SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40

Slavin

Slavin
MLBPA
Talk about a tough job interview.

Before getting his job as assistant general counsel at the MLB Players Association in 2008, Timothy Slavin was questioned in multiple sit-downs with three attorneys who are widely regarded as some of the most brilliant legal minds in sports: Don Fehr, Gene Orza and Michael Weiner.

Slavin was a transactional attorney at New York law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which is known for doing Wall Street deals. Although the mergers and acquisition work he did was sexy, Slavin was looking for a job where he felt more ownership in building something. The MLBPA was looking for a lawyer to build the licensing and business operations of the players union, and a recruiter contacted Slavin about the job.

Fehr, who was then MLBPA executive director and now holds that position for the NHL Players’ Association, asked Slavin about what struggles he faced in his career. “Don wanted to know where I made mistakes,” Slavin said. Orza, chief operating officer of the MLBPA, who is known as a bit of a Renaissance man, wanted to know the last book that Slavin read, as well as what he considered to be the most important moment in sports, Slavin said. Weiner, who was then MLBPA’s general counsel and is now the union’s executive director, asked him questions probing how he thought when resolving issues.

Slavin passed the tests and was hired.

In the two-plus years since then, he has guided the business affairs of the MLBPA, including negotiating and drafting hundreds of agreements with the union’s wide range of partners, including Major League Baseball, sponsors, licensees, third-party contractors and agents.

“Tim has done an outstanding job for us, really, right from the start,” Weiner said.

Age: 38
Titles: Director of business affairs and licensing; senior counsel, business
Organization: Major League Baseball Players Association
Education: B.A., history, College of William & Mary; J.D., Georgetown University
Family: Single
Career: Worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and several large law firms for eight years, most recently with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, before joining the MLBPA

Last vacation: Stowe, Vt.
What's on your iPod: It’s too embarrassing to disclose. Seriously.
Guilty pleasure: My sister’s chocolate chip cookies
Best stress release: Running
Pet peeve: People who do not tell the truth
Greatest disappointment: When my piano teacher actually offered to pay my mother so she
could stop teaching me
Fantasy job: U.S. ambassador
Business advice: Do the right thing because it is right. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
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