What is a Sports Law Salary?

The career outlook for a sports lawyer today is very good. Sports are very big in the world today, whether it’s the MLB, NFL, NHL or college sports. The high wages received by many professional athletes demand the services of a qualified sports lawyer to represent them in:

  • salary negotiations
  • contracts
  • litigations

Becoming a sports attorney can be the start of an exciting and fulfilling career in the sports industry. Here is an overview of the various sports law careers and salary expectations.  

Related Resource: What Types of Jobs Are There In Sports Medicine?

What do Sports Lawyers do?  

A sports attorney does many of the same things a regular lawyer does throughout his or her day. The difference is that the sports attorney is dealing with sports professionals or organizations. A sports attorney may represent:

  • an athlete
  • a coach
  • a sports team
  • an entire organization

This can also have an impact on the sports lawyer’s career outlook. Athletes spend their time participating in their chosen sport and rely on their sports lawyer to handle many financial and legal transactions. They help the athlete understand the terms of their contracts, endorsements, bonuses and basic legal terminology. 

Sports agents might pursue a degree in law in order to give their clients legal advice on contracts and sponsorship deals.  While there is no requirement for a sports agent to have a law degree, having a degree in law can be beneficial in securing a higher salary and better clientele.  

How to Become a Sport Lawyer

Most sports law jobs require a law degree.  With the exception of taking some slightly different college courses, sports attorneys have a lot of the same educational requirements as any other lawyer. They need to go to law school and they must have a four-year bachelor’s degree before they can attend law school. Prior to entering law school, the law student must pass the Law School Admissions Test. This test is to help the college determine the student’s readiness for law school and their skill at:

  • analytical reasoning
  • reading comprehension
  • logical reasoning

Aspiring sports lawyers take many legal courses but must also take business courses like:

  • finance
  • marketing
  • associated ethical concerns
  • legal procedures
  • sports law  

Sports law students should possess good writing skills because this will be an important part of their job as a sports lawyer. They’ll also need to take courses in:

  • contract law
  • sports management
  • negotiations
  • entertainment law
  • copyright laws and infringement

Before the candidate can work as a lawyer, he or she must pass the state bar exam to be eligible for licensure. Gaining work as a sports lawyer is crucial for success in the sporting business. Sporting lawyers often start off representing one or two athletes and obtain additional clientele through references or word of mouth.

Related Resource: Top 20 Sport Law Programs

Career Outlook & Wage Potential

How much do sports lawyers make?  Lawyers are predicted to see employment growth of 10% between 2021 and 2031 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lawyers who specialize in certain areas, like sports lawyers, often have even better career opportunities because their services are needed to help professional athletes negotiate contracts and deal with employment issues. While the BLS doesn’t specifically provide sports attorney salary information, they do report the median pay for lawyers in general is $127,990/year.  

According to a March 2023 report by PayScale, the average sports lawyer salary is $98,575/year. Several factors can affect wages, including:

  • experience
  • the sport
  • the client
  • the location

Many sports lawyers also receive bonuses and commissions as part of their pay.

The sporting industry has never been more profitable or popular than in recent years with athletes being paid out-of-this-world wages. An individual who enjoys sports and has a desire to practice law can benefit from the good career outlook predicted for sports lawyers.

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