Detroit Lions Legal Counsel Speaks at WMU-Cooley Sports and Entertainment Law Discussion
Jay Colvin, Detroit Lions senior vice president of legal affairs, and Jon Dykema, Detroit Lions lead counsel and manager of football administration, discussed their career backgrounds along with experiences, legal issues and responsibilities that come with being legal counsel and advocate for a National Football League team. Colvin and Dykema were the featured speakers during a luncheon hosted by the law school’s Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS) and Student Bar Association Feb. 8 at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus.
Colvin, who joined the Lions in May 2016, manages all legal matters pertaining to the corporate and business activities of the Lions and serves as corporate secretary for the Lions and the Detroit Lions Charities.
“An important role as a general counsel is being a generalist on a wide variety of topics and spotting issues as they come up,” said Colvin. “The daily challenge is that you never know what's coming next.”
When students asked what courses best prepare law students for a career in sports law, Colvin recommended tax, contracts, torts and intellectual property emphasizing brand protection.
Dykema, who has been with the Lions for seven years, works on the player side of the franchise. He oversees legal aspects of football operations, contact negotiation, assists with salary cap management, and directs analytic initiatives. Dykema discussed the importance of getting involved in the field while attending law school.
"You should seek out sports-related experiences as soon as possible in a variety of settings and build relationships,” said Dykema. "Attend local and national sports law seminars, volunteer for charities connected to a sports team such as the Sports Hall of Fame or even a player’s personal charity.”
Both Colvin and Dykema acknowledged that the sports law field is expansive with many new issues and areas that are emerging and providing career opportunities for attorneys.
Previously, Colvin was a partner at Bodman, PLC and was an adviser and attorney to the Ford family for 25 years. Colvin has extensive experience consulting with high-net-worth families and professional athletes on legal and wealth planning throughout their careers.
Dykmea, before being named the team’s lead counsel and manager of football administration, served as the team’s general counsel and staff counsel.
About Western Michigan University Cooley Law School: WMU-Cooley Law School resulted from the 2014 affiliation that combined WMU's status as a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley is accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The law school has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world, and enrolls classes in January, May, and September at its Lansing, Auburn Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan campuses, and its Tampa Bay, Florida campus. WMU and WMU-Cooley Law School operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.