SBJ/20100308/Forty Under 40

Alec Scheiner


Alec Scheiner’s main claim to athletic fame may be that he played basketball at his high school, Lower Merion outside Philadelphia, the same school attended by Kobe Bryant. Of course, Scheiner was cut after ninth grade. Bryant made it a bit further.

Dallas Cowboys

But Scheiner has made his mark in other ways in sports. As the general counsel for the Dallas Cowboys, Scheiner has his fingerprints on almost every key off-field decision, most notably the planning, financing and construction of the team’s new stadium.

Now with the stadium done, Scheiner is looking to broaden his role. “I have tried to transition my role a bit with the help of the Joneses and not pigeonhole myself into being just an attorney,” he said.

Age: 39
Titles: Senior vice president and general counsel
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Education: BSFS, economics and Latin American studies, Georgetown University, 1992; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1997
Family: Nadya and Norah (3); baby son due in a week
Career: Seven years with WilmerHale (formerly Wilmer Cutler and Pickering), 1997-2004; joined the Cowboys in 2004
Last vacation: Punta Mita, Mexico
Favorite book: "Magic Mountain," by Thomas Mann
Favorite movie: "The Thin Red Line"
What's on your iPod? Mad Men and The Wire episodes
Pet peeve: When people are not straight shooters
Greatest achievement: Navigating the various minefields (eminent domain, financings, sales during a recession, etc.) to play a small part in helping make Cowboys Stadium a reality
Greatest disappointment: That we havent won a Super Bowl since Ive been here
Fantasy job: Point guard for the Sixers
Executive you most admire: Easy one: Jerry Jones vision
Business advice: Be organized in your thoughts and work habits.

Jerry Jones and his family own the team. Scheiner is on the board of directors of Legends Hospitality, the new concessionaire company owned by the Cowboys and the New York Yankees; he helps with operations of the new stadium; and he attends league meetings with the Joneses.

“You can’t be a good lawyer if you don’t have reasonable business judgment,” he said. “You can’t cling to legal points and sacrifice the bigger picture.”

An East Coast guy, moving to Dallas might have been a tough decision. He was a lawyer in New York, where his firm handled Cowboys business, when the morning after being offered the job in 2004, a New York tabloid featured a picture of the Citibank building on its cover and an alleged terror plot against it. The location of Scheiner’s office: The Citibank building.

Scheiner said it didn’t really affect him, but he said his mom urged him to leave. And mom always knows best.

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