The Legal Game - Black Enterprise

The Legal Game

Photo by Michael McElroy

After nine years working as an attorney in the sports industry, Eve Wright has learned that her true passion is business strategy and her strongest skill set is relationship building.

Current Position: Vice President, Associate General Counsel

Organization: The Heat Group, Miami

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Economics, International Business, DePauw University; Doctorate Jurisprudence, Indiana University School of Law

Responsibilities: Wright represents the NBA’s Miami Heat as well as its arena in legal dealings including promotions, sweepstakes, contests, as well as advertising and corporate sponsorship deals. “Everything from that to equipment acquisitions, software licenses, and construction–it’s everything related to how the business runs because at the end of it, it’s a business. Our widget just happens to be professional basketball.”

Résumé: Currently in her third year with the Heat, Wright served as senior director of business and legal affairs for the Ladies Professional Golf Association for nearly six years. Before that she was an associate at Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. in the e-business and corporate transactions groups.

Learning curve from law firm to in-house counsel: “Getting to understand the business. When you’re in a law firm, it’s all theoretical and you’re giving the best legal advice possible, but it’s really in a vacuum. In business it’s like, ‘OK, there’s risk inherent in everything; what can I do to minimize our risk but still get our deal done and be an effective business partner?’”

Strongest skill set: “The skill I have honed the most and that is actually the most important in my job day-to-day is relationship building. If my colleagues, at my level, above, or even below, don’t trust me, it makes my job 10 times harder. Pulling me in as a business partner has everything to do with them trusting me. They know I am going to help them be better and look better when we’re working as a team.”

Lesson learned: “I really like the business stuff: strategy and negotiating. If I had it to do over again, I’d have done the joint M.B.A.-J.D. program.”

Advice about law school: “When people go to law school they have no idea what it means to practice law day in and day out: developing client portfolios; drafting documents every day, all day; working from 6 or 7 a.m. in the morning to maybe 8 or 9 p.m. at night, and doing it every day, on the weekends too. Ask somebody what they do every day. Once you see them do these things, you’ll get a better idea of whether you’re personally suited for that, if that works for your personality.”