By Kendall Howell J.D. ’19
Among the many reasons why I chose to attend HLS, what excited me most was the opportunity to participate in the Sports Law Clinic. I never knew (and am still figuring it out, if we’re honest) what exactly I wanted to be when I grew up. But the one constant was that I wanted to eventually work in sports.
I didn’t always start that way. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009. And after graduation, I worked for a healthcare IT company for two years as a project manager and then joined the US Army, where I served for close to four years as a Field Artillery Officer.
Once at HLS, I prioritized taking both of Professor Carfagna’s sports law courses during 2L fall. Both classes are prerequisites for the Sports Law Clinic. Not only were the classes incredibly interesting, Professor Carfagna was (and continues to be) an amazing mentor who dedicates so much of his personal time to putting those who want to work in sports in a position to succeed.
During the spring of 2018, I worked with the Boston Celtics. While at the Boston Celtics, I learned firsthand what it’s like to be an in-house counsel for a sports franchise. As one could imagine, most of my work was transactional. As with any sports franchise, revenue is generated through sponsorships and advertising, and it’s incumbent upon in-house counsel to ensure all contracts are drafted properly, intellectual property is protected, and all deals comply with league requirements. Fortunately, my work with the Celtics wasn’t just contracts – I was also assigned compelling research projects dealing with data privacy and sports gambling, and learned a lot about the major policy issues affecting sports teams today.
This spring, I’m working with the Concussion Legacy Foundation. At the Concussion Legacy Foundation, my work is a bit broader, as the needs of a non-profit organization are much different. My role is to provide general legal assistance – research, writing, and contract drafting – when needed, and most importantly, to contribute on business related projects if an extra hand is needed. While law firms provide a lot of pro bono legal assistance to nonprofits, I’m learning how critical it is to have legal help within these organizations. Whether it’s improving systems and processes, or giving an extra set of eyes on a contract, it’s important that nonprofits are provided timely legal services.
Of all the learning experiences in law school, the Sports Law Clinic has by far been the most rewarding. The lessons I’ve learned at each placement will be incredibly formative for my career moving forward. While I’ll be working for a law firm immediately after graduation, I hope to continue working with sports-focused nonprofits in the immediate future and eventually finding my way to a sports franchise.
Kendall is a 3L at Harvard Law School. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009. And after graduation, he worked for a healthcare IT company for two years as a project manager and then joined the US Army, where he served for close to four years as a Field Artillery Officer. Upon graduating from HLS, Howell will join the Financial Institutions practice group at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.