ESPN, Inc., The Worldwide Leader in Sports, is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia sports assets with over 50 business entities. Headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut, ESPN is 80% owned by ABC, Inc. (a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company), and 20% owned by the Hearst Corporation.
ESPN was founded by Bill Rasmussen and launched on September 7, 1979. Now with over 6,500 employees, each year ESPN televises more than 5,100 live and/or original hours of sports programming. The company’s mission is to serve sports fans. Anytime. Anywhere.
The Counsel in ESPN’s Legal Department will assist the Deputy Chief Counsel, Assistant Chief Counsel and other attorneys in fulfilling the legal affairs and requirements of the corporation. Areas of focus can include, but are not limited to, programming acquisitions, production agreements, ad sales, digital (including social media), and distribution, as well as legal work related to various aspects of direct-to-consumer offerings.
- Maintains current knowledge of applicable federal, state, and local laws and of industry legal standards and norms; analyzes how these might impact ESPN.
- Drafts contracts and other legal documents, recommends approval/modification of contracts proposed by outside parties, and negotiates with outside parties. Assists with/supports comparable tasks in other areas outside of core expertise/primary responsibility.
- Possesses and maintains (including through Department designated continuing legal education) knowledge in specialized legal areas, specifically in connection with (1) content (including audiovisual programming, licensing and production); (2) intellectual property (copyright, trademark, rights of publicity); and/or (3) ad sales.
- Keeps internal clients fully informed of relevant legal issues and implications of their current operations and proposed actions, and advises them accordingly of risks and legal consequences of alternative actions.
- Reviews and edits significant letters, work orders and other documents from applicable client departments to ensure that potential legal implications are appropriately addressed.
- Manages outside counsel in their representation of ESPN on litigation and other legal matters.
- May directly supervise, on a non-exclusive basis, one or more Paralegal and Legal Assistant colleagues.
- As requested by the Deputy Chief Counsel and/or Chief Counsel, participates in relevant professional associations, seminars, and conferences.
- Operates within the context of defined corporate strategies.
- Recommends and, with appropriate approvals, implements enhancements and improvements to established processes and workflows.
- Translates corporate strategy into mid- and long-term goals and the analysis and evaluation of trends in ESPN’s legal positioning and compliance into recommended corporate actions.
- Performs such other duties or functions as the Chief Counsel, Deputy Chief Counsel, Assistant Chief Counsel or an attorney reporting to any of them may delegate to her or him.
- Conceives and recommends strategies and initiatives to minimize the legal risks of current operations and proposed actions.
- At least 2 years of contract law experience, including extensive drafting, in either a transactional or litigation capacity.
- Familiarity with content agreement negotiating (including, by way of example only, audiovisual programming, licensing and production agreements) and intellectual property law (copyright, trademark, rights of publicity)
- Familiarity with the entertainment, broadcast/cable, Internet, mobile, other digital media (including social) and/or sports businesses
- Familiarity with audiovisual production legal work, including licensing of audiovisual content and data components
- Familiarity with ad sales matters
- Familiarity with media distribution (including licensing and/or commission/agency based third-party distribution of audiovisual content including networks, digital applications (apps) and others)
- Experience supervising paralegal/legal support staff
- JD law degree from an accredited law school
- Bar admittee; eligibility for Connecticut Authorized House Counsel status, if not already admitted to the bar in Connecticut.