The AmLaw Daily recently considered just how much the NBA Lockout will cost in legal fees. While negotiations have consumed most of the off-season, the league has now postponed training camps and over 40 preseason games. Discussions between owners and the players’ union surrounding a new collective bargaining agreement have been moving slowly, if at all, causing related legal costs to climb.
At this point, one can only speculate about how much each side will end up spending in legal fees to implement a new labor deal. During the last round of labor negotiations, between 2005 and 2010, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) spent roughly $2 million on outside counsel. However, it is important to note that those fees came during “a period of relative labor peace that followed the implementation in July 2005 of the league’s most recent collective bargaining agreement.” It is clear that current talks have not proceeded as smoothly.
According to documents filed by the NBPA with the Labor Department, the union used and made payments to at least nine law firms including Dewey & LeBoeuf, Rick, Steiner, Fell & Benowitz and Nixon Peabody. Some of the lead outside counselors to the NBPA have earned upwards of $1 million in connection with their work for the union from 2005-2010.
The league’s representation for the collective bargaining negotiations is lead by NBA commissioner David Stern. The NBA has also enlisted Proskauer sports group to lead their outside counsel team.