Justin Sievert

Senior Counsel

Justin Sievert is Senior Counsel at Vela Wood and chairs the firm’s sports and compliance practice group. His practice focuses on contract drafting and negotiation, marketing and promotions compliance, NCAA compliance matters, and Title IX. In recent years, Justin has served as outside corporate counsel to professional sports franchises, including organizations in the NFL and NBA where he assists their in-house legal teams and business units with drafting and negotiating various types of commercial agreements, including sponsorships, stadium use, and service provider deals, and providing legal and compliance counsel on promotional, ticketing, and marketing-related issues. Justin has also represented NCAA member institutions and coaches on compliance and infractions matters, has helped student-athletes navigate the waiver and reinstatement processes, and has completed comprehensive Title IX audits across all three Divisions.

“The path of least resistance is a terrible teacher.” – Ryan Holiday

Justin received his undergraduate degree in political science from Union College (NY) where he was a four-year starter on the varsity football team and a three-time All-American on the track and field team. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Law and also holds a Master’s in Education from St. Lawrence University.

After graduating from law school, Justin spent time working in college athletics administration before entering private practice with Buckner where he was a member of the firm’s college sports practice group. In 2017, Justin became a founding partner at Sievert Werly LLC, a boutique law firm with offices in Nashville, Tennessee, and Miami, Florida, where he represented professional sports teams, colleges and universities, and sports businesses on selected legal and regulatory issues with a focus on contract drafting and negotiation, marketing and promotions compliance, NCAA compliance matters, and Title IX. In addition to his sports practice, Justin served as outside counsel to businesses across a broad spectrum of industries in all aspects of their operations including entity formation and governance, drafting and negotiating commercial agreements, e-commerce and marketing issues, and employment law.

Justin is an active member of the sports law community. Justin has served as chair of the Sports Lawyers Association’s outreach efforts in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida, and was recently named the association’s Outreach Captain of the Year. Justin has also served as a sports law professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law and has taught other graduate and undergraduate-level courses on NCAA and NAIA compliance, legal and ethical issues in athletics administration, sports law, labor and employment law, and business law. He is also a frequent sports industry speaker and has presented at national conferences and legal symposiums, has served as a contributing writer on sports law issues for Sporting News, and is regularly quoted by national media outlets, including, The New York Times, the Miami Herald, Forbes, Law 360, and Bloomberg BNA.

Justin resides in Miami Beach, Florida, with his wife Jessica, who is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, their two sons, Jackson (6) and Mason (3), and their dog Rowdy.

Select Matters

  • Represented NFL and NBA franchises in various types of commercial agreements, including sponsorship, licensing, venue use, and service agreements.
  • Advised NFL and NBA franchises on various marketing initiatives, including contests, sweepstakes, text message campaigns, and other fan activations.
  • Drafted all ticketing agreements for an NFL franchise, including short- and long-term suite agreements, premium seat licenses, and group ticket arrangements.
  • Represented an NCAA Division I institution in front of the Committee on Infractions in a case involving a failure to monitor and extra benefits allegations.
  • Represented an NCAA Division I coach in an NCAA infractions case relating to the federal men’s basketball bribery probe.
  • Represented an NCAA Division I men’s basketball player on behalf of his institution successfully appealing the NCAA’s initial decision to not extend his athletics eligibility.
  • Completed Title IX reviews at NCAA Division I, II, and III institutions.
  • Represented a sports social media tech company on various corporate matters, including SaaS agreements, licensing agreements, and use and data privacy policies.
  • Represented a fitness tech company in its efforts to secure national partnership agreements.
  • Represented a sports beverage company in its efforts to secure national distribution agreements.

Justin Sievert's Recent Blog Posts

Understanding the NCAA’s Drug-Testing Appeals Process

August 31, 2020  |  By Justin Sievert

The NCAA’s drug-testing program is designed to promote fair and equitable competition in college athletics and to deter college athletes from using performance-enhancing drugs or other banned substances. As part of the program, the NCAA provides year-round, championships, and bowl game drug testing. Read More

Posted in NCAA Compliance

Maintaining Sponsorship Partnerships During COVID-19 and Beyond

August 3, 2020  |  By Justin Sievert

Colleges and universities should make ensure they have a solid understanding of how COVID-19 may impact each sponsorship agreement and potential concerns each sponsor may have. Read More

Posted in Sports Law