Bloomberg Law
March 24, 2023, 5:08 PM

Ex-Goldman Lawyer Is Major League Pickleball’s General Counsel

Brian Baxter
Brian Baxter

Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Robinhood Markets Inc. in-house lawyer Janet Broeckel has gone to work for Major League Pickleball, a league seeking to capitalize on the sport’s growing popularity.

Broeckel in her new general counsel position reunites with Brian Levine, a former Goldman banker and senior pickleball player who became the league’s interim chief executive in December.

Pickleball is a two-on-two paddle sport that’s been likened to a hybrid of badminton, Ping Pong, and tennis. The sport’s roots reportedly began in the Pacific Northwest, where former Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.), who worked at K&L Gates, had pickleball courts built at his homes in the Seattle area.

The new league has structured its season into several events, such as one taking place this weekend in Daytona Beach, Fla. The league also aims to play some exhibition matches this summer at Wollman Rink in New York City’s Central Park, which is installing 14 pickleball courts.

The league confirmed Broeckel’s hire but declined to comment further. Broeckel, a resident of Southampton, NY, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Broeckel began her career at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before going on to work as an associate at Dechert in Washington. She then joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, where she made partner in New York.

Goldman hired her in 2005 and she went on to become a managing director and associate general counsel for litigation and regulatory at the banking giant.

Broeckel left Goldman in late 2020 to join Robinhood as head of litigation, regulatory proceedings, and investigations. Broeckel exited that job after three months, according to her LinkedIn profile.

The number of people in the US playing pickleball doubled last year to nearly 9 million, Sportico reported this month.

High-profile investors, from basketball star LeBron James to other celebrities like Heidi Klum, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps, and Tom Brady, have formed ownership groups buying stakes in the league’s 24 teams.

In November, Major League Pickleball agreed to merge with the Professional Pickleball Association’s VIBE league, an outfit backed by billionaire Mark Cuban.

The league faces competition from other circuits, such as the National Pickleball League and the Association of Pickleball Professionals, which in January announced a broadcast deal with ESPN for eight tournaments this year.

The APP hired the league’s former commissioner Jennifer Klitch last September to be its head of pro player relations and competition. Klitch, a former professional tennis player, is also a former Jones Day lawyer who previously served as chief legal officer for the Octagon sports agency.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at; John Hughes at

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