Dan Nash and Marissa Román Griffith Named NLJ Sports and Entertainment Trailblazers

(Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles) – Akin Gump labor and employment partner Daniel Nash and entertainment partner Marissa Román Griffith have been named by The National Law Journal to its inaugural list of Sports and Entertainment Trailblazers.

Mr. Nash told NLJ how he first became involved in sports law, noting that as a young associate, he was “asked to advise the NFL on some labor issues during the late 1980s when there was a fairly long labor dispute.” He subsequently helped write the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, including a salary cap.

Among Mr. Nash’s more high-profile matters were the suspension of running back Adrian Peterson and the disciplinary proceedings against running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Tom Brady. All those cases, he said, established precedent “that these matters should be arbitrated, not litigated.”

In the future, Mr. Nash said he expects there to be less litigation due to the precedents he has set: “Several courts of appeals have said that if the players and owners agree on an appeals process, that process has to be respected and you can’t get the courts involved.”

In its profile of her, Ms. Griffith said she has always been fascinated by movies and television, but she began her career as a transactional attorney. “Then I got a call from a headhunter,” she said, “interviewed for a position as a film finance associate and got the job. I’ve been doing entertainment finance ever since.”

Most recently, Ms. Griffith has been facilitating sharing of content and growth of companies. “When I started, it was a lot of single-project transactions. It has shifted to larger, more complex transactions,” she observed. “We took those tools and applied them to other spaces like TV, which is probably the frothiest space right now.”

Ms. Griffith predicts that the presale market for independent film and TV will continue to shrink, but she also expects to see “a continued expansion of streamers of their own individual productions. There will be more pressure on the box office and more skipping the theater completely.” In addition, she said to look for a continuation of the trend toward owning IP.

Earlier this year, Ms. Griffith received the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Award. (Click here to learn more.)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 attorneys in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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