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She Shoots, She Scores: Being A Top-Rated Sports Lawyer – Jessie Engelhart – S6E2

From graduating Tilburg Law School in 2016 to continuing legal education in Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona, passing the Spanish Bar Exam and working for international law firms as well as with FCBarcelona and UEFA, this week we’re chatting to the sensational multilingual Lawyer Jessie Engelhart!

Jessie proudly founded Sensato Sports Law, a boutique sports law firm, based in Barcelona in 2020 after deciding it was time to combine her passions for Sports, Law, Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Working in Strategy & Innovation for key stakeholders such as FC Barcelona and UEFA, Jessie has seen the challenges and opportunities that arise while attempting to foster a culture of innovation within more risk-averse environments first-hand.

As well as Jessie’s impressive but busy career, she is also a mentor and lecturer at the ESEI International Business School.

𝐒𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧?

You can catch our host Rob Hanna and Jessie chatting about all things:

  • The benefits of being multilingual in law and why you might consider it
  • How Jessie became a sports lawyer
  • What life looks like for a sports lawyer and the things they get up to
  • How social media has helped Jessie and how it can actually help you when practising law
  • How online courses are fast-tracking law careers and why

Show notes

Here are 3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn how to utilise social media to boost your own law firm. 
  2. Hear about starting your career in sports law. 
  3. Discover what it’s like working for FC Barcelona and UEFA. 

Resources:

Episode highlights:

Jessie’s background:

  • Jessie is Dutch and attended Tilburg Law School in Holland.
  • She completed her Master’s degree in Legal Practice, in Spain.
  • She sat the Spanish Bar Exam.
  • Jessie stumbled across sports law during 1 of her internships.
  • She done a Master’s degree in sports law and this is how she entered the sports industry.
  • She has worked for FC Barcelona and UEFA’s Innovation Hubs.
  • Jessie established her own law firm alongside 2 business partners.
  • Since working on the law firm, she has undertaken many side projects.

What Jessie enjoyed about studying abroad:

  • Jessie loves travelling, studying abroad and living abroad.
  • It has been challenging for Jessie because studying law in her native language was tough, let alone in another language.
  • Jessie studied in Brazil for 6 months, as part of her international law exchange program.
  • Jessie found it difficult studying for her Master’s because she had to translate what was being said.
  • The language barrier was a challenge.
  • For Jessie, the end result was rewarding and it was an enriching experience.
  • Jessie enjoyed studying in Brazil the most, then Spain.

Jessie’s role as a legal intern:

  • Jessie worked for 2 law firms – a Dutch and a German law firm.
  • At 1 law firm, Jessie was working in Dutch, helping clients deal with legal assistance they needed in Spain.
  • At the German firm, Jessie touched on everything – civil law, contract law and flight compensation claims.
  • This is how Jessie found out about sports law, by gaining experience in multidisciplinary firms.
  • Jessie also worked on a sponsorship agreement between an athlete and a sponsor.
  • When starting her own firm, Jessie wanted to make sense out to be different, in comparison to multidisciplinary firms.
  • She wanted to focus solely on sports law and stand out in this area.
  • Jessie’s firm offers legal assistance, representation and dispute resolution services to athletes, coaches, also any stakeholders in the sports industry.

Jessie’s experience of drafting documents in English, Spanish and Dutch:

  • Jessie found it challenging and underestimated the task, because she spoke conversational Spanish.
  • Phrasing and grammar are important when drafting.
  • The type of language used in drafting is different from conversational language.
  • Jessie works a lot in English and sometimes in Spanish, because of domestic clients.

Where did Jessie’s true passion for sports stem from? What inspired her to pursue a career in sports?

  • Jessie grew up in a football-oriented family and watched football every day at home.
  • Jessie pursued sports because of the enthusiasm of fans, the passion and the fact sports unites different cultures.
  • People from different generations, genders, backgrounds and religions all come together to play sport. Jessie thinks this is beautiful.
  • Whilst in Brazil, Jessie volunteered in a favela and took part in a soccer project for girls.
  • Jessie loves going to the stadium, feeling the atmosphere and witnessing the enthusiasm of the fan.

Some of the hurdles Jessie faced and how she overcame them:

  • Jessie has suffered from imposter syndrome – she felt like she wasn’t an expert or knowledgeable enough to open her own practice as a sports lawyer.
  • She felt this was a massive hurdle to overcome mentally.
  • The sports industry is also male dominated. As women’s football is becoming more popular, more women are breaking into the industry.
  • In regards to her firm, Jessie underestimated the difficulty of building her practice and getting clients on board.
  • Jessie figured she would need to put herself out there to find clients.
  • This is when she started becoming more active on social media – to promote herself.

Jessie’s role as part of the Innovation Hub – strategy and knowledge department for FC Barcelona:

  • The Innovation Hub has layers, finding ways to improve the industry and sharing knowledge amongst the stakeholders.
  • The Hub wanted to share information with stakeholders, the world and the mainstream public.
  • The Hub collaborated with lots of start-ups, improving services like player performance, wearables and tracking devices.
  • These were used to gather knowledge and date to improve performance.
  • Jessie worked with data analytics, as well as sports nutritionists – gaining an understanding of the reality of the sports nutrition field in Europe.
  • Jessie worked with many clubs, sharing information and improving everyone’s best practice.
  • As part of her role, Jessie ran conferences to educate the next generation of professionals.

