On Friday, Sept. 6, Richard T. “Rick” Davis spoke to members of the Mississippi Sports Law Society and other law students in the Robert Weems Auditorium at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Currently at the Birmingham office of the firm of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, Davis has had a distinguished career representing college and professional coaches. His clients include former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, former Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey and former Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom. Coach Croom and Davis were teammates at the University of Alabama, where they won four SEC championships and one national championship under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
In addition to telling a number of interesting stories about his experiences, Mr. Davis shared several important lessons with the students. First, he emphasized the importance of attention to detail, particularly in reference to negotiating and drafting coaches’ contracts. In addition, he discussed the importance of developing relationships, both as an avenue to develop a sports law practice, and as a way to establish a successful law practice. Finally, Mr. Davis stressed the importance of professional ethics in law practice, even when it would have negative effects on one’s practice. Sharing from his personal experience, he indicated that integrity, particularly in avoiding conflicts of interest, was paramount and crucial to a successful law practice.
The student leaders of the Mississippi Sports Law Society deserve much credit for putting on an outstanding event to begin the fall. This year’s president is McCauley Williams, and the members of the executive board are Jamie Fussell, Ashley Hudson and Sally Cook.