University of Texas, B.A.
University of Texas School of Law, J.D.
Jamey Newberg’s path to a career in sports law hasn’t been the one he envisioned when he applied during law school for an interview with the one Dallas firm he could identify that maintained a sports law specialty. Instead, his passion for sports unexpectedly intersected with his dedicated litigation practice in a way that has led to a unique dual career.
Jamey grew up in Dallas, graduating from Hillcrest High School, and returned after spending seven years in Austin, where he attended the University of Texas to obtain both his college and law school degrees. He graduated with High Honors from the Plan II program (Senior Thesis: “Sudden Death: Retirement Trauma in Professional Athletes”) before attending the UT School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Review of Litigation law journal and interned for Judge Bea Ann Smith on the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, one of 14 state appellate courts in Texas.
A lifelong sports fanatic whose dreams of playing baseball professionally were quashed at an age he chooses not to admit, Jamey’s vision in law school was to become a sports agent. As internship interview season got underway during his second year, Jamey saw that the longtime Downtown Dallas firm of Vial Hamilton Koch & Knox had a sports lawyer among its partners. He secured an interview with Vial Hamilton, landed a summer clerkship with the firm, and ultimately accepted an offer to join the firm permanently in 1994.
During the clerkship, the firm’s sports lawyer, Paul Schoonover, shattered Jamey’s second dream – explaining that there’s really no such thing as “sports law.” Paul had once represented a handful of NFL players, but even in that context his practice centered on contract issues, employment law, and other areas of general practice that just happened to involve athletes and the franchises for whom they played.
Jamey was trained at Vial Hamilton to be a trial lawyer, but he couldn’t shake the sports bug or his love for writing. In 1998, four years into his practice, he began to write (the word “blog” did not yet exist) about the Texas Rangers in his free time, developing an email newsletter that included a handful of like-minded friends on its distribution list but eventually grew to more than 20,000 subscribers and over 40,000 Twitter followers. At its peak, the Newberg Report website was generating 1 million hits per week. Jamey also published 20 annual books about the Rangers and developed a multi-media presence.
In 2007, 2008, and 2009, the Dallas Observer included Jamey on its lists of “The 50 Most Powerful People in Metroplex Sports” (once, shockingly, a couple spots ahead of Nolan Ryan). The Observer named Jamey “Best Sports Columnist in Dallas” in its “Best of Dallas 2011” and “Best of Dallas 2013” issues, and Fort Worth Weekly named him “Best Sportscaster/Sportswriter” in its “Best of 2013” issue.
In February of 2018, the national sports website The Athletic launched a Dallas-Fort Worth bureau and hired Jamey to be part of its staff. In his role with The Athletic, Jamey writes regularly about the Rangers, both at the major league and minor league levels.
As Jamey’s career as a trial lawyer developed, he began to represent professional sports franchises and gymnastics centers in various aspects, including premises liability, construction accidents, insurance coverage, employment law, and commercial disputes in both state and federal courts, as well as internal “best practices” policies. Most of the legal issues that his clients are faced with are common to many businesses, as opposed to fitting neatly into a “sports law” box. Nonetheless, Jamey’s connections to the sports and fitness industries remain central to both his litigation practice and his writing career – and now to his opportunity to teach at SMU.
In 2007, Jamey (who that year was recognized as a "Rising Star" by Texas Monthly in its “Super Lawyers Edition”) and six other partners left Vial Hamilton to start Vincent & Moye, P.C., a full-service Downtown Dallas firm that has since grown to more than 30 lawyers. The firm, which is now called Waddell Serafino Geary Rechner Jenevein, P.C., maintains an “Entertainment and Sports Law” section that Jamey, a onetime Vice-Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Sports & Entertainment Section, helps lead as his law practice enters its 28th year.
Law students reach out to Jamey’s firm from time to time expressing an interest in sports law as they explore ways to launch their own careers and follow their passions. Sports law may not truly exist in the way these students might expect – but Jamey knows better than to turn them away.