Stinson LLPStinson LLP’s Aalok Sharma serves clients in the growing field of digital sports and entertainment law, which includes esports, sports technology, wagering and fantasy sports.
Regulatory uncertainty in the novel industry continues to rise, leaving little authoritative information that can assist attorneys in addressing complex needs. Sharma said the situation often leaves attorneys “to engage with the product on their own time” to understand the potential legal risks.
For Sharma, that didn’t matter because, as a self-identified “nerd,” he has long interacted with video games, fantasy sports and other cutting-edge technologies. He said this makes him uniquely qualified to recognize “the potential and actual legal challenges” within the sports and entertainment industries. The expertise has led to Sharma providing legal counsel on new concepts, including the Metaverse, Web3 and NFTs or non-fungible tokens.
About a quarter of his day-to-day work involves sports-related matters, which includes assisting traditional “stick and ball” sports clients. Most of his legal work, though, remains conventional, and includes litigating high-stake matters in federal and state courts across the country. One of Sharma’s most notable cases involved obtaining a dismissal for a client involving an alleged cheating scandal by the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros.
The former Division 1 long-distance runner and certified public accountant appreciates that sports go beyond the arena. He serves his community by staying active in professional organizations, including leadership roles in the American Bar Association and the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club Community Fund.
Sharma chairs Stinson’s Esports, Sports Technology & Wagering practice group and leads the firm’s At the Corners newsletter — a quarterly publication that discusses relevant topics in the sports marketplace.
The son of Indian immigrants who grew up in Alabama, Sharma holds a University of Minnesota law degree, but stands with the Crimson Tide. “If you come to my office, you’ll see all the Crimson Tide gear in here and that will probably make your ears a little red,” he said.
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