After Career Change, Kim Sachs Finds Rewarding Path as Sports Law Attorney

May 7, 2021 | Miscellaneous

(The following appeared in Sports Medicine and the Law, a sister publication of Sports Litigation Alert)

 Kimberly L. Sachs began her career in the media industry. But something was missing. It didn’t take long before the University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate realized there was a more rewarding path – becoming a lawyer.

So, Sachs changed directions, securing her J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law.

Shortly thereafter, she became an associate in Montgomery McCracken’s Litigation Department, where she focuses her practice on complex litigation matters in the areas of sports law, intellectual property, white-collar defense, and employment.

Sachs excels in sports law, and currently serves as a co-editor of Sports Medicine and Law. For those reasons and others we singled her out for the interview below.

Question: When did you first decide you wanted to be a lawyer and what led to it?

Answer: After graduating from college, I worked in the communications field for four years—two years in television and film and two years in print media.  The work was interesting, but it wasn’t rewarding.  I decided to go to law school (and ultimately become a lawyer) because I wanted to be challenged at work and feel like I was making a difference on a larger scale.  I love writing, critical thinking, and problem solving, so practicing law seemed like the perfect fit for me.  I’m in my third year of practice now and haven’t looked back. 

Q: How would you describe your overall practice?

A: I focus my practice on traumatic brain injuries, whether sustained in the sports context or in other situations.  I also counsel individuals, school systems, and organizations on catastrophic sports injury matters and the proper management of sport-related concussions and other sport-related brain injuries.  When I’m not working on TBI matters, I divide my time between intellectual property and commercial litigation.    

Q: What led you to the sports medicine niche?

A: My first day at Montgomery McCracken, I became the lead associate on a case that was scheduled for a four-week traumatic brain injury trial in New York.  Though the case did not involve a catastrophic sports injury, the alleged injuries were similar to those we see in the sports medicine area—concussion, traumatic brain injury, etc.—and the theory of liability was the same—negligence.  During the trial, I was able to work directly with some of the leading experts in the sports medicine field, and once the trial ended, I continued to work on cases in this area.  I’ve since worked on upwards of five brain injury/catastrophic injury matters, and I’m continuing to learn more and more with each new case.  

Q: What kinds of cases in the niche most interest you?

A: All of the cases in this field are super interesting.  The cases that interest me the most are those that involve complex medical issues and histories.  Being able to work with and learn from internationally renowned experts has been one of the most rewarding parts of being a lawyer.  It’s not every day that you get to talk to physicians for the US Olympic Team, top athletic trainers, or lead doctors for collegiate sports teams.

Q: How did your experience as a Legal Extern in the Villanova University Office of the Vice President and General Counsel shape you as a lawyer?

A: Working as a legal extern for the Villanova University Office of the Vice President and General Counsel gave me tremendous insight into the expectations of clients and highlighted the importance of outside counsel, especially outside counsel with an expertise in a niche area of law.  The experience also helped me understand the tension between the law and business practicalities and taught me to approach law in a more pragmatic way.  Go Cats!   

Q: What’s the best part about being a lawyer?

A: The best part about being a lawyer is being able to bring effective solutions to clients’ problems and work with and learn from your colleagues.  I am constantly relying on and learning new things from Steve Pachman, Dick Placey, Dylan Henry, and Kacie Kergides—the other members of MMWR’s Catastrophic Sports Injury Defense Group—and our collective brain is one of our biggest assets when analyzing new cases, discussing developments in concussion and CTE litigation, and working on TBI matters.  

The best part about being a lawyer in this field is being able to work directly with some of the top neurologists, neuropsychologists, and neuroradiologists, literally in the world.  These experts are helping to shape the concussion landscape every day with their work, research, and publications, and being able to call on them for their knowledge for complex cases has been an invaluable asset.  I also have immense respect for these experts who are helping to make sports safer.

Q: If you weren’t a lawyer, what would be your profession?

A: If I didn’t practice law, I’d probably still work in the media industry.  It wasn’t so bad—it’s where I met my husband!   

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