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Volume 20 No. 42
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Forty Under 40

Anastasia Danias

Anastasia Danias
Photo by: NFL

Twelve years ago Anastasia Danias, presumably bleary-eyed at 1:30 in the morning, tied to a desk at her law office job, saw a scrolling job ad move across her screen advertising a position in intellectual property law with a sports league.

Intellectual property is her area of legal expertise, so she quickly shot off a résumé to the email address, not even knowing what league might be looking for the hire. Two months passed and the phone rang with someone from the NFL on the other end.

“I thought I was getting off the Jets’ season-ticket waiting list,” Danias said of her first reaction to the call.

Instead it was an offer to come in and speak about that job. Fast forward to the present and Danias is one of the top in-house counsels at the NFL, handling commercial and antitrust litigation, as well as the spate of concussion lawsuits filed against the league.

“The current concussion lawsuits are extremely important, they are challenging and complicated,” she said of the 29 lawsuits stretching across 600 former players who claim the NFL knowingly put them at risk playing the sport. “It is challenging in a good way because you are managing risk with business initiative.”

Danias’ other major area is protecting the league’s intellectual property. At the Super Bowl in Indianapolis she participated in a press conference announcing a crackdown on counterfeiters. The league has filed federal lawsuits helping to shut down more than 800 Chinese websites that sold counterfeit NFL merchandise.

“It’s exciting,” she said, “on the litigation front.”

Age: 38
Title: Vice president, legal affairs
Organization: NFL
Education: B.A., Rutgers University, 1995; J.D., Fordham Law School, 1998
Family: Husband, Ken; daughter Eleni (4); son Alexander (2)
Career: Associate, Hughes Hubbard & Reed; joined the NFL in 2000
FIRST JOB: Gymnastics coach
Last vacation: Disney World
what's on your ipod? U2, Maroon 5, Bryan Adams, the original “Monday Night Football” theme song
Guilty pleasure: “Arrested Development” reruns
Best stress release: Running the loop around the Central Park reservoir
Pet peeve: Being reminded that I’m no longer eligible for “30 Under 30”
Fantasy job: Federal agent
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT: These days, my 2-year-old
Business advice: As I once heard Jeff Pash say, “There’s no reason to get into a spitting match when you have on a nice outfit and the other guy is in full wet-weather gear.”