, Copyright and Rights of Publicity
We counsel clients on federal and state regulatory restrictions regarding advertising. We also negotiate for rights of publicity. We help athletes license their image for product endorsements, and respond swiftly when any company uses an athlete’s likeness without his consent.

Labor & Employment
Whether a member of a union or a free agent, an athlete and his agency face critical employment choices. Our attorneys are well-versed in labor negotiations and contracts and executive compensation, and can offer counsel on all types of employment agreements. We also can offer representation should a player encounter any labor disputes, professional discipline, or other employment-related proceedings.


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St. Louis

Addressing the intellectual property needs of both large corporate clients and individuals, Thad works extensively on patent protection and other IP related issues for a ...

Addressing the intellectual property needs of both large corporate clients ...

Thad Blenke
St. Louis

Cherie represents financial institutions and borrowers in various secured and unsecured lending transactions.

Cherie represents financial institutions and borrowers in various secured a...

Cherie Stephens Bock
Los Angeles

Vicky is a versatile commercial finance attorney who represents banks, investors, and borrowers in a wide variety of financing transactions and investments.

Vicky is a versatile commercial finance attorney who represents banks, inve...

Vicky Gilbert
Senior Counsel
St. Louis

Sara is a trusted legal advisor to public entities, nonprofit borrowers, investment bankers and bankers in a wide variety of public financing and lending transactions.

Sara is a trusted legal advisor to public entities, nonprofit borrowers, in...

Sara Kotthoff

Litigation can be a chess match or a street fight: Rob is comfortable with either approach.

Litigation can be a chess match or a street fight: Rob is comfortable with ...

Rob Lang
New York

Steve represents financial institutions, businesses and constituencies in major commercial disputes, with a particular focus in lender liability cases, fraud-based invest...

Steve represents financial institutions, businesses and constituencies in m...

Steven Mandelsberg
Washington, D.C.

Ken has spent his entire legal career in the public and private sectors in Washington, DC and has a thorough understanding and appreciation of how lobbying can advance cl...

Ken has spent his entire legal career in the public and private sectors in ...

Ken Salomon

Rhonda is a public finance attorney who leads complex, large-scale projects for public- and private-sector clients across the country.

Rhonda is a public finance attorney who leads complex, large-scale projects...

Rhonda Thomas
St. Louis

As chairman of the Firm's Sports Law Group, Bob represents teams, prospective buyers of sports teams, companies interested in sports marketing and civic and government en...

As chairman of the Firm's Sports Law Group, Bob represents teams, prospecti...

Bob Wallace, Jr.