Jessie’s experiences working in Strategy and Innovation at UEFA:

  • At UEFA, Jessie set up the same department as at FC Barcelona.
  • Jessie had the opportunity to live in Switzerland.
  • She was able to go to the Champions League draw, being in the center of all the football activity.
  • For Jessie, it was a very enriching experience, learning more about the spots industry.
  • At FC Barcelona, Jessie saw things from a club level. At UEFA, Jessie experienced the perspective of a federal governing body.
  • Sports management now adds huge value to her work – because she understands the industry better and what is at stake.

Jessie founding Sensato Sports Law:

  • Sensato Sports Law in based in Barcelona.
  • The firm differentiates themselves by adding different value.
  • Sensato Sports Law has a broader understanding of the industry, being more innovative.
  • The firm try to communicate with clients in their own native language, trying to be more forward thinking and being available 24/7.
  • Sensato Sports Law has a very client centric approach and does not have billable hours.
  • The firm is built on 2 pillars – legal assistance and dispute resolution.

Memorable clients and cases:

  • Jessie is bound by client confidentiality – but has worked on lots of interesting cases.
  • She has worked on doping cases and handled transfers.
  • The firm is now focusing on NFTs, the metaverse and Web3, to stand out as an innovate young law firm.

How Jessie uses social media to build her practice, attract clients and educate others about sports law:

  • This is something Jessie is still figuring out.
  • In the beginning, she was only publishing cases the firm won and educating people.
  • Now Jessie shows more of her personal life, making people relate to her.
  • This builds a more trust-worthy relationship with clients.
  • Jessie will share different places she visits, games she attends and playing sport.
  • Right now, she is trying to keep her social media balanced – posting more, connecting with people and engaging with them.
  • Jessie’s main platform is LinkedIn – ‘every connection could be beneficial to you in one way or another’.
  • Jessie uses LinkedIn to tighten and deepen relationships with those in her network – publishing valuable content for others to interact with.

Lecturing the module on international sports law and governance:

  • Jessie does several guest lectures in different schools.
  • What Jessie enjoys the most is making herself relatable to students.
  • Jessie enjoys sharing her journey, learnings and experiences with others – because when she attended university, there was a strong focus on all the theory.
  • To make it in the real world, you need practice advice.
  • Jessie really enjoys sharing tips, tricks and best practices with students.

Jessie’s 2 online courses:

  • 1 course is called the sports career guide.
  • It is for anyone wanting to work or aspires to work in the sports industry, but needs practical insights and advice on different job prospects.
  • The other course is focused purely on sports law – how to become a sports lawyer.
  • Jessie shares her own journey, what she has learnt and what she done to get to where she is today.

Jessie’s top tips for those interested in a sports law career:

  • You need knowledge – consult free resources, like reading FIFA decisions online.
  • You need experience – you need to find a way to stand out amongst your network.
  • You need to build a network – be active on LinkedIn, share post, publish your own opinions, start a blog and attract people to connect with you.
  • Proactively reach out to mentors and connect with them.

5 powerful quotes from this episode:

  1. “And that in order for people to find you, you need to allow them to find you, and you need to promote yourself and your achievements and all of that”.
  2. “What I enjoyed the most in teaching is being able to share my journey, learnings and experiences and be as relatable as I can be to my students…”.
  3. “…you need to work on establishing yourself in 3 different areas… you definitely need knowledge… experience or relevant sports experience… you need a network”.
  4. “So for example, being active on LinkedIn, sharing posts, you know, publishing your own opinions, starting a blog, doing anything to attract people to connect with you or to want to connect with you”.
  5. “…there’s a lot of focus in school on all the theory and like, all of that is great. But in order to kind of go out there and make it in the real world, like you need some practical advice as well”.

If you wish to connect with Jessie, you may reach out to her on LinkedIn or Instagram.

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Transcript

00:08 Rob Hanna:

Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast.

00:11 Rob Hanna:

You are now listening to Season 6 of the show.

00:14 Rob Hanna:

I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I am absolutely delighted to be joined by the wonderful Jessie Engelhart. Jessie graduated from Tilburg Law School in 2016, continuing her legal education in Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. Then in 2019, she passed the Spanish Bar Exam. Jessie’s passion for sports and football led her to work for international law firms, FC Barcelona and the UEFA. In 2020, Jessie founded Sensato Sports, a boutique sports law firm, based in Barcelona. Jessie is also a mentor and lecturer at the International Business School Barcelona. So a very, very warm welcome, Jessie.

00:55 Jessie Engelhart:

Hi, Rob. Thank you so much for the intro.

00:57 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah. Hi.

00:58 Jessie Engelhart:

Hi, everyone that’s listening.

01:00 Rob Hanna:

It’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Before we dive into all your amazing projects and experiences to date, we do have a customary icebreaker question here on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real, what would you rate the hit TV series Suits in terms of its reality?

01:22 Jessie Engelhart:

In terms of its reality, I thought you were gonna say in terms of how much you enjoy the show, in terms of its reality? Well, it’s very far from my bed. I would say like, I don’t think that that’s what it’s like. I mean, first of all, it’s a specific discipline. But I would say like a 6, maybe, maybe like in New York, or some corporate law firms that actually works like that. But yeah, it’s not as common over here, I would say.

01:46 Rob Hanna:

Yeah. And okay, in terms of actually enjoying the show, what would you give it just out of curiosity?

