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Published March 3, 2008
As a member of the sports practice at Proskauer Rose, Jon Oram has represented the NBA, NHL, MLS, ATP and WTA, as well as the Eagles, Jets, Yankees, Nationals and Devils. This does not, however, qualify him as a sports lawyer - at least not in his eyes.
"My clients don't need sports lawyers, they don't need guys who want to be Jerry Maguire and stand on the sidelines and hang out with players," Oram said. "They need great corporate lawyers who understand the business of sports. What I do is not all that much different from what the guy down the hall does for insurance companies and oil and gas companies."
In his eight years at Proskauer Rose, Oram has represented those teams and leagues in buying, selling and financing properties, league expansion, franchise relocation and stadium construction. He's also worked on sponsorship, naming rights, licensing and television contracts.
One of his more recent high-profile transactions was representing MLS in the Los Angeles Galaxy's signing of David Beckham.
"Jon is one of the best young attorneys in the business," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "We view him as an integral part of our team. He and other partners at Proskauer are engaged in all aspects of our business."
When speaking with Oram about his involvement in MLS's designated player rule and the Beckham deal, it's apparent that the interest in his clients goes much deeper than fulfilling contractual responsibilities.
"When we were working on Beckham, you knew that it would be a shot in the arm for the league," he said.
Recently, Oram, 34, assisted the NBA in forming an entity to operate its interests in China. He also helped structure the NBA's $1.4 billion leaguewide credit facility and worked on the league's return to Charlotte.
It's Oram's skills beyond his legal abilities that set him apart from other attorneys, said Joel Litvin, president of NBA league and basketball operations.
"You want somebody who can also counsel you on dealmaking and provide both legal and business advice, which he does as well as anybody I've dealt with his age," Litvin said.