Jeffrey Kessler is chairman of the firm's Global Litigation Department, co-chairman of the Sports Litigation Practice Group, and a member of its Executive and Leadership Committees. He has extensive experience in all aspects of antitrust law, sports law, intellectual property and other complex litigation. He has been lead counsel in some of the most complex antitrust, sports law and IP law cases in the country, including major jury trials, and has represented a number of US and international companies in criminal and civil investigations in the antitrust and trade areas.
He successfully defended Matsushita and JVC against claims of a worldwide conspiracy in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Zenith v. Matsushita and is regarded as a leading commentator on international antitrust law. He has also been the lead counsel in numerous intellectual property cases involving frontier issues of IP law.
Mr. Kessler is also one of the most prominent lawyers in the country regularly engaged in high-profile sports litigation. He has litigated some of the most famous sports-antitrust cases in history, including McNeil v. the NFL, the landmark antitrust jury trial which led to the establishment of free agency in the National Football League (NFL). Some of Mr. Kessler's clients in the sports law area have included the National Football League Players Association, the National Basketball Players Association, the Arena Football League Players Association, the National Hockey League Players Association, the Major League Baseball Players Association, the National Invitation Tournament, CAA Sports, Wasserman Media Group, SCP Worldwide, the NFL Coaches Association, Players, Inc., the Women's Tennis Benefit Association and Adidas. Mr. Kessler has also represented various classes of NBA, NFL, AFL and MLS players, the North American Soccer League, the United States Football League, and the Cities of San Diego and Oakland, as well as Alameda County, in various sports law disputes. Mr. Kessler negotiated the current free agency/salary cap systems in the NFL, NBA and AFL and successfully represented Latrell Sprewell in his controversial suspension arbitration.
Mr. Kessler is a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School where he teaches a course on complex litigation. He has written and lectured extensively on a wide variety of antitrust, sports law and related topics. Most recently, Mr. Kessler published a new edition of International Trade and U.S. Antitrust Law, a leading treatise on antitrust and trade law issues in a global economy. He also was Co-Editor-in-Chief of State Antitrust Practice and Statutes. He was a member of the Council and was formerly Co-chairman of the Publications Committee and Chairman of the International Antitrust Law Committee, of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association (ABA). He was also a member of the ABA's NAFTA Tri-National Committee and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. He was a founding member of the Board of Advisors of the Georgetown University Study of Private Antitrust Litigation.
Mr. Kessler has been recognized by numerous publications, including Chambers USA - America's Leading Lawyers for Business and Best Lawyers in America. He is recognized by Guide to the World's Leading Antitrust Lawyers and Who's Who of Competition Lawyers and has been included in Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition 2009, The Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America 2005, 2006 and 2008-2011 and Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America 2006. Mr. Kessler is named in the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America and as a New York Super Lawyer in 2006-2011. He has been named as one of The 50 Most Influential People in the Sports Business by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. Mr. Kessler has also been named a National General Commercial Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation.
Columbia Law School, 1977, J.D.
Kent Scholar, Board of Editors, Columbia Law Review