01:51 Jessie Engelhart:

Like an 8 and a half, I guess, like I really, really like the show. I do feel like sometimes it’s a bit repetitive, like season after season, like and it’s quite complex for like non lawyers or law students I would say, but for me as a lawyer, like I aspire to Rachel Zane. Like I love the show, not to get married to a prince though. But like, yeah, I really like the show.

02:11 Rob Hanna:

Good stuff. And I aspire to be more like Harvey every day. So we can both try our best with that, but we must move swiftly on. So let’s start at the beginning Jessie, would you mind telling our listeners a bit about your background and journey?

02:23 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, definitely. Well, so basically, your, your introduction already summarized my, my background, but to tell you guys a bit more so yeah, so basically, I am Dutch, actually. And I went to law school in Holland. But I always knew that I wanted to live abroad and study abroad and, and do something other than work, you know, like a typical 9 to 5 office job. So I was kind of looking for like my, my path, I would say, because most people that go, go to law school, they have a very clear vision of okay, I want to be a specific type of lawyer, maybe like a criminal lawyer or work for like a, I don’t know, human rights or whatever. And didn’t really have that, like, I liked a little bit of every type of law, but I couldn’t just find 1 niche. So somehow, I ended up doing some internships abroad. And I did a Master’s degree in Legal Practice here in Spain, and Madrid in order to qualify and sit for the Spanish Bar Exam. And eventually, I kind of stumbled across sports law during 1 of my internships. And that’s when I really kind of first realized that it was possible to combine my passion for sports and my, my passion for law into a career basically. Did a Master’s degree in sports law after that, and that’s how I kind of entered the sports industry by working for, like you mentioned before FC Barcelona, UEFA. And after that, I basically, I, as I mentioned before, I always knew that I didn’t, didn’t want like a typical office job, and I really enjoy entrepreneurship. And I guess also because I was in touch with a lot of start-ups while working at Barcelona and UEFA since I worked for the Innovation Hub, I kind of, this kind of like an entrepreneurial spirit, like awoken me. And that’s when I decided to just go out, go out there and establish my own law firm together with 2 other business partners. And yeah, ever since we’ve been working on the law firm, I’ve been doing a lot of side, a lot of side projects, and it’s been really, really, really cool. It’s been challenging, but I’m very happy so far with the outcome.

04:23 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and you’re doing so many amazing things. And you know, what an inspiring story to lots of our listeners there and you touched on it but ummm I mentioned in the introduction as well, you did graduate from Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands and then in 2019, continuing your education in Madrid, then Rio and Barca. How did you find studying abroad and where did you enjoy studying the most?

04:47 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, so um, I really like I said before, I love travelling, I love studying abroad, living abroad, and I’ve been living in Spain for the past, I would say 5, maybe almost 6 years now I guess. Ummm, but it’s definitely challenging. Like, it wasn’t easy. First of all, because I was studying law and law in my native language, it’s already hard as most of you lawyers and law students can probably relate to, it’s already hard to study that in your own language, let alone in a foreign language. So I actually studied, for example, in, I did 6 months in Brazil. I did international law as part of my exchange program there in Portuguese, and I already spoke some Spanish before, so I thought, okay, I’ll be fine. And once I got there, I realized, okay, Portuguese law is very complex, like, I mean, law in Portuguese is very complex. But it was an amazing experience, like I absolutely loved it. I was in Rio de Janeiro for 6 months. And then the same thing happened in Spain, like I remember the first day entering class of the Masters in Legal Practice, which was in fully in Spanish, and I was the only foreign student, because that was a Masters I was required to sit for the Bar Exam, and to become a lawyer in Spain, basically. And I just had no clue what they were talking about, like they were mentioning words that I had 0 understanding of like, I did not understand what they were talking about. So it was, I was translating things at the same time, while trying to listen, I was trying to understand things, and even the Spanish students were having a hard time, you know, pass exams, and I had to do everything in a foreign language. So it was definitely challenging because of the language barrier and in general, because you’re like, I mean, you’re living like a whole new life, basically. And it’s also a meaning to have like your new social circle, and all of that. So it’s like a lot of energy. But it’s also rewarding. And, and, and once you actually pulled through and you managed to pass those exams, like you feel really good, and you feel really, like self-secured, I would say. So it was really, really enriching experience for me. And to answer your question, what was the most, the most fun one? I guess for me it was Brazil, and after that, now Spain, Barcelona, which I love.

06:49 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, absolutely. I love Brazil. I was there a few years ago, I’m a massive fan of Rio as well. And, yeah, just all around Lapa and Ipanema and all around there is such cool places and, and Barcelona is also a place I love going to holiday and visit. So, very jealous that you get to spend lots of time there. So I guess you’ve obviously gone on to, to establish your own firm, but you, you’ve also been very proactive prior to doing that. And it’d be great to tell our listeners a bit more about your journey. So, you know, you were a legal intern, I believe in, in Spain for a few months. But so as building up your CV, so to speak, can you explain the type of work you’re assigned to there and some of the things you got involved with?

