By Sheila Pursglove
Charles Roarty has always been keen on sports, especially basketball-whether playing, watching, or coaching. So it's no surprise to find him exchanging a basketball court for a trial court, and pursuing a J.D. at Wayne State University Law School, where he is president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society.
Roarty and his board have worked hard to make the society a success, including bringing in alumnus Jason Hillman, vice president and general counsel of the Cleveland Cavaliers, meeting with Red Wings General Counsel Robert Carr, and taking in a Detroit Tigers game with group founder Jordan Field, now director of the Detroit Tigers Foundation.
"Our main goal is to make sure our members are meeting the best lawyers in the sport and entertainment fields while enjoying the events themselves," Roarty says.
In January, Roarty and two other board members, Brennan Ackerman and Micah Rogalski, participated in the Professional Football Negotiation Competition, hosted by Tulane Sports Law Society, competing against schools from across the country. The simulated contract negotiations use real life scenarios and upcoming NFL free agents.
A graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, Roarty earned his bachelor's degree in Sports Management from the University of Michigan. During his studies he worked as a marketing intern for the U-M Athletic Department, and as a market research intern for General Sports and Entertainment in Rochester in northeast Oakland County.
"I always had a passion for sports, so I figured why not make a living out of it," he says. "The University of Michigan was the best place to do so and it showed with my first job at General Sports and Entertainment-I was able to apply classroom work and prepared economic impact reports for the Michigan Legislature in connection with the now completed Jimmy John's Stadium in Utica."
But while Roarty found the business side of sports fascinating, he knew a graduate degree would take him to the next level.
"A law degree opens doors in every field and it seemed like the next logical next step," he says. "I enjoy the transactional side of law dealing with contracts for mergers and acquisitions, corporate structuring, and taxation issues. My hope is to end up working at a large firm doing transactional work." He enjoys Securities and Tax law this year. "It's like a puzzle no matter which side of the transaction you are on or if you are regulating it."
To that end, he enjoyed participating in the school's Transactional Law Competition.
"When I first heard about this competition I was really excited and have not been disappointed," he says. "We dealt with a stock purchase agreement amendment which is something many law students would never be exposed to until they graduated.
"Whether it's taking a conference call with the client, researching Delaware corporate law, or determining how class principles apply, there's no better way to get practical experience from a transactional law perspective. Finally we competed in live negotiations against other teams at Wayne with the chance to compete at a regional competition. Principles like the Material Adverse Change doctrine may seem simple in theory, but it's fascinating to apply it in real world situations to see how it interacts with these type of agreements."
Roarty selected Wayne Law after hearing nothing but great things about the professors from alumni-and has not been disappointed.
"The professors all take any necessary steps to make sure you not only understand the legal theory, but how it would apply to real world situations," he says. "Extra-curriculars like the Transactional Law Competition allow me to perform transactional work that I will do in the field. I've also been able to meet friends who are much smarter than me and will not only remain great friends, but become co-workers I can turn to for any problems I have throughout my career."
Roarty got off to a running start in his 1L year, earning highest score in his section, Legal Research and Writing, 1L Oral Argument.
Roarty has also been performing case research for Professor Eric Zacks since last May, examining how different states and circuits look at acceleration clauses in mortgage contracts.
"This has been the most rewarding experience of law school thus far," he says. "I've gained practical research skills, learned from a fantastic lawyer how to analyze certain problems, and been able to help with some of the writing."
"It's also nice to get to know professors on a personal level because they've been through the struggles of searching for jobs, dealing with classes, and preparing for the bar exam."
The Grosse Pointe Shores native now lives in the Motor City where he enjoys watching sports, playing basketball (the Law School team made it to Wayne State's IM Basketball Final Four last year), and playing euchre-"It's an Irish family pastime," he says with a smile.
Published: Fri, Feb 17, 2017