The Center for Sports Law & Policy (CSLP) from Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) recently sent five of its Sports Law Fellows (CSLP Fellows) (Rachel Travis, Shana Avery, John Young, Peter Tobiasson, and Ryan Carlson) to tour one of the most recognized golf companies in the world, and to had a face to face with the company’s associate general counsel (AGC), Sierra Brandis.
When golfers hear the name TaylorMade, they immediately think gigantic, white driver heads that boost distance by 15 yards, and exclusive irons that are worth every penny. To the non-golfer, however, TaylorMade Golf is just a name. So what is TaylorMade Golf, and why did the CSLP take a trip to their headquarters?
Located just 25 minutes from TJSL, in Carlsbad, California, this successful company has been one of the leading pioneers in the golf equipment industry since 1979. From golf clubs and golf balls, to shoes and apparel, if you need it on the golf course, TaylorMade probably makes it.
Since its release of the “TaylorMade One,” a golf club that revolutionized the metal-wood category as golfers know it today, TaylorMade Golf boasts several respectable achievements, including: multiple years of revenue of $1 billion+, a brief period of 50%+ market share for drivers, and mutually beneficial sponsorship agreements with some of the biggest names in golf (Ernie Els and Dustin Johnson, to name a few). The company also joined forces with Adidas in 1997, and is now entirely responsible for Adidas’ research and development of golf footwear and apparel.
By now you are probably asking what all of this has to do with becoming a legal professional. You are also probably thinking that this was more of a field trip than anything else. Well, to an extent you are right. However, after the five CSLP Fellows and CSLP Director Jeremy Evans '11 toured the TaylorMade offices, research and development lab, factory, stock rooms, company store, and, perhaps most notably, their testing facility (aptly named “The Kingdom”), they had the chance to sit down with TaylorMade AGC Sierra Brandis.
Ms. Brandis is one of a small team of attorneys with TaylorMade Golf’s in-house counsel group. She keeps busy with, among other things, product safety issues, copyright disputes, and contracts for their endorsement agreements. In the hour-or-so that she met with CSLP Fellows, Ms. Brandis shared invaluable information about what serving in-house for a large corporation involves.
Experiences like these create the foundation upon with the CSLP was founded, and are the essence of what the Center will provide for years to come.
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