CBA Record Sept-Oct 2019

Chicago Sports Teams and Their General Counsels By Adam Sheppard, CBA Editorial Board

A s the different sports seasons inter- sect during the fall, we wanted to note the informative CBA-CLE event earlier this year that featured the general counsels of Chicago sports teams and the U.S Soccer Federation. The panel- ists were general counsels for the Chicago Cubs (Michael Lufrano, a CBA Board of Managers member); the Chicago White Sox (John Corvino); the Chicago Bears (Cliff Stein); and the Chicago Bulls (Ram Padmanabhan); and the Chief Legal Offi- cer of the U.S. Soccer Federation (Lydia Wahlke). Steven M. Elrod, then-president of the CBA, moderated the event. The panelists discussed a general coun- sel’s day-to-day duties. They distinguished between legal issues that in-house counsel generally handle (e.g., drafting/review of player contracts) compared to issues han- dled by outside counsel (e.g., litigation). Each panelist provided a different perspective on the legal issues that arise in their respective sports. Topics yielding lively discussion included sports betting, team-owned television stations, and instant replay. The panelists also discussed their own career paths that led to them the general counsel position. In the question and answer session that followed, questions pertained to the intersection of sports and religion, and salary discrepancies between male and female athletes. “The event allowed us to shed light on

Chicago lawyer sports fans got an up close and personal view of the life of a General Counsel for a major Chicago sports team at an April CBA CLE luncheon. The event featured a panel discussion with the General Counsels of the Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and the U.S. Soccer Federation who discussed issues such as player salaries and contracts, the potential impact of legalized sports betting on major franchises, and anti-doping issues. Panelists included (left to right) Chicago Cubs Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Michael Lufrano, Chicago Bears Senior Vice President and General Counsel Cliff Stein, U.S. Soccer Federation Chief Legal Officer Lydia Wahlke, Chicago Bulls Vice President of Financial and General Counsel Ram Padmanabhan, and Chicago White Sox Vice President and General Counsel John Corvino.

many more lawyers to participate in CBA activities,” said Cubs General Counsel, Michael Lufrano.

the duties and activities of a general counsel of a sports team. Using the platform of sports to bring so many people together for a learning experience also promotes the type of community interaction and engage- ment the Cubs and other teams support and is in keeping with the CBA’s principles of promoting collegiality and continuing legal education. I hope it helped encourage

Adam Sheppard is a member of the CBA Board of Managers and the CBA Editorial Board.

OCTOBER 18, 2019 • 6:00 P.M. HaroldWashington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium Swing with the CBA Barristers Big Band

Mark your calendar! The Chicago Bar Association’s Barristers Big Band will present a full-length concert of Academy Award-winning best songs on October 18 at the HaroldWashington Public Library. Many of which you probably know! Plus, learn fun facts, like which song won the first year the Academy gave out the best song award or what movie “Call Me Irresponsible” comes from. But most importantly, come to the Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium on October 18, 2019 at 6:00 p.m., sit back, and enjoy some fabulous, free music!


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