07:34 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, definitely. Um, so I worked for 2 law firms before I worked for a Dutch law firm and for a German law firm, and I did a little bit of everything. I guess that’s what they make interns do. So I helped out with it, because they didn’t have, they didn’t have any specific focus area of law, they were just like an all around law firm. 1 of them I was, was working in Dutch, of course, which was great. So we were mostly helping Dutch clients basically deal with whatever legal assistance they needed here in Spain. And the other 1 was like a German law firm, but we were actually working in, in Spanish. And I touched on everything basically, like, civil law, some contract law, we did some I remember, some flight compensation claims like, they made us do, they made me do everything. But it was great for me, because it was great to realize, and that’s how I actually found sports law, because because they made me do everything. I also ended up working, for example, on a sponsorship agreement between an athlete and a sponsor back then that they were dealing with, which was not very common, because they didn’t have a lot of sports law cases, because they were not a specialized sports law firm. But still somehow the case, the case came to them. And that’s kind of when I first realized, okay, sports law is a thing because I had never heard about that back in law school. And yeah, so at my own firm. So that’s 1, that’s also why I realized that because I had worked at these firms that offer all these like a multidisciplinary firms basically, I really wanted to make sense out to be different. And I really wanted to focus only in sports law and really stand out in that area. Yeah, so that’s why basically now we offer legal, legal assistance and representation and dispute resolution services to athletes, coaches, to any stakeholder in the sports industry, basically.

09:21 Rob Hanna:

Yeah. Wow. And talking of assistance, you were a legal assistant at Bressers Law, and you drafted lawsuits and contracts in English, Spanish and Dutch. So did you find drafting documents in different languages challenging, and what skills did you learn whilst sort of doing that in the process?

09:41 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, I did find it challenging. I think I underestimated it a little bit in the beginning because I spoke like conversational Spanish. My English has always been, been, been okay, I would say and obviously Dutch is my native language. So I thought, okay, I’ll be fine, like, they came in, they’re like, oh, well, I’ll be fine, I’ll draft whatever you guys need. But the phrasing is different, like the grammar is important. Also, the type of language you’re using is very different from conversational language. So it was definitely challenging. And actually, it’s funny that nowadays, for example, because I work a lot in English, and sometimes in Spanish here, because that’s domestic clients here, it’s actually much harder now for me to draft in Dutch, which is crazy. And I always whenever people tell me, like, you know, when foreigners live abroad for a while, and then they’re like, oh, I’m having difficulties like speaking my native language, I was always like, oh God, how can you like, how can you say that? Like, it’s your native language? Like, I don’t believe you. I felt like they were like bragging, you know, but now I’m actually encountering the same issue. Like I actually have much more issues, drafting or even like writing proper, like, legal emails in Dutch. I’m like, finding myself like, okay, like, you know, I need a minute to like, phrase this properly. So, so yeah, I think that’s like the perks, but also the advantages and disadvantages of speaking multiple languages.

10:59 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, well, absolutely. Well, definitely highly talented, that’s for, that’s for sure. And so, we must talk about sports law, because obviously, you are a sports lawyer, and lots of people you know, I speak to, would would love to be a sports law. And you’ve talked a bit about your sort of where it stemmed from, but where did your true passion for sports stem from? What inspired you particularly to pursue a career in sports?

11:24 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, that’s a, that’s a great question. So I have always, like, I grew up in a very, very football oriented family, like they’re all massive, when I say football, I mean, soccer, well, whatever link, whatever word you guys want to use for it, family. So I’ve always, I’ve grown up watching that basically, every single day in the house. I was on different sports teams, I always, like being active. I was not like a particular, I was not particularly good at any specific sports, unfortunately. I couldn’t pursue a career as an athlete, even though now I’ve gotten into tennis. And I wish I pursued that before. But I guess it’s never too late for a new hobby. Say I always felt like it’s just such a fun environment. And it’s so different from anything else. And for example, 1 thing that actually made me really want to pursue it’s just like the enthusiasm of the fans and the passion and the fact that sports unites so many different cultures. And like, basically, people from different generations, different genders, different backgrounds, religions, whatever, like sports makes all those people come together. And I think that’s so beautiful. And I remember, for example, being in, in Brazil, and I was working as a volunteer at 1 of the favelas, and we had like a soccer project for, for girls to, to get more into sports and to basically just help the community a bit. And that’s when I first realized like the impact thats sport really has on, on individuals and on different societies and, and people from all different types of backgrounds and how powerful it is. And I thought, okay, if I could work in that, like, it’s so beautiful. And even though yeah, you may not be helping people in the same way as you would when you’re not, you know, you have someone on death row, and you’re fighting for criminal justice and stuff. But still, like, I feel like there is so much passion behind it. And being able to fight for these causes is also really beautiful. And it’s really fun. And it’s fun context. And like, I love going to the stadium and feeling a different atmosphere, especially now I’m traveling a lot and I’m going to a lot of different matches and games, like just being there and like witnessing the enthusiasm of all those people is, is beautiful, so, so yeah, I don’t know if that’s an answer to your question, but that’s basically my, my passion for sports.

13:46 Rob Hanna:

Absolutely. And you’re talking my language because I have a real passion for all sports, you know, rugby, football, cricket, you name it. I also like my tennis as well. So I’m glad that you’re getting into tennis, and I’m a very big Liverpool FC fan. And I’m hoping somehow we can do the quadruple this season, although the Premier League is slipping away from us a little bit. Yeah, Real Madrid isn’t going to be easy in the final. So we shall see. But I’d love to talk about some of the hurdles you faced as a sports lawyer and how you’ve overcome them. You’ve been quite honest in saying there has been some challenges. So you know, what have been some of those hurdles you’ve faced, and how have you overcome them?

