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Money Smart Athlete Blog

Why Athletes need a Legal Advisor

Dec 30, 2020 | Economic Environment

By Lazaros Ioannou, APC Sports Consulting Ltd

During different stages of your sports career, you will have to interact with many professionals who will help you with your athletic, financial and business endeavours. Creating the right team of trustworthy, reputable, and established professionals within any given field is important to your success.  Once you have the proper team in place, your advisors will support your efforts in ways you can’t accomplish alone. We consider it important to raise your awareness as to the type and caliber of advisors you need in your support team. We want you to be aware that being surrounded by the right people will take you places and will make you a winner, not just in your sport, but in life as well!

Your team of advisors should ideally consist of a business manager, an attorney who specializes in business, tax and estate matters, an accountant/tax advisor, a financial planner or money manager, and an insurance specialist.  Your team of advisors should work closely with you and your agent in order to always be on the same page and to ensure that everyone’s input is taken into account when major decisions will have to be made.

One of the most important and unexpected challenges that athletes face, is dealing with all the legal matters that come with playing at the professional level.  On this blog post we wish to deal with the various reasons why athletes need and should have legal advisors.

From managing, minimizing and responding to risk that may affect you, to reviewing contracts and providing you with legal representation, your attorney will assist you in many different ways. 

Contract Reviewing – your attorney will be present in negotiations and review your contracts, either sporting or commercial/sponsorship and check whether they are correct and to your best interest. Also, he/she will help you understand what is being agreed upon and what is expected to be done by all parties involved. 

Intellectual Property Protection – Your image is one of the main assets that you may take advantage of and monetize on. Your attorney will handle for you all required Trademark, Copyright and Image Rights Registrations.  In addition, an attorney may guard you and help you protect against any infringement and unauthorized use of your image and likeness.

Asset Protection – You always need to protect your wealth and assets against any claim that may arise from creditors or lawsuits. By setting up trusts, wills and other legal tools, your attorney can assist you to create your asset protection strategy and will provide you with the required protection against any action that may harm your wealth and assets.

Media Representation – Being an athlete, means that you may very well attract the spotlight. Your public figure and perception is something that you should always be very careful with since it can affect both your career and income potential. Especially in the event that you gain publicity due to a lawsuit against you or a controversy, your attorney can act as your media representative and provide you with positive media representation. 

Business/corporate guidance – When you decide to set up your own business or get involved in business relationships with others, you will need an attorney to guide you through the process and take care of the corporate and legal aspects that come with this kind of endeavors such as setting up the corporate entity, drafting of the shareholders agreement and undertaking all the required filings with the authorities. 

Charity – When deciding to set up a charitable or non – profit organization you may have your attorney handle all the legal matters for its setup and subsequent management. 

Immigration – Most of the athletes are called at some point in their career to move to a different country. Your legal advisor may assist you with issues such as visa acquisition, labor certifications and any other legal issue that may arise from migrating to a different country. 

Barrier against friends’ and family’s requests – Your attorney can also become the buffer between you, and your friends and family. When a friend or family member come to you asking for a loan, or to invest in their “great business opportunity”, your attorney can play the role of the person who will say no, if whatever they are proposing is not to your best interest.

Selecting a suitable legal advisor is not an easy task.  It is very important to interview advisors before choosing to work with them and it is also very important to choose people who not only are experienced and educated, but whom you like on a personal level too. This relationship will be long-term, so it is important to have around you a person you enjoy being with.