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Sports Law Program Spotlight: Oregon

Updated: Aug 7, 2022


The University of Oregon boasts one of the most recognizable brands in amateur athletics thanks to Phil Knight’s sportswear giant headquartered just over an hour away on I-5. The Nike connection is why we never see the Ducks wear the same uniform twice, and it also distinguishes Oregon as the premier sports law school in the Pacific Northwest. It is not considered a “blue blood” to the likes of Tulane, ASU, and Marquette, but the NIL era may very well launch Oregon into that conversation.

Despite only having a handful of professional sports franchises in the state (Portland Trailblazers, Portland Timbers), Oregon Law students have opportunities to work and network with attorneys and executives from two of the biggest athletic brands in the world. Nike and Adidas are both headquartered in the Portland area and offer summer internships to those interested in the business of sports. Want to work on contracts for Kanye? Oregon Law is the place for you.

Sports-minded law students at the University of Oregon also have the opportunity to enroll in the Summer Sports Law Institute. This six-week program begins the first week of July and gives rising 2Ls and 3Ls a closer look into the industry, specifically; IP/licensing, antitrust, labor, Title XI, compliance, and international arbitration. In previous years, the program featured prominent figures such as Andrew Brandt, Gabe Feldman, and Timothy Davis hosting lectures and offering professional insights.

The SSLI complements top-tier sports law curriculum taught by notable figures in the industry. Paul Loving is an experienced entertainment litigation attorney and currently holds a senior counsel position at the distinguished firm of Holland & Knight. He is rumored to have Snoop Dogg on speed dial and was acquainted with Phil Knight during his time at Nike.

Rob Illig is a resident “sports law expert”; specializing in business acquisitions and contract law; Illig is amongst Oregon’s most prominent faculty when it comes to sports. According to 3L Summer Huber, President of Oregon’s Sports Law Club, these are just two of many knowledgeable and experienced faculty in the industry.

Like most schools, Oregon’s athletic compliance office offers a wide range of internship opportunities for sports law students. If you’d rather get away from the University for a Summer, Oregon Law students have worked externships with virtually every type of athletic entity in the area such as the Portland Trailblazers, Seattle Seahawks, Nike (and Adidas), the Pac-12 Conference, and even Major League Baseball.

So you’re interested in sports law but not sure where to begin? The Oregon Sports Law Club is a great starting point. Whether it’s hosting tailgates on game days, presenting guest lecturers who share insights about the international Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, or traveling to Los Angeles for an MLB arbitration moot court competition… The sports law club at Oregon spotlights an up-and-coming university with regional connections to any legal sports career imaginable.

Many thanks to Summer Huber (3L, President of Sports Law Club) for providing information about the program.

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