14:24 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I feel like honesty is super important. And 1 of the main issues and that’s directly to, touching upon this question that you’re asking is, I think the impostor syndrome and I talk about this quite a lot and sorry for the people that are listening to multiple podcasts because I always touch upon this subject. But I think it’s important because 1 of the main hurdles, I would say is the fact that I felt like I wasn’t an expert enough or I wasn’t knowledgeable enough, or I wasn’t good enough to open my own practice and to work as a sports lawyer. Because I’m young, maybe because I’m a woman, maybe because I haven’t had 20 years of experience in law because I’m still young. So I felt like there was a massive hurdle that I had to overcome mentally myself. And that, like, if I had done that before, if I guess I would have, like my path would have been a bit different, but it’s fine, like, I’m still young. But yeah, definitely feeling like, you know, there’s other people out there that are more, that are, that are better at it. And like, why, why would people choose to work with me? So I think that’s the main, that’s, that’s 1 of the things I had to overcome, then also, obviously, being a woman in a rather male dominated industry. And of course, now women’s football is becoming more and more popular, and there’s more and more women working in the industry. But a few years back, it wasn’t really like that. And even nowadays, like the ratio is still very disproportionate. So that’s also something that I’m trying to kind of use to my advantage now by being like different because it makes me stand out, etc. But at the same time, like, it’s definitely not easy. And, and what else and also, for my, my law firm, like, in general, I think I kind of underestimated the difficulty of actually building the practice and getting clients on board. Because I think, I remember the first day we launched a website and stuff, I was like, okay, from now on, like, I guess the clients are just gonna come to us like every day, they’re gonna come knocking on our door, and like, we’re going to be, you know, I don’t have to do much, I don’t have to be proactive, they’re going to come to me, and it wasn’t like that, like, I remember the first day, I didn’t have anything, anything to do. And I was like, okay, should I have to put myself out there, be proactive and actually, like, go out there and find my clients. That’s actually also when I started being more active on social media, because I realized that because I wasn’t really a big fan of social media before. But now I’ve come to realize the power that it has to connect with people from all over the world, basically, and also to promote yourself and, and that’s also fine. And that’s also something that I had to learn that, you know, I was always very cautious as to, I didn’t want to promote myself too much or brag too much, or I just kind of wanted to undersell my myself, I guess, or downsize myself. And now lately, I’ve come to kind of, you know, realize that that’s not how it works. And that in order for people to find you, you need to allow them to find you, and you need to promote yourself and your achievements and all of that. So yeah, I would say those are kind of the hurdles that I’ve come across.

17:22 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and you make so many great points. And you’re absolutely right, because, you know, if you’re not visible in the modern world, you’re invisible. And, you know, we talk about this a lot on the show that, you know, I’m a big advocate of social media, particularly for the legal community. I bang on about the importance of LinkedIn, but also, you know, there is a huge legal community on Instagram and Tiktok. And, you know, these are the places where, you know, if you embrace it, and put yourself out there, you’ll win clients, you’ll build a brand, and it’s good for your business and good for your personal brand. So I’m really glad that you, you touched on that. And you do produce some really good high quality content as well. And in May of 2018, you did work part of the Innovation Hub and strategy and knowledge department for FC Barcelona. So can you explain what your role was? And what responsibilities you had there?

18:06 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So I worked for the for the Innovation Hub. And basically what the Innovation Hub did well, they had different layers, but they just kind of wanted to find ways I would say, to improve the industry as a whole and to come together and to share knowledge among all stakeholders, instead of like gatekeeping, and keeping all information to themselves, because obviously, these big clubs, they have a lot of, I will say not secrets, but like best practices that maybe are not shared with other experts and other clubs. And, and, you know, they kind of wanted to turn that around and share all information with all stakeholders, but also share information with, with the world, with mainstream, with the public. And so we did, we basically collaborated with a lot of start-ups, we organized start-ups basically to try and improve services, or, for example, player performance, you know, with like wearables and tracking devices, trying to gather more knowledge and more data in order to improve your performance. So we worked a lot with data analytics, but also with the sports nutritionist, for example, to try and, and, and go a bit deeper into that and gain more knowledge and gain more more under a bit better understanding of the reality of what the sports nutrition field in Europe was like. So we work with a lot of different clubs and try to kind of share all that information and improve everyone’s best practices. And at the same time, we also run different conferences, here in Barcelona and basically in order to, like I said, to share all that knowledge also with the mainstream public. And in order to kind of educate and share the information with the next generation of professionals.

19:50 Rob Hanna:

And it’s such meaningful work and I’m so pleased again that you shed some light on that, because I remember when we had David Jones, the Sky Sports presenter come onto the show, he was talking much in the same vein about you know, the way clubs are looking to try and improve the industry and push for change and best practice. And it’s great that you’ve given some examples there. I guess within Barcelona, 1 of the best teams in the world in terms of football, did you get the opportunity to watch plenty of matches?

20:17 Jessie Engelhart:

I did. Yeah, I went to the same as often as I could, especially living here. I mean, I’ve always gone to the stadium ever since, even when I lived in Holland, we, our family would travel to Barcelona sometimes to watch matches. So I’ve been there a lot of times, but definitely, while, while, while working there. It was an amazing experience for me also. It was kind of like living my, my dream because I was like a, you know, I’m a fan of FC Barcelona, I’ve always been. So for me to be able to work there and like, at the same time afterward, be able to go to matches sometimes was amazing.

