General Counsel, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
B.A., Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles
Making it in the major leagues
With a lifelong passion for football, Roxanne Kosarzycki gravitated to sports law early in her legal education. Following a course in the subject with Adjunct Professor Jeff Birren, general counsel for the Oakland Raiders, Kosarzycki was able to work for the team under Southwestern's externship program. When it was over, she was hired to work part-time and then, following her graduation, full-time. Altogether, she spent 14 years with the Raiders before her appointment as general counsel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004. According to Kosarzycki, "The most important quality needed in my work is flexibility - the ability to keep your mind open to all facets of the law." She agrees with Birren who maintained that "there was no such thing as 'sports law,'" and urged his students to do their best in all courses because "they would all play a role in the umbrella of sports law."
As the Buccaneers' general counsel, Kosarzycki now oversees a variety of in-house legal matters related to football and administration, including the negotiation of contracts and the review and drafting of agreements with the club's marketing, media partners and other service providers. She is also involved with trademark protection and enforcement, as well as stadium construction. "What I enjoy most is being involved in football," she says. "I handle all of the legal issues, but I am also part of the team. I was even involved in Superbowl XXXVII." On a daily basis, Kosarzycki maintains an open door policy, using her legal skills and years of experience to counsel players and staff on a variety of issues. In Oakland, she assisted in various business litigation matters, managed legal affairs for the Raiders retail operations, and served as co-director of player development, managing such programs as continuing education, financial and family assistance, and career internships.
"I've had many students come to me as interns and say 'I want your job,'" says Kosarzycki. "I tell them, if you work hard in your classes, are committed, and do well in your externship, it just may lead to a career in the sports world."