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SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Forty Under 40
Forty Under 40
Published March 21, 2011, Page 3A
Jay Bauman, the NFL's in-house finance lawyer, can often find himself in between one team and 31 others. His job, as he puts it, is balancing the interests of that single team to get a particular financing transaction approved, and the overall needs of the league.
If there is a sale of a team, a limited partnership sale, a bond or stadium deal, Bauman is the league's set of eyes that must inspect and bless them and then sell it to the owners.
"Success is not getting the deal done, but getting the deal done consistent with league rules," he said. "It is a balancing act of advising the team but regulating the team."
All leagues have finance rules, though few, if any, as conservative as the NFL's. Debt is strictly regulated, as are levels of ownership interests. For Bauman, the league rules are really the only distinguishing characteristic of sports law and other areas of corporate law.
Sports law, he explained, is just law with a different client. Otherwise, it looks no different than a standard corporate law assignment, he said.
That said, Bauman knew he wanted to work in sports not just because he was a fan, but had an interest in the business side of the games. After Yale Law School, he chose a firm that had done some sports deals, a firm now called WilmerHale. He mainly did nonsports corporate work, but there he worked with Dick Cass, the outside attorney for the Dallas Cowboys, who left Wilmer to become president of the Baltimore Ravens.
Cass landed Wilmer the legal work for the sale of the Washington Redskins by the Jack Kent Cooke estate, and that deal infected Bauman with the sports bug.
Shortly thereafter he went to the NBA, and after just 18 months, Cass told him about an NFL job. He has been there ever since, dotting the i's and crossing the t's of the NFL's finances.
Title: Vice president, legal and business affairs
Education: Emory University; J.D., Yale Law School
Family: Wife, Samantha; son, Brody
Career: Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering; NBA; NFL
Last vacation: Nantucket
What's on your iPod: Bruce Springsteen, The Who, The Black Eyed Peas
Guilty pleasure: Reading John Grisham and Dan Brown books
|Best stress release: Exercise
Pet peeve: Tardiness
Greatest achievement: Birth of my son
Greatest disappointment: My high school baseball team being eliminated two games before the state championship
Fantasy job: Supreme Court Justice
Business advice: "Never mistake activity for achievement." — John Wooden