February 16, 2010
When he was a student at Harvard College, Ashwin Krishnan ’10 wrote about sports for the Crimson. This year, as a 3L at Harvard Law School, he found himself writing about sports again—this time not about a team but for a team.
As part of his clinical work in sports law this January, Krishnan drafted briefs for the Florida Marlins baseball franchise, compiling information on why arbitration-eligible players merited the salaries the team proposed.
“It seemed to be a perfect match for my skills and interests,” he says. “I’ve grown up with baseball and arguing with friends about various players and statistics. To actually put that into use, in combination with my legal training, was a great experience for me.”
The opportunity arose from HLS’s burgeoning offerings in sports law, which include classes, seminars, symposia, and a new journal focused on the field. Krishnan is involved with all of them, as a founder and editor-in-chief of the new Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, which debuts this spring, and as president of the Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law.
The general counsel of the Marlins, Derek Jackson, participated in the committee’s 2009 symposium on how the economic downturn is affecting the sports industry, and later tapped Krishnan for the clinical position. During his 2L year, the HLS student also worked for Michael Zarren ’04, the Boston Celtics’ associate counsel, mainly on contracts with sponsors and on legal research. He also participated in a moot court competition at Tulane University involving an antitrust case, American Needle v. NFL, and served as a teaching and research assistant for Peter Carfagna ’79,who teaches the class Sports and the Law.
Krishnan hopes to one day work as an attorney for a sports team or league. He is less enthralled by the role of sports agent, which he says hinges too much on the whims of athletes. “I’m much more passionate and agree with the league, team side of things,” he says. While he knows there’s plenty of competition for jobs in the sports business, he feels his immersion in sports law at HLS will keep him ahead of the field.
“I definitely see the legal avenue as my entry point,” says Krishnan. “I think it’s a skill set that’s unique and will separate me from a lot of the candidates who want to work in sports.”