October 7, 2022

InsiderPlays

Creating Possibilities

MLS Rivals Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers Tap Legal Talent

The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers, two of the biggest rivals in Major League Soccer, are amid many clubs incorporating to their authorized teams off the pitch.

Felipe Mendez, who invested the earlier a few many years as typical counsel for the Bellevue School District around Seattle, joined the Sounders this month as an affiliate normal counsel. He is also president of Washington Youth Soccer, an corporation committed to advertising the sport among small children in the condition.

The Sounders promoted longtime lawful chief Maya Mendoza-Exstrom to main running officer earlier this calendar year. She didn’t respond to a ask for for remark. In Could, the Sounders conquer Mexico City’s Pumas UNAM in front of an MLS document 68,700 followers in Seattle to come to be the first MLS facet to advance to the FIFA Club Entire world Cup.

That exact month the Timbers hired Heather Davis, a longtime in-residence attorney with the Nationwide Football League, as their new standard counsel. Davis joined the Timbers just after a year as senior company counsel for mergers and acquisitions at Vacasa Inc., a family vacation rental management corporation based mostly in Portland, Ore.

Davis stated in an job interview that the Covid-19 pandemic prompted her to depart the NFL’s New York headquarters in May well 2021 just after nearly 9 decades with the league. The former Paul Hastings and Covington & Burling associate, an Oregon native, and her spouse relocated that summer season to the state’s wine state.

MLS is closing in on a coveted spot as a single of North America’s Huge Four professional sporting activities leagues. In June, Apple Inc. inked a lengthy-time period streaming legal rights offer for MLS video games. The league has expanded speedily in latest yrs, with an expansion crew owned by hedge fund mogul David Tepper having the industry this year in Charlotte, N.C., and a different club in St. Louis established to start out perform following year.

New Competitiveness

Davis returns to the sporting activities world with her new position as lawful main for the Timbers and Portland Thorns FC, an affiliated franchise in the Nationwide Women’s Soccer League.

“The soccer society on both of those the men’s and women’s side is fantastic in Portland—it’s fun to be a element of it,” Davis said. “I sense seriously blessed to have been capable to find my way again into sporting activities out listed here.”

She took in excess of from previous Timbers and Thorns common counsel Lori Le Cheminant, who used a lot more than 3 several years in the function. Le Cheminant didn’t reply to a request for comment about her departure from the group.

The Timbers and Sounders each and every calendar year vie for the Cascadia Cup alongside with a further Pacific Northwest mainstay, the Vancouver Whitecaps. All 3 teams are at present bunched jointly in the center of MLS’ Western Conference standings.

Mendez was out of the business and unavailable for remark about his new Sounders role, which is listed on the team’s web page, as nicely as his LinkedIn profile and registration with the Washington State Bar Association. General public information show that Mendez gained $190,000 during 2020 in his prior task as a school district legal main.

A lot more MLS Moves

The Sounders and Timbers aren’t the only MLS groups using the services of legal professionals.

LAFC, a Los Angeles-primarily based group with Major Legislation backing that presently sits atop the Western Convention desk, recruited a substitution for its previous typical counsel Randy Haight, who in December joined the Coca-Cola Co. The franchise employed new legal main Joseph Connaughton III in February after he expended a few decades as counsel for the National Basketball Association’s Oklahoma Town Thunder.

Connaughton introduced on former Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner affiliate D. Logan Kutcher as senior counsel in April. Kutcher most not long ago labored in-residence at Lyft Inc. and Dish Community Corp.

In May, FC Cincinnati declared its employ the service of of vice president of lawful affairs Paula Boggs Muething just after she stepped down as Cincinnati’s city supervisor. Bloomberg Regulation documented previous 12 months on a former lover at Cincinnati’s Keating Muething & Klekamp, where Boggs Muething once worked, encouraging the group open a new stadium.

FC Dallas in January tapped James O’Sullivan to succeed Alan Tompkins as its basic counsel. O’Sullivan was earlier an assistant normal counsel and director of land administration at Dallas-primarily based Unity Hunt Inc. Tomkins has served as standard counsel for the privately held company controlled by the Hunt relatives, longtime benefactors of US soccer and proprietors of the NFL’s Kansas Metropolis Chiefs.