Law360 (March 15, 2024, 3:44 PM EDT) –Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt PC has hired the former general counsel for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, who is slated to help lead a newly created practice subgroup focused on sports and entertainment clients, the firm announced Wednesday.

Ben Lauritsen joins the firm from Stoel Rives LLP, where he worked as a partner in the firm’s corporate group for a little over a year, according to his LinkedIn profile. He will lead the firm’s newly formed sports and entertainment subgroup, which is part of its consumer products and industry group, a firm spokesperson confirmed to Law360 Pulse.

Lauritsen will continue his work partnering with sports and entertainment clients on a range of legal issues, as well as continuing to advise business owners on legal challenges and working with senior management on a range of strategic issues, the firm said.

In an email to Law360 Pulse Friday, Lauritsen said he was thrilled to make the move to Schwabe Williamson and work with the team of trusted attorneys, many of whom he’s “known for years as a client,” he said.

“Schwabe’s deep industry expertise is well-suited to address the complexity of modern sports law. Off-the-court opportunities and challenges with real estate, media, brand, and other issues are now at the forefront for sports teams,” Lauritsen said. “The firm’s industry-focused approach allows us to tailor smart and forward-thinking solutions for clients in the sports, entertainment and consumer products space.”

Some of Lauitsen’s work in the sports legal industry includes helping clients negotiate foundational agreements, like public-private venue partnerships, exclusive naming rights, jersey sponsorship deals and others agreements.

A University of Chicago Law School graduate, Lauritsen clerked for Arizona District Court Judge David G. Campbell before moving to Latham & Watkins LLP as a corporate associate, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Before moving to the Trail Blazers in 2010 — initially as associate counsel — Lauritsen joined Stoel Rives for the first time as a corporate associate. He worked for the Trail Blazers as associate counsel for a little over 2½ years before being made vice president and general counsel in 2012.

In 2016, Lauritsen was promoted to senior vice president and maintained his role as general counsel. From 2014 to 2020, he also served as president of the Trail Blazers Foundation, a community investment program focused on supporting local families and their children, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Mike Cohen, Schwabe Williamson’s consumer products, retail and manufacturing industry group leader, said in a statement that the firm was excited to welcome Lauritsen to the practice.

“Sports and entertainment are the ultimate consumer products, and we’re thrilled to grow our existing bench of expertise and enhance support for clients in this space,” Cohen said in a statement. “Ben’s extensive experience as general counsel gives him a unique ability to understand clients’ business goals and tailor solutions to their needs.”

By Jack Rodgers

This column is intended to provide readers with general information and not legal advice. Consult professional counsel for help regarding specific situations.

Column first appeared in Law360 on March 15, 2024.

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