Before working in the business world, this young athlete found his way into the path of law.
it’s a Kevin Gilmore.
He graduated in Civil and Common Law from the University of Ottawa, and did an internship at Fasken formerly known as Martineau Walker.
He also received the Chief Justice Award Brian Dixon to the Supreme Court of Canada.
We spoke to him to find out more…
Why did you choose to study law?
I wanted to work in sports. There were different ways to get there. You often had to be a former player or coach to work in the sport. Although I played a lot of sports, I was not a top athlete. And after a lot of research, law was the most interesting path for me.
At that time, there were a lot of companies representing players. They became more and more important in sports and they were all lawyers. So, by signing up for law, I was hoping to find myself in sports.
Why did you decide to play sports instead of another legal field?
I come from a family of athletes with my father who was a hockey and soccer player. Sports has always been in my family and throughout my youth. It was a passion for me. If I work in a field that I am passionate about, I should be happy. It is a personal choice.
After law school, she took time to write to several representative agencies. I have written to professional hockey clubs and the response I received is the same as all graduating young lawyers get. “Thank you for your interest in our club, organization or agency but we are unable to train lawyers,” the letter read.
There was no clear and precise path. I realized that before I could even get into sports, it was necessary to become a good lawyer. Because those who work in these offices are actually lawyers, not students. I had to find a job in an office and become a good lawyer to eventually see if an opportunity arises in the sports field.
How did you start your career as a lawyer?
I received a job offer at Fasken at the time of Martineau Walker. After entering Bar Quebec, I had a taste for adventure. In the 1980s, there were a lot of young lawyers who went to work in the United States and more specifically in New York. I decided to send resumes to dozens of offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Two large offices in these two cities called me for interviews. My first interview was at Latham & Watkins where I spent the whole day with them. They offered me a job at five in the evening and I accepted dinner time.
This selection has not been calculated. In the old days, in Montreal, there was only a baseball and hockey club. While you were in Los Angeles, there were professional teams, representative agencies, organizations, leagues, and college sports systems. If I take the job in California, I will have more opportunities and more connections.
How has the law affected your career as a leader and as an entrepreneur?
At some point, I had to choose, not to be just a lawyer. After I left the office in 1991 to take a job at The Walt Disney Company, I had the opportunity to work on a sports profile.
The company wanted to explore the possibility of entering the professional sports field by acquiring a hockey team and a baseball team. I had the opportunity to work on these files and stay with the clubs involved. But I had to adapt. You had to be more than just a lawyer and work on business development, transactional matters with our sponsors, broadcasters and associations. This allowed me to expand my responsibilities and knowledge.
Over time, my avocado hat got a little too small but I still had one. Today, I still think like a lawyer. In my opinion, there are two categories of lawyers: deal-makers and deal-breakers. I have always been a deal maker. I tend to look for opportunities, challenges and find solutions that lead us to a solution that is beneficial for our company and our partners.
Do you have any legal or sports personalities that have inspired you from your beginnings until today?
There are two people I consider mentors. first there Michael Eisner Who was the CEO of Disney. She is a very creative person who has shown and sometimes forced me not to think quite like a lawyer. When we are very careful, when there is no danger and when we protect everything, we put creativity and innovation aside. It was something I learned when I was 27 years old. I had the good fortune of working with Michael for months on the hockey team file and I learned a lot.
The second person is Timothy J. Lewicki who was the CEO of AEG Group. Show me how to think like insight. That’s what he did by getting a hockey team. Today, AEG is one of the largest entertainment and sports companies worldwide. He surrounded himself with a team with the same vision that helped him achieve the dream.
What are your tips for young lawyers who want to work in the world of sports?
Be the best lawyer you can become because you never know when an opportunity will arise! I got lucky. I took the time to become a good lawyer before really trying to put myself in the sport.
Then keep searching. I continued to join the sports teams to see if there were any jobs available. I was persistent and was always involved in this field, especially in associations. You never know when an opportunity will present itself that will really allow us to get into the business. Once you open the door, feel free to enter.