20:48 Rob Hanna:

That’s great. I was worried you’re gonna say you’re a Real Madrid fan. So if you’re a Barcelona fan, that’s cool. That’s okay. We haven’t got any worries this year. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna avoid you in the final.

20:57 Rob Hanna:

Time for a quick break from the show. You wouldn’t leave a potential client waiting in your office for 3 days. But what about when it comes to returning potential clients, phone calls, emails, or even web inquiries. If you’re not responding rapidly to those who inquire about your firm’s services, you could be losing money, losing clients and affecting your law firm’s reputation. Thankfully, there’s a resource from our sponsor Clio that can help you, called how to grow your firm with legal client intake. It’s a free guide that will show exactly how and why you should be automating your client intake process. Download your free copy@clio dot com forward slash UK forward slash free intake guide. That’s clear, c l i o dot com forward slash UK forward slash free intake guide. Now back to the show.

21:50 Rob Hanna:

Okay, so we carry on sticking with football, you worked in Strategy and Innovation at UEFA as well, you know, what were your experiences like it working there?

22:00 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, so um, I was basically doing the same thing I was doing at Barca. But then at UEFA, so they kind of asked me to set up the same department or help them set up a system and setting up the same department as they had already in Barca because they were in close contact. That’s also how I got the job. And it was very, it was amazing for me like I mean, living in Switzerland, honestly, I have to say it was difficult, especially coming from, from Spain. But we’re being at the headquarters there, being able to go to the, for example, the Champions League draw being like in the, in the center center of all activities around football and all the tournaments taking place. And being like in the middle of everything was an amazing experience. And it was very enriching for me also to learn more about the sports industry, because before I had worked at Barca, but that was obviously seeing things from a club level and from their own perspective, and a club is much more commercial and revenue driven. And then going from a club level to a federal confederational level as UEFA, a governing body, obviously, their missions and their values are very different. So it was very enriching also for me, and I think all that knowledge now that I gather during those years working at Barca and UEFA are more like, I would say, the sports management side has a huge, adds huge value now to my work, because it makes me understand the industry better and stakeholders and what’s at stake more than just, you know, the legal code sort of saying.

23:25 Rob Hanna:

Yeah no, and it’s such valuable experience and that you, you built up into the sort of present day to in 2020, you did decide to combine your passion for sports law, innovation and entrepreneurship to be a founder of Sensato Sports Law, a boutique sports law firm, which I absolutely love, based in Barca. So can you tell us more about your firm? I know you’ve touched on it, but give us a bit more? And what types of matters you currently specialize in?

23:52 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, definitely. Um, so yeah, we’re based here in Barcelona. And 1 of the things that we’re trying to do because as I said before, like, obviously, we can compete with lawyers or law firms that have been in the industry for 20 years, because I was basically a kid back then, 20 years ago. So what we tried to kind of differentiate ourselves in, is in being adding different value. Like I said, first of all, the fact that we have a broader understanding of the industry, but also being a bit more innovative. And as I guess that’s because I worked in innovation for, for those years. Just doing things slightly different because innovation doesn’t necessarily have to be about technology, doesn’t necessarily mean we have to mean are you doing things completely different but just kind of trying to improve a small processes, I guess, is what we do. So we try to communicate for example, with our clients in their, in their own native language, if we can, we’re trying to be more forward thinking, we don’t do billable hours. We’re trying to always be like 24/7, available on WhatsApp, FaceTime, whatever it is, with our clients. And we’re trying to be have a very like client centric approach. So some of the services that we offer now is basically to um, 2 pillars, it’s legal assistance. So anything from drafting contracts, to advice on taxation, on, for example, on training, you’re not going to know these terms, maybe training compensation and solidarity payments, like basically the type of payments that clubs get, like financial rewards for having trained a player during their, during their youth. And then once they are transferred to another club in the future, those clubs still get paid. So again, we do, we do those type of things. Also like intellectual property and transfer assistance. So whenever players transferred from 1 club to another, there’s the agent, but then we are like a complimentary service to help them with the contract negotiations and taking care of all the legal aspects. And then on the other hand, we do dispute resolution. So whenever there’s a dispute between a player and a club, or a player and an agent, or an agent and then a club, or a player and a sponsor, and these disputes happen all the time, then we also offer dispute resolution services.

26:01 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, no, I can. I can imagine the disputes happening quite a lot of times, particularly when there’s egos involved as, as, as well. Yeah, absolutely. And so you mentioned there you support clients from both legal and business perspectives, and you’ve touched on some of the clients that you help. Have there been any memorable clients to date? Or things that you have stuck with you since you set up?

26:25 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, um, I mean, there’s been, we’ve dealt with so many cases already in the past. I’m not a big fan of like putting names out there, unless the players like sharing themselves on social media or whatever, just because I feel like it’s part of my like, confidentiality duty, I would say. But we’ve worked on a lot of interesting cases. For examples I’ve worked on some doping cases, which were very interesting, because I had never done that before. So obviously, getting into that was like a whole different ballgame. And now we’re really focusing also on the whole NFTs, metaverse, Web3 side of things, because we feel like if we want to stand out as an innovative young law firm, and that’s a space that we need to get into. So we’re gonna have, we have quite some interesting projects going on there as well. And besides that, yeah, I mean, we’ve had a lot of interesting cases, I just can’t think of anything now off the top of my head that I would say, okay, that was really interesting. I mean, everything for me in the beginning, the first time, the first few times I handle those cases, like even handling a transfer. You know, that was very memorable for me. So, so yeah, it’s all very fun.

