Bonfire Legal has announced its launch as a sports law firm dedicated to assisting amateur athletes navigate the increasingly complex world of NCAA compliance issues as well as emerging opportunities to leverage their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL).
Managing Partner Patrick Stubblefield, who has extensive experience in the field, will lead the firm.
“Too often, athletes lack a strong advocate,” said Stubblefield, who also serves as the CEO of ComplyU, an eLearning company focused on NCAA rules that he founded in 2018. “Having worked on-campus, I understand the pressure to balance the interests of the student-athletes with the interests of the institution. There are no competing interests at Bonfire Legal. My sole aim is to represent the interests of the student-athlete.”
Prior to starting his own law firm, Stubblefield served as Director of Compliance at the University of Oklahoma. Before joining OU in 2014, he was the Financial Aid Coordinator at the University of Houston where he oversaw the athletic scholarships and financial aid of each of Houston’s student-athletes. While in law school, Stubblefield served as a compliance intern at the University of Louisville and at his alma mater, Lipscomb University where he was a member of the varsity men’s soccer team.
His work on-campus earned him the respect of his peers.
“I was fortunate to meet Patrick during his time as a Director at OU,” said Aaron Hernandez, Director, Sports Law and Business at the Allan “Bud” Selig Sports Law and Business Program at Arizona State University. “Patrick is one of those professionals whose background will make him a strong asset as counsel for anyone dealing with NCAA-related issues.”
Stubblefield said he is also excited to help his clients as they leverage NIL “opportunities.”
“When the new NIL rules go into effect, student-athletes are going to be faced with a bevy of legal issues that they simply didn’t have to deal with before,” Stubblefield said. “Whether that’s forming an LLC, or applying for a trademark, or reviewing a licensing contract – even student-athletes who are not attracting the interests of major sponsors will have opportunities available to them and I want to make sure that they are able to take full advantage of these opportunities.”
In addition to his work experience, Stubblefield has a strong academic background in intercollegiate athletics. He earned his Masters of Sport Administration degree from Belmont University, a JD from the University of Louisville, and is finishing a Ph.D. in Adult and Higher Education – Intercollegiate Athletics Administration at the University of Oklahoma.