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Payoff pitch: Hit a home run by being different

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Payoff pitch: Hit a home run by being different

I started attending New York Law School in 2011 with the mindset of wanting to work in the sports law industry.  I saw “Jerry Maguire” the summer before I started law school, and I thought to myself that being a sports agent was a viable career choice to make.

After more researching during my 1L year, I quickly realized that being a sports agent would be the death of me.

So it was the fall of 2011, and I asked myself “how on earth do I get involved in sports law?” It was such a niche industry, and I had no connections with anyone in it. To put it bluntly, I was on my own.

But it wasn’t until November 2011 that an idea popped in my head, an idea that I consider to be the best decision I have ever made. I decided to create a sports law blog.

It was shortly after attending New York Law School’s third annual Sports Law Symposium that the idea of creating of sports law blog came in my head. I heard from and talked to numerous sports law professionals who all said that being unique and different is the only way you can get your foot in the sports law door. After attending that symposium, I thought to myself that creating a blog wouldn’t be a bad idea.

But when I did a simple Google search for “sports law blogs,” a lot of results came up.  I quickly became discouraged. Then suddenly, the idea of creating a sports law video blog came up. I did a Google search, and I saw there were no sports law video blogs that existed, and I said to myself “this is my gateway into sports law.”

In the end, you hold the key to your destiny. It’s up to you to make decisions in law school and beyond that will be most beneficial for you.

And it was then that I began conceiving the idea of Law and Batting Order.  I spent a good month building the website, having a logo designed, creating a video intro, and marketing the new site.  Law and Batting Order was officially born on December 23, 2011.

Four years later, LABO still lives on. Since day one, I have written, filmed, edited, shared, and marketed LABO on my very own. I have filmed 100 episodes, accumulated almost 20,000 cumulative video views, and have gotten the attention of numerous sports law attorneys and students. LABO served as a great talking point when I talked to lawyers at networking events or during interviews for certain legal internships and jobs.

Because of LABO, I’ve interviewed numerous professionals, from U.S. Olympian DeeDee Trotter to ESPN investigative reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada. I even attended the 2015 NHL Draft.  In spite of the personal successes I’ve had with LABO, the website is still a work in progress. LABO is annually nominated for the ABA Blawg 100, and unfortunately, it falls short each year. LABO has also missed out on the Forbes Must-Follow Sports Business list for two straight years.

But that never discourages me from doing what I love, which is creating authentic, genuine, sports law content.

So why am I sharing my story with you?  If you’re a law student reading this and you’re not sure what to do, I want to encourage you to be different just as I was different. If you have the idea for a blog or something that escapes the law school mold, pursue it. Build your brand by being unique and creative.  Creating a blog is one way of doing that. Organizing a symposium or a networking event is another way of being unique and creative.

My best advice is just think, mull over your options, pick the option that best suits you, and stay committed to it. That commitment will most definitely pay off. At least it has for me.

In the end, you hold the key to your destiny. It’s up to you to make decisions in law school and beyond that will be most beneficial for you. For me, I knew that creating a sports law blog was the way for me, considering how ultra-competitive the sports law industry is. I think I have made the best of my experience, and I hope you will too.

I’m a real person just like you, so if you ever have questions about sports law or building your brand in law school, I’m here to help. I really love paying it forward. You can reach me via the links in my bio below.

Tony Iliakostas Tony Iliakostas is a graduate of New York Law School's Class of 2014. In his day-to-day, he serves as Business Affairs Manager for the Rights Representation Group at Corbis Entertainment. He is also the founder and host of the sports law web-show "Law and Batting Order," where he discusses some of the most pressing legal issues in sports.