27:30 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, absolutely. And I love that you touched on NFTs and Web3, because that’s something that I’m super passionate as well. I launched a Web3 consultancy called Virtual Insanitii this year, which is trying to bridge the gap between the mainstream and the metaverse and even our Legally Speaking Podcast, will be doing our first NFT drops soon for our community. And we’re hoping to get a creator coin attached to the show and lots of sort of Web3 focus, community focus things. So I think it’s super exciting times, and particularly speaking to people like you in the law who are taking your businesses into from a Web2 to a Web3 perspective and all the excitement with that ahead. And we touched on this previously, but the power of raising.

28:10 Jessie Engelhart:

Sorry for interrupting, but that’s really great. I didn’t know that.

28:14 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, no, it’s super exciting times. And I think we’re all still learners, you know, with this, and it’s so new and so exciting. And I remember joining 1 of your, your zoom webinars recently where we were talking about that, and it was a fascinating discussion, but I just wanted to ask because we touched on it a bit before around you know, social media and you are active and you’ve built up very large followings on the likes of Instagram, you know, 10s of 1000s of followers, you know, what would you say, you know, you, how do you use social media to build your practice, attract clients and educate others about sports law?

28:46 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, so that’s, that’s something I’m still trying to figure out, honestly, to be completely honest. In the beginning, I felt like I was going to use it 100% professionally, so I was literally only publishing about cases that we won or didn’t win or whatever. And educating people about, okay, this is the difference between an agent and a lawyer and stuff like that. But then I kind of realized that that’s, I guess, a bit too boring for Instagram, for example, that videos and different type of content, like also showing a bit more of your personal life that actually makes people relate to you more, and it shows them a different like, facet or aspect of your life. And I guess it kind of builds like a more trustworthy relationship with the client. So then I kind of switched into more like showing a little bit more of my private life, not too much, but like different places I’m visiting, games I’m going to, doing sports and whatever. And I found that to work really well. So right now I’m just trying to keep it like a bit balanced. And yeah, that’s, I mean, I don’t know I’ve just been trying to post a bit more, connecting with more people to actually engaging with some people. And besides Instagram, I would say because Instagram is great, but for me, my main, my main platform that I focused on I would say is LinkedIn actually, like I’m, I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn. I think there’s so much potential there, and especially because it’s, it’s a purely professional platform. Every connection could be beneficial to you in one way or another. And it’s just a matter of kind of trying to engage more with your connections, I think. And actually, recently, I launched this initiative of setting up like different time slots on Thursdays and Fridays, to connect with my connections. So I basically put like a Calendly link, and anyone that’s interested in chatting with me for like, 15 minutes or whatever they could like sign up, and like, I would ask them to elaborate a little bit on the purpose of the call. And then I would filter it out a little bit. But that has helped me so much already to like, you know, meet new people that I had before, I would have never spoken to because I have like, I don’t know, like 6 or 7000 connections on LinkedIn. But I probably know about 0.001% of all of them, you know. So it’s really about trying to like, tighten or deepen those relationships and publishing content that’s valuable for others so they start interacting with you. And then from there on, you kind of establish your own authority, I would say, and that eventually will lead to clients to find you.

31:08 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, I agree. And everyone who knows me on the show, LinkedIn is my, my home and 1 of my favorite platforms as well. And I completely echo what you’ve said there and you know, building those connections, and even you know, we’re a connection moving to a collaboration. I think collaborating with people in different forms be that podcasting, whatever it may be. And you know, LinkedIn is just giving so many people opportunities to become creators and community builders now. They’ve got newsletter features, they’ve got an audio feature, which actually, I’m working with LinkedIn on as their version of sort of LinkedIn Audio, they’re giving people LinkedIn lives, they’ve got creator mode, there’s so many features that the platform is now releasing. So definitely take heed on what Jessie’s saying, and you know how lawyers and modern lawyers are utilizing that to build community, build their brands, attract clients, collaborate, all important things as we move forward in this digital online world we live in. But Jessie, as you mentioned in the intro you keep busy. So you’re also a lecturer. And so can you tell us a bit more about that? And, you know, I believe you’re responsible for the module on international sports law and governance. So you know, what do you most enjoy about teaching?

32:14 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, so um, I mean, that’s not something that I like, had envisioned before, I guess, maybe also, because I felt like usually teachers or professors are like, older and with more like experience. But I think 1 of the things that, that these type of schools like about me, because I do several guest lectures in different schools as well, is the fact that I’m, I’m like, relatable. And that’s also what I enjoy most is the fact that I kind of tried to make the students relate to me as much as possible and see that, you know, you don’t have to be 6 years old to be working in this industry that, you know, by taking or making certain decisions, you can also develop your legal career. And so I enjoy sharing my journey and my learnings and my experience with others, because I feel like, and especially the things that I wish, I was taught myself in law school, or back in university or do my Master’s or whatever, like, especially also more the practical side of things, because I feel like, there’s a lot of focus in school on all the theory and like, all of that is great. But in order to kind of go out there and make it in the real world, like you need some practical advice as well. And so I always really enjoy sharing those, like tips and, and tricks and best practices and whatever with, with the students.

