“Right place, right time.” That’s how Ronald Ussery, a McGeorge J.D. candidate in the class of 2021 who is interested in sports law, landed his new job with sports management firm, Accelerate Sports LLC. While attending a weekly event as part of the SCBA 1L Diversity Fellowship this past summer, Ronald was approached by a visiting lawyer. They chatted and exchanged stories from their student-athlete days and he was offered a job at the end of their conversation. There’s no way to anticipate something like this happening. All you can do is try to be prepared. “Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that,” says Ronald, who’s been preparing for a day like this his whole life, and he’s taken the necessary steps to ensure that when an opportunity presented itself, he’d be ready.
Having established the goal of becoming a sports agent prior to attending McGeorge, Ronald knew what he wanted but needed guidance to achieve it. Encouraged by his GLS I professor, Prof. Leah Adams, Ronald applied and was accepted to the SCBA 1L Diversity Fellowship at Carothers, Disante & Freudenberger, which was the perfect opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a law office and develop impactful relationships in the labor and employment law field. Through the fellowship, Ronald was able to apply what he learned to his goal of becoming an agent.
“[J]ust like labor and employment law, you’ll find issues with athletes’ wages and discrimination, so [sports law] is really a broad area. My job has more to do with sports investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, transactions, negotiations, and league expansions; so, it’s really more on the business-side of things,” explains Ronald. Many law students might consider sports law to be strictly athlete-centric—negotiating a player’s contract, getting them onto their preferred team, etc.—but as Ronald has learned, sports law is much broader than that and can involve many areas of law. That kind of versatility has Ronald excited for the challenges ahead.
One thing that Ronald says has helped him on his career path is his diligence in attending as many networking events as possible and following up with each individual that he meets. Following up with an email or two will keep those relationships growing and show that you are serious and passionate about a legal career. Alternatively, following up with a phone call may be even more effective, as Ronald has discovered. With an infectious smile and self-confidence to go toe-to-toe with attorneys and partners in every networking opportunity, it was easy for Ronald to see the benefit a phone call can make. “It’s a lot more personal than just words [on a screen], and I’ve actually been told by a lot of partners that getting calls is what they prefer [after networking events],” says Ronald. Whatever method makes sense to you, be sure to include it in your standard networking procedures and you’ll greatly improve your chances of landing a job, too.
Students interested in a career in sports law are encouraged to join McGeorge’s Sports and Entertainment Law Society. All students should also keep an eye on your Pacific emails for announcements about upcoming networking events, including networking workshops designed to help you perfect best-practices before heading into the networking events themselves. CDO events can also be found on the Events tab here.