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William M. “Bill” Lawrence has handled matters in the sports and entertainment field for more than 20 years. Even prior to the enactment of the name, image, and likeness rules, Bill had extensive experience negotiating marketing and NIL-related contracts and other agreements involving professional and collegiate athletes and coaches – including a legendary college football coach, an NFL All-Pro player, professional golfers and basketball players, and more.

Bill’s deep understanding of the sports and entertainment landscape stems from the wide range of matters and clients he has represented in the space, including:

  • Advised collegiate student-athletes in connection with NIL deals
  • Represented multiple NIL Collectives, including being primary counsel for one of the first, if not the first, acquisition of an NIL Collective
  • Represented sports agents and others in connection with NIL matters and matters involving the Revised Uniform Athletes Agents Act
  • An NIL/publicity rights agreement with Bobby Bowden – former Florida State University head football coach and the second winningest NCAA Division I college football coach of all time
  • College All-American and 14 year NFL All-Pro football player in connection with NIL and marketing contracts
  • Three-time All-American collegiate tennis player in connection with matters involving the United States Tennis Association
  • A professional golfer in connection with NIL related marketing contracts
  • A business that specializes in facilitating group-based NIL deals for student-athletes at an NCAA Division I football program
  • An NCAA Division I athletic department in connection with NIL matters involving international student athletes 
  • A client in connection with negotiating a sponsorship deal with a major NCAA football program
  • An ownership group in its acquisition of a professional baseball team and subsequent contractual matters for the team, including stadium lease and vendor contracts
  • A retailer in connection with a NIL deal involving a major network reality television personality
  • A worldwide outdoors organization in connection with the sale of its business and assets, including a popular magazine, to ESPN
  • An automobile racing venture and a brand immersion venture in various contractual matters
  • A regional member of USA Volleyball, the national governing body of volleyball in the U.S.
  • Sports broadcasters and other television and radio talent in transactions involving major college sports programs and networks
  • A publication company focusing on hip hop music
  • A comic book series in-licensing and podcasting matters
  • A special-interest magazine and book publisher in acquisition, licensing, employment, and marketing deals
  • An award-winning documentary film company in connection with formation and distribution matters
  • Recording artists and bands in connection with publication and distribution deals
  • A film production company in connection with capitalization, formation, and operational matters

Based upon Bill’s experience in the sports and entertainment law field, the Alabama State Bar appointed him to its Entertainment and Sports Law Task Force, whose recommendations resulted in the creation of the State Bar’s Intellectual Property, Entertainment, and Sports Law Section.

In addition to his legal experience in the sports and entertainment field, Bill received collegiate athletic scholarships in two sports, and he remains an active competitive tennis player. Bill has competed against former national and world-ranked tennis players, including players who have competed in all four of tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments, two NCAA Champions, and former Davis Cup players from several countries. Among other tennis honors, he has earned five year-end #1 rankings in divisions sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association and its affiliates (USTA Southern and USTA Alabama), played on three USTA League Tennis teams invited to the USTA National Championships, captained six teams to USTA Southern Sectional Finals, and played on USTA League Tennis teams that have won more than 40 local, USTA Alabama, and USTA Southern Sectional titles.

Outside of his sports and entertainment practice, Bill focuses his practice in the areas of corporate and business transaction law and wireless telecommunications law. To read more about his corporate practice, please visit his bio here