33:27 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. It’s great to have the theory, but you also need the practical and the reality, as well. And you’ve also created 2 online courses to share your knowledge and experience and industry insights. So can you tell us more about the courses?

33:41 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, definitely. Um, yeah, so basically, that, that kind of happened very naturally, as well. I just got so many, at some point, when I started posting more on LinkedIn, I got so many messages from so many students asking me for tips on getting into the industry, either of you know, in general, the sports industry, or in particular into sports law, again, because it’s something that is not really, there’s not much awareness about, a lot of people don’t even know what sports law is. And there’s most law schools don’t teach you anything about sports law or opportunity about becoming a sports lawyer. And so it’s quite difficult, like even if you Google like you know how to become a sports lawyer or how to work in sports, it’s not that straightforward. So I think people really like to speak to other people 1 on 1 and so in the beginning I started like messaging all the people back 1 on 1 and then copy pasting messages and they would ask me to get on a call to go into more detail and I just didn’t have the time but at the same time feel felt like I wanted to help them because I had been in their shoes myself, like I had been there messaging others asking them like, what is your day to day look like as a sports lawyer? What does sports law even mean? Like which areas of law does sports law touch upon? How to build a network in the industry? How to find clients and all of that? So I felt like okay, how can I scale my, my learnings and share those with others basically on a bigger scale? And so that’s when I came across online courses. So yeah, I have 1 course that is called the sports career guide, which is basically an online course, for anyone that wants to work or aspires to work in the sports industry, but needs like practical insights and advice on the different job prospects that you have working in sports, because I think there’s a lot of people that don’t even know like the different options you have, how to get there, how to build your personal brand, how to network, how to, you know, how to stand out in job interviews, and all of that. And then the other 1 is focused purely on sports law, which is basically like a course on how to become a sports lawyer. So I share my own journey. Everything that I learned, everything I did to get to where I am today, and everything I wish I had known before. And again, this 1 is also, like it has some theory, it has like I speak about the most important sports regulations, and FIFA and all of that, but it also has, like 50% focuses on the more practical side of things. And all the things that I mentioned before about how to actually get into it, because like you said, knowledge is great, but something more is required. And also a lot of different soft skills are required, such as networking, which is again, something they don’t teach you in school. And it’s certainly undervalued by many. So, so yeah, that’s how those courses came, came about. And so far, I’ve had very positive feedback, so that’s great.

36:16 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, absolutely. And I would strongly encourage people, if you are thinking about this, to check out those courses. And I guess just before we sort of wrap up, you know, what would be ,you mentioned, it’s hard to Google, you know, how to become a sports lawyer. And, you know, there’ll be a lot contained in those courses that you’ve mentioned, but you know, what would be some of your top tips for people, you know, maybe aiming to be a sports lawyer, or maybe looking to transition in sports law.

36:39 Rob Hanna:

What would be some of like your top 3 tips?

36:43 Jessie Engelhart:

Yeah, so I always say that become a sports lawyer, you basically need like a perfect cocktail, or not a perfect cocktail, but you need to work on establishing yourself in 3 different areas. So you definitely need knowledge. So that means you know, you can consult free resources, like for example, you can actually read like FIFA decisions online, to get a better understanding of what a FIFA decision looks like, then you need experience or relevant sports experience, which is, it’s difficult to find, because a lot of sports law firms, they may not be hiring, and there’s not that many of them. But that’s why you need to find, find a way to stand out, at least you need a network. So you need to somehow and you can start from scratch because I had 0 connections like mine, none of my family members work in sports, I didn’t know anyone that worked in sport, I had 0 advantages or whatever. And somehow I managed to build a network. And I’m still building it. And that’s what people need to start doing as well. So for example, being active on LinkedIn, sharing posts, you know, publishing your own opinions, starting a blog, doing anything to attract people to connect with you or to want to connect with you. And then proactively reach out to mentors and connect with those. So yeah, I would say, like a combination of knowledge, experience and network.

37:55 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, really sound advice. And you’re absolutely right, because as cliché as it sounds, you know, your network is your net worth. So the more that you invest in that, and building out those network, more opportunities that will come your way. And Jessie, if our listeners which I’m sure they will, will so certainly been inspired following our conversation today, or they want to know more about sports law or your firm, what’s the best way for them to contact you, feel free to shout out any social media handles or website links, and we’ll also share them with this episode for you too.

38:24 Jessie Engelhart:

Perfect. Yeah, so I love connecting with aspiring sports lawyers, like I absolutely love it. So please do reach out to me. I’m on Instagram, LinkedIn, and I have my own website. And it’s basically my full name. So as Jessie Engelhart dot com. That’s my website. You can contact me through there, you can check out my course through there and my law, practice all of that. And then on LinkedIn on Instagram, I’m the same so it’s just Jessie Engelhart. Angle, not L E, but E L. We can, we can share the links. And yeah, I look forward to connecting with you guys.

38:55 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, absolutely, Jessie. And it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show. So on behalf of all of us from the Legally Speaking Podcast, like to wish you lots of continued success with your career, your firm and future pursuits, but for now, from all of us over and out.

39:13 Rob Hanna:

Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you liked the content here, why not check out our world leading content and collaboration hub, the Legally Speaking Club over on Discord goes to our website www dot Legally Speaking Podcast dot com for the link to join our community there. Over and out.

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