Lewis Brisbois Strengthens National Sports Law Practice with Hire of Clifton; Jackson Lewis Names Paul Kelly as Chair of Practice Group in Clifton’s Absence

May 6, 2022

Lewis Brisbois has hired seasoned sports law attorney Gregg E. Clifton as a partner in the firm’s national Entertainment, Media & Sports and Labor & Employment Practices. Clifton joins from Jackson Lewis, where he served as the co-chair of its Collegiate and Professional Sports Industry Practice Group for the past 11 years. Clifton is well-known throughout the sports industry.

Clifton has deep experience in the collegiate and professional sports world, advising numerous professional franchises on a range of labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance, wage and hour, collective bargaining negotiations, representation cases, arbitrations, and matters before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and various state employment agencies. Notably, Clifton serves as lead counsel for several Major League Baseball teams in salary arbitration matters and has represented numerous collegiate clients from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) on rules compliance and investigatory matters, and in disciplinary hearings. He has also handled Title IX investigations and compliance issues for NCAA and NAIA member institutions.

Clifton has also worked extensively in agent regulation and enforcement in both professional and college sports and regularly provides counsel on issues relating to NCAA and NAIA amateurism issues and athlete eligibility questions. He has also served as an expert witness in matters involving sports agents’ work and responsibilities, as well as athlete compensation issues.

In addition, Clifton is a recognized leader on emerging trends in sports law, such as the current efforts by the NLRB to reclassify student-athletes as employees of their universities and the complex legal issues arising from the status of student-athlete Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights and the immigration issues involving international athletes and restrictions on their NIL rights. He frequently serves as an expert speaker to law schools – including Harvard University, Boston College, Hofstra University, New York Law School, and Arizona State University – and bar associations on a wide variety of sports law issues, and is often called upon by national news media as a source for his commentary and opinion on legal issues in sports. Clifton currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Sports Lawyers Association, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the understanding, advancement, and ethical practice of sports law.

Clifton received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, cum laude, and his law degree from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York, and Arizona.

“Gregg’s background serving in a leadership role in his former firm’s sports practice will complement our continued growth in the entertainment and sports law areas, said Jonathan D. Goins, Vice-Chair of the firm’s Entertainment, Media & Sports Practice,

Rising Star on Jackson Lewis’ NCAA Compliance Team Also Joins Lewis Brisbois

A few days later, Lewis Brisbois announced that another former Jackson Lewis sports law attorney, John Long, would be joining the firm as a partner in the firm’s Houston office.

Lewis Brisbois noted that the addition of Clifton and Long creates “a powerhouse team of sports law practitioners.”

Long has extensive experience and success in higher education matters involving collegiate athletics, representing dozens of universities in NCAA compliance and infractions matters. He is considered the most accomplished NCAA infractions appeals attorney in the country, and brings to the firm over 11 years of experience in the field.

His work representing Georgia Tech’s appeals on NCAA sanctions has earned industry-wide praise, and likely solidified his promotion to partner.

“John’s experience at all levels of the NCAA infractions process will greatly benefit our practice. I look forward to working with him as we continue to handle increasingly complex matters involving collegiate athletics, including issues involving student-athlete name, image, and likeness,” said Goines

Long’s prior experience exclusively focused on counseling institutions, athletics conferences, affiliated corporations and individuals in collegiate sports law matters, including those involving NCAA infractions, NCAA compliance and Title IX. He has conducted investigations, provided advice and counsel, and appeared before various NCAA committees on behalf of his clients.

Long has vast experience representing institutions in cases before the NCAA Committee on Infractions and the Infractions Appeals Committee. Additionally, he is deeply experienced in providing advice and counsel to institutions and affiliates regarding legislative relief waivers, student-athlete reinstatement, the NCAA Academic Performance Program, Title IX Gender Equity concerns and in conducting internal investigations and reviews.

Long received his bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin, and his law degree from Marquette University Law School, where he earned the National Sports Law Institute’s Certificate of Sports Law. 

He has been published in numerous sports law publications, including the Journal of NCAA Compliance and Sports Litigation Alert.

Meanwhile, at Jackson Lewis, it was confirmed earlier this week that Paul Kelly, who shared the Chair position of the sports law group with Clifton, would be the sole Chair of the group going forward.