Ashwin Krishnan and fellow HLS students saw an opening — sports and entertainment law — and ran with it.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Nation & World

Law students venture into new field

4 min read

Develop first-time online journal on sports and entertainment law

A new online journal developed by students at Harvard Law School (HLS) aims to shed light on the area of sports and entertainment law.

Students received approval for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law in August and will release the inaugural issue of the annual online publication in the spring of 2010. Within the next couple of years, the journal’s founders hope to launch a printed version of the publication that will publish twice yearly.

Through a collection of scholarly essays and articles, the new publication, states its Web site, intends to “provide the academic community, the sports and entertainment industries, and the broader legal profession with scholarly analysis and research related to the legal aspects of the sports and entertainment communities.”

“There are a lot of legal issues in this field and there aren’t many scholarly outlets for the investigation of these issues,” said one of the journal’s founders and its editor-in-chief, HLS student Ashwin Krishnan ’05, J.D. ’10. “We want to explore this field in depth and treat it in a scholarly and rigorous fashion.”

Krishnan, who worked with the Boston Celtics during the 2008-09 academic year, noted that there is enthusiasm on the part of both students and faculty for the new journal as well as a need for it to fill an important academic hole.

“There was no journal at a school like Harvard, and we felt like we could really come in and be the leader in this field as a top-tier law school in this space.”

The journal represents a growing interest in the field on the HLS campus.

The discipline was the original domain of Paul C. Weiler, Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law Emeritus, whom Krishnan refers to as “the godfather of sports law.” But since 2007, visiting lecturer on sports law Peter Carfagna, who studied with Weiler while a student at HLS, has taken the mantle, introducing a series of courses for students and clinical placements with professional sports teams and leagues, as well as independent writing projects.

Carfagna serves as the journal’s faculty adviser and is ideally suited for the role. He was chief legal officer/general counsel of International Management Group — one of the nation’s top sports management and representation firms — for more than 10 years, and currently heads his own private practice in sports law.

Carfagna’s new courses in the Law School’s curriculum include this fall’s “Sports and the Law: Examining the Legal History and Evolution of America’s Three ‘Major League’ Sports: MLB, NFL, and MBA,” and “Sports and the Law: Representing the Professional Athlete,” which he will teach in the 2010 winter term.

He noted that the area of sports and entertainment law intersects with a number of other important legal topics.

“There are all sorts of [issues] … that require serious academic consideration because the courts are going to listen to what publications like this journal have to say about where they should go next in these areas that intersect sports law but really define substantive areas like intellectual property, publicity rights, antitrust, and collective bargaining-related issues.”

Sports and entertainment law “really needs serious scholarship from a place like Harvard,” added Carfagna. “I think Harvard can put its indelible stamp on the area.”

Krishnan and his fellow journal founders, Josh Podoll, J.D. ’11 and Ryan Gauthier, J.D. ’10, are not only developing the first issue of the journal, but also hoping to ensure the longevity of the publication by involving first- and second-year HLS students in the project who can step into management roles when the original team graduates.

“Everything that we do with this journal,” said Krishnan, “is looking toward the long term as well.”

The journal will accept articles, essays, book reviews, notes, and comments regarding legal and/or public policy issues related to the field. For more information on submissions, visit