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Volume 22 No. 35
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Forty Under 40: Frank Saviano

Photo: mykwain gainey

In nearly a decade at Proskauer, Frank Saviano has provided critical counsel for some of the biggest deals in the sports industry: the record-breaking $2.275 billion sale of the Carolina Panthers to David Tepper; agreements between Major League Soccer and Facebook, SeatGeek and Twitter; and LAFC’s agreement with YouTube in a first-of-its-kind digital local rights agreement.

But when discussing the keys to his success, Saviano pointed to the culture and lawyers around him.

“This is not an industry where you can do anything by yourself,” said Saviano, who joined the firm in 2009. “The mentorship and camaraderie at Proskauer have really built me up.”

Saviano has returned that leadership as he has progressed at Proskauer. He made partner in 2017, at the time the only partner in Proskauer’s sports law group younger than 40.

“Frank has become one of the leaders in his generation of partners generally, not just in the sports group,” said Joe Leccese, Proskauer chairman and co-head of its sports law group. “He is extremely focused on professional development and mentoring — it’s something that just comes naturally to him.”

Partner, Proskauer

Age: 37

Born: Brooklyn

Education: Trinity College (Connecticut), B.A., political science; University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.,

Family: Wife, Carly; children, Frankie (6) and Ella (4)

What gets you fired up? Watching the New York Giants or Mets.

You wish you knew 10 years ago: Catch up on sleep while you can.

Profession you’d most like to attempt: Chef.

Guilty pleasure: A really good sandwich.

Could not go a day without: Spearmint Altoids.

Cause supported: Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

Person in the industry you’d most like to meet: Michael Jordan.

Ideal day off: At the beach with my wife and kids.

Most thrilling/adventurous thing you’ve done: Bungee jump.

We’d be surprised to know that: I dropped out of preschool.

To that end, Saviano is on the firm’s hiring committee, which is responsible for the recruitment and hiring decisions for all incoming associates.

“At a law firm, we have no other product than our talent,” Saviano said. “I’ve had such a great opportunity here with great mentors who have taught me to pay it forward, so I do my best to help teach them to be the best lawyers and people that they can be.”

Saviano, who has quickly become one of the most trusted sports lawyers in the media space, is also looking to continue his own development in an ever-changing field.

“The sports industry has been the biggest innovator in a number of ways on the media side,” Saviano said. “Some of these smaller deals with innovative digital properties around rights that a league has left over, or a deal that is an experiment with a technology — these may only be small deals now, but these could be big in three or four years.”

Leccese said that one of the things about Saviano that stands out is that he “always had a business sophistication that was well beyond his years.” 

“There is a pragmatism about him that has made him exceptional at resolving issues for clients, and he’s extremely skilled at building relationships,” Leccese said. 

As for the future, Saviano said he will continue doing what he believes has led him to success thus far — pushing himself to be better every year.

“I view it as a building process every year — building on my skills, building on my ability to lead and co-lead, building on being a better manager and getting more knowledge in this industry,” Saviano said. “The problems get more complex, the deals get more complex and the industry keeps growing and changing — I feel like I’m lucky to be in the position that I’m in.”