SBJ/July 16 - 22, 2007/Labor Agents

Agent Reich joins law firm’s launch of sports practice

Tom Reich, a pioneer in the sports agent business, has been hired by Dreier LLC as part of that law firm’s plan to launch a sports practice that caters to professional athletes.

Reich, a baseball and hockey agent who started representing athletes in 1969, will serve as “of counsel” to Dreier, said Marc Dreier, the firm’s founder. “Tom is here to help us develop a sports practice. We are not looking to replace agents. But we do think there is a need for lawyers to work side by side with agents to give (athletes) the advice they need.” 

“Tom is not here to bring a book of clients to us,” Dreier said, adding that Reich, in addition to his experience, brings with him a wealth of contacts throughout the sports industry.

Reich said, “I have wanted for a few years to be far more active in the role of a lawyer. What I intend to do with this very strong firm is to act as a lawyer in sports and sports-related businesses, and in nonsports activities as well, that involve crisis management, negotiations, deal structure, etc.”

Panthers first-rounder Jon Beason dumped
agent Martin Magid for Michael Huyghue.

Reich has been a principal in several sports agencies, including the former baseball firm of Reich, Katz & Landis, and the former hockey firm of Reich, Brisson & Reich. He and longtime partner Adam Katz sold their baseball practice to Wasserman Media Group last year; Reich will continue to act as a senior consultant to WMG’s baseball practice, he said.

Reich began his career as a sole practitioner attorney in Pittsburgh, after clerking for a federal court judge in the 1960s. His client list has included MLB greats Joe Morgan, Dave Parker, John Candelaria, Sammy Sosa and Manny Sanguillen. He said he has probably represented more than 1,000 athletes during his career, from hockey, football and baseball.

Reich has also acted as an attorney in nonagent work for clients such as hockey players Mario Lemieux, Chris Chelios and Luc Robitaille and baseball players Omar Vizquel, Aramis Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera.

Dreier said the firm’s new sports practice will provide an array of legal services to athletes, from trust and estate work to intellectual property law, transactional law, real estate law and litigation.

The firm also will help athletes who are arrested for a crime, Dreier said, though it would like to provide crisis management services to athletes to help them avoid being arrested or the center of a public scandal.

Athletes “are young people with some money, and trouble can find them,” he said.

Reich is the first of the firm’s sports practice hires, but Dreier said he plans to hire several sports lawyers by the end of the summer and is already interviewing candidates. “We want to do this in a very ambitious way,” he said.

 MCGUIRE LEAVING CSMG?: Several sources say that NFL agent Kennard McGuire, longtime partner of agent Fletcher Smith, is leaving CSMG and taking several clients with him.

McGuire, reached on his cell phone, would not answer a question on whether he was leaving the firm. He said he would call back and then did not return numerous phone calls. Smith and CSMG Chairman Alan Nero did not respond to numerous phone messages.

CSMG marketing executive Nova Lanktree said, “We are not officially separated. It is not appropriate to elaborate on.”

 NFL FIRST-ROUNDER FIRES AGENT: Former Miami Hurricanes linebacker Jon Beason, the first-round pick of the Carolina Panthers, has fired agent Martin Magid and hired agent Michael Huyghue.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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