Who Knew?: Welcome to the Show

Sports and Entertainment Law Association enjoys eventful year—and is ready for more

Monday, November 29, 2021
Victoria Noam

By Patrick McDonnell

Victoria Noam knows the story starts here, right in her backyard. The president of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law’s Sports and Entertainment Law Association (SELA), Noam understands that incredible opportunities surround her and the 69 other students in her organization.

“Las Vegas is the place to be for sports law,” says Noam, a 3L student from Toronto who pivoted from covering the NBA for the Score sports-media company to interning with Shaquille O’Neal’s agent at the Las Vegas-based PRP sports management firm last summer. “All of these events, teams, and increased media presence will create more opportunities for people like me.” 

And those opportunities can cross multiple entertainment platforms, from professional athletes such as O’Neal to A-list actors/performers to high-profile social media personalities. Whether it’s negotiating a contract, representing a famous person embroiled in a lawsuit, or securing copyright or trademark protections, legal needs abound for those in the public eye. Noam says that kind of variety is part of SELA’s appeal.

“So many things are transferrable,” Noam says. “The [legal issues] that matter to athletes are also important to celebrities.”

From administrative changes to exciting events, it’s been a busy calendar year for SELA, which was founded in 2013. 

Brian Wall, the law school’s associate dean for student affairs, took over as the organization’s new faculty adviser, while Jean-Lionel Mésidor—a New York City music industry veteran—filled a new entertainment chair post that was created for him in April.

On the event side of things, 30 UNLV Boyd Law students participated last year in a virtual “A-Listers in Entertainment Law” panel. PRP founder Perry Rogers, Dickinson Wright patent attorney Jennifer Ko Craft, and Tao Group executive Andrew Goldberg shared insights with SELA on the personal goals and challenges athletes and celebrities face. 

Also, Las Vegas Raiders president Dan Ventrelle joined a virtual SELA panel on pro sports last fall, and Noam says she is excited to develop in-person events featuring Las Vegas-based speakers. For instance, SELA will co-host a panel this year with UNLV Boyd’s Cannabis Law Society to discuss Olympic-level athletes and doping. Noam also plans to reach out to the school’s Gaming Law Society for a sports betting-focused seminar. “It’s a hot-button issue right now,” Noam said of the growth of sports betting across the national landscape.

Another sizzling-hot topic: name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights for collegiate athletes. Earlier this year, the courts ruled that amateur athletes have a right to benefit financially from their NIL without fear of losing eligibility. SELA is partnering with the local Holley Driggs law firm to develop a program that will teach UNLV student-athletes about those financial opportunities and how to protect themselves from bad contracts. If approved, the partnership may allow SELA members to pile up community-service hours for participating.

As for her own career motivations, Noam says she’s thinking about following the path of lawyers-turned-NBA-executives Adam Silver and Michele Roberts. Silver is the league’s commissioner, and Roberts is executive director of the National Basketball Players’ Association. 

“I am most excited to be able to do more challenging work and make a difference,” says Noam, who also works as a student attorney at UNLV Boyd’s Immigration Clinic. “Hopefully, all my hard work will pay off with a rewarding career in sports law.”