Representing the Buffalo Bills

A recent issue of the Buffalo Law Journal ran a cover story on Michael Schiavone, a senior partner at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria and chairman of the firm’s Business and Corporate practice. That story, “Experience guides Schiavone into sports law”, focuses on Mr. Schiavone’s relationship with and representation of the Buffalo Bills. He spoke to the Buffalo Law Journal about his time representing the Bills. The full story can be found on the Buffalo Law Journal website.

Becoming a sports lawyer

Mr. Schiavone told the Buffalo Law Journal that representing a professional sports team requires knowledge of and experience in several different types of law, including corporate, employment, and intellectual property. “Nobody really comes out of law school as a sports lawyer,” he explained. “You come out as a young lawyer and evolve into certain fields. Ultimately, from my perspective, you need to have a well-rounded set of experiences in various practice areas.” The Law Journal reports that Mr. Schiavone’s background in commercial real estate, finance, and banking was useful when forming his relationship as outside counsel for the Buffalo Bills in the early 1990s.

Stadium lease negotiations

The Buffalo Law Journal reports that Mr. Schiavone was part of the 1998 lease negotiations between the Buffalo Bills, Erie County, and New York State and that he was part of that process again in 2013. Mr. Schiavone represented the Bills through the most recent difficult lease negotiation, during which there was uncertainty about whether the team would stay in Western New York. According to the Law Journal, Mr. Schiavone was able to get the lease signed and ensure that the Buffalo Bills would stay in Western New York. “That’s a level of satisfaction you don’t appreciate until you realize that there were a couple of hundred people who may have been concerned about whether they’d continue to call Western New York home and whose concerns were laid to rest once the new lease was signed,” he said.

Mr. Schiavone continues to work with the Buffalo Bills on an as-needed basis for various legal issues, such as contracts and third-party arrangements like construction and sponsorships.

About Michael Schiavone

The chair of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Business and Corporate Practice Area, Mr. Schiavone has provided legal guidance to businesses for more than 30 years. He concentrates his practice in the areas of business law, commercial real estate, and estate planning, and he serves clients in a range of industries that includes franchises, hotel and hospitality chains, banking and finance, health care, manufacturing and distribution, and professional sports teams.