Angela Smedley ’10 knows about being a team player. A devoted Detroit Pistons fan, Smedley notes that playing on her high school basketball team imbued her with skills she uses daily in the legal arena.
“We had two coaches who spent a lot of time with us, and even encouraged us to play against the guys to get better,” Smedley recalls. Her ability to face challenges and excel, combined with a continued interest in sports, has led Smedley to pursue a career in sports law.
After graduating from HarvardUniversity in 2004, Smedley had the opportunity to play an important role at a different kind of court. As a paralegal with Willkie Farr & Gallagher, she worked on an insurance-dispute case involving an NBA franchise. “I saw that case through from the beginning to the arbitration at the end,” she says, adding that the experience confirmed her desire to study law.
At ColumbiaLawSchool, Smedley has served as president of the Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Society (EASLS), helping to rebuild the group’s management structure and focus. “EASLS used to be more focused on entertainment law,” she explains. “We wanted to broaden the club’s offering and opportunities for those interested in arts and sports law.”
Currently, Smedley is a summer associate at Dewey & LeBoeuf. Though her work at the firm won’t initially involve sports law, she notes that Dewey has a strong sports litigation practice and represents several players’ unions.
“I always really liked the idea of doing something in sports,” Smedley says, “and gradually, it became more concrete that this was something I could really do. It is now becoming a reality.”