Feature Stories Campus Events

Character Counts Austin Brown '13L shares the real secret to success as a player-agent with Creative Artists Agency.

775124533_Sat_Port0368-400x600 Character CountsAustin Brown ’13L with client and 2018 Slam Dunk Contest Winner, Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz).   (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jerry McGuire could learn a thing or two from Austin Brown ‘13L.

The slick-talking and opportunistic sports agent played by Tom Cruise is defined by the iconic line “Show me the money!” But for Brown, who is one of the most successful, young NBA agents at the industry-leading Creative Artists Agency (CAA), it is more about “Show me the character!” He has learned a little secret Hollywood doesn’t let you in on—as he puts it: “Money and talent fade, character doesn’t. I only work with people I respect.”

It sounds like a fairly simple rule, but it seems to have served Brown well. It’s not everyday that you’re listed among Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30: The Sports World’s Brightest Young Stars” or sign three top-40 NBA draft picks all less than a year after graduating law school—but that’s exactly what Brown has done.

Brown is no stranger to the limelight. Prior to law school, he was a first team all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Selection and even made a memorable national television appearance on ESPN2 after draining an impressive 61-foot, game-winning shot that carried his team from DePauw University to the NCAA tournament. Even at that early stage in his sporting career, Brown displayed remarkable humility, stressing to the news anchor that DePauw’s big win was a team effort.

It’s a mindset he still adheres to—and is undoubtedly one of the secrets to his quick rise as a player-agent: “I love the game of basketball…I get immense satisfaction from helping extremely talented individuals realize their dreams in the sport.”

Despite all the success, Brown will be the first to tell you that the life of an NBA agent is not all glitz and glam. Behind the scenes there are hundred-page contracts to review, sponsorship deals to be negotiated, and travel plans to be coordinated. “This definitely isn’t your typical 9-5,” says Brown. But for him, the fact that no two days are exactly alike is a positive aspect of the job: “It keeps things interesting and allows me to constantly add to and sharpen my skill set both as an agent and an attorney.”

Brown’s decision to attend Washington and Lee for law school all came down to its uniquely close-knit academic environment that sets it apart from other top-tier law schools. Having excelled as an undergraduate at a small liberal arts college, he was immediately drawn to W&L’s community, which offered him the opportunity to interact closely with his professors and classmates.

He credits his W&L experience with helping him sharpen the skills he now uses on a daily basis: “Being an agent is all about relationships. Players have ups and downs in their careers. It’s easy to be there for them when they win the MVP, but it says a whole lot more about you as an agent, and as a professional, when you’re there for them during the low points—injuries, scoring droughts, personal issues.”

In an industry dominated by over-inflated egos, exorbitant salaries and cutthroat competition, Brown is a refreshing reminder that modesty, integrity and adherence to core values are the true building blocks of lasting success.

Related //

W&L Law Review’s Annual Symposium to Explore Immigration-Related Executive Orders The 2017-2018 Lara D. Gass Symposium will feature a diverse collection of leading scholars and experts on immigration law to discuss emergent legal issues regarding the implementation of the Trump Administration’s policies.

immigration2-800x432 W&L Law Review’s Annual Symposium to Explore Immigration-Related Executive OrdersThe Annual Law Review Symposium is Friday, Feb. 2

The Washington and Lee Law Review’s annual Lara D. Gass Symposium at the Washington and Lee University School of Law will highlight contemporary issues in immigration law and policy in light of the latest series of Executive Orders issued by President Trump.

The event is scheduled for Feb. 2 in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The symposium proceedings are free and open to the public.

“Over the last year, we have witnessed substantial changes in our immigration policies and the exercise of the government’s immigration authority,” said David Baluarte, Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, who helped coordinate this year’s symposium. Professor Baluarte noted that “the Executive Orders provide a great framework for examining emergent legal issues related to our shifting immigration policy, which is why I proposed this theme for the symposium.”

The Symposium will feature three panels—composed of individuals whom Baluarte referred to as “the nation’s foremost legal scholars on immigration law”—to engage and explore the plethora of legal implications raised by President Trump’s three immigration-focused Executive Orders (“EO”): “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” (EO 13767), “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” (EO 13768), and “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (EO 13769/13780).

Each panel will convene notable scholars who have dedicated substantial research to one or more of the aforementioned EOs in order to provoke a collaborative analysis of the challenges faced by the current administration in enforcing the policies delineated by the President. The issues to be addressed by the Symposium are particularly relevant in today’s contested political landscape, and they are set to grow in imminence as the administration’s enforcement of its immigration policies encounters resistance from a wide array of interest groups expected to file legal challenges on the local, national, and international levels.

The attendees for this year’s Symposium include:

  • Sahar Aziz (Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School)
  • Lenni Benson (Professor of Law, New York Law School)
  • Ming Hsu Chen (Associate Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School)
  • Nora Demleitner (Roy L. Steinheimer, Jr. Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law)
  • Ingrid Eagly (Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law)
  • César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (Associate Professor of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law)
  • Daniel Kanstroom (Professor of Law, Boston College Law School)
  • Stephen Lee (Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law)
  • Peter Margulies (Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law)
  • David Martin (Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law Emeritus, University of Virginia School of Law)
  • Huyen Pham (Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law)
  • Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (Clinical Professor of Law, Penn State Law)

A full schedule is available online. For questions regarding the event, contact Spencer T. Wiles ‘18L at wiles.s@law.wlu.edu.

The Lara D. Gass Symposium is named in honor of Lara Gass, a member of the Law Class of 2014 who passed away in an automobile accident in March of 2014. Gass served as Symposium Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, organizing the Law Review’s 2014 symposium focused on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Lara was active within the Women Law Students Organization and also served as a Kirgis Fellow, the law school’s peer mentoring group, during the 2012–2103 academic year. In January 2014, Lara received recognition for her academic achievements, her leadership abilities, her service to the law school and university community, and her character when she was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society.

Organized and hosted by the W&L Law Review, this event is sponsored by the Dean’s Office, Washington and Lee University School of Law; the Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University School of Law; the Class of ’63 Scholars in Residence, Washington and Lee University; the Class of 1960 Institute for Honor, Washington and Lee University; and the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, Washington and Lee University.