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Jan 31, 2012

Leron E. Rogers

Transitioning from athlete to businessman, Leron E. Rogers - partner with law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP - makes counseling celebrities, athletes, entrepreneurs, and businesses in times of crisis look easy. As a firm believer that “everything happens for a reason,” he capitalized on every challenge and opportunity that came his way, wisely heading his father's advice.

Here’s an introduction to the Milwaukee native.

HOW YOU BROKE IN TO THE BUSINESS: I was an athlete drafted out of high school by the Atlanta Braves, and I decided to forego the immediate opportunity to attend college on a baseball scholarship. After sustaining a shoulder injury during my junior year, I started to focus on my finance degree. In law school I was the president of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society and would invite sports agents who came to campus to recruit athletes to stop by the law school and speak to our students. In my second year of law school I convinced an established sports agent to allow me to work with him, and I ended up signing the 33rd pick in the NFL draft as my first client. Upon graduation from law school, I worked for a large litigation law firm representing businesses, municipalities, and, of course, my athletes. After a couple of years, I joined another firm that had more of an entertainment practice and started to develop relationships with those in the entertainment industry as well as expand my representation of businesses.

CLAIM TO FAME: In addition to my representation of athletes early in my career, the first case I had that received national media coverage was about 10 years ago. I represented James Brown’s daughters in their lawsuit against their father for royalties derived from copyrights he transferred to them; however, Mr. Brown had cashed their checks for several years. We could not resolve the case short of litigation, but we eventually were able to resolve the case and allow that family to repair their relationship.

REFLECTIONS: Hometown: Milwaukee. * First job: My first job after undergrad was as a financial analyst. Most attorneys have no idea how to read financial statements or understand the cash flow of a business. I have a distinct advantage because I understand corporate financing and can better “follow the money.” * Advice he would have given himself 10 years ago: Never underestimate the impact each of us has on another person’s life. I am fortunate to have had mentors and other guiding lights who had a great influence on my professional life. In my efforts to pay it forward, I offer the young professionals that I mentor honest guidance and feedback to assist them in their lives. * Most valuable business lesson learned: Protect your reputation, because it precedes you. * Words he lives by: Have a plan, work the plan…have a backup plan. I learned that from my dad. He probably thought I was not listening all those times he repeated this simple phrase, but I am proof that your kids really are listening even if it does not seem like they are.

DIVERSIONS: Reading now: Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson. * Reading next: Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success by Keith Ferrazzi. * Last fun purchase: I pre-ordered the Kindle Fire from Amazon and was like a kid waiting for its arrival.

PLAYING FAVORITES: Hotel: Hidden Hotel in Paris. It is a cool boutique hotel convenient to great restaurants and not far from my favorite nightspot, the legendary jazz club Le Duc des Lombards. * Getaway: Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia. There is no better place to unplug for a couple of days and recharge my batteries. * Entrée: Bone-in ribeye at STK * Drink: Water during the day. Hanger One Vodka with a splash of tonic, socially. * Guilty pleasure: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (4-pack, of course).


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