Bloomberg Law
Aug. 30, 2022, 6:41 PM

NFL’s Chargers, Raiders, Broncos Hire Lawyers Ahead of Season

Brian Baxter
Brian Baxter
Reporter

The Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders, who battle each other in the same National Football League division, have bolstered their legal ranks with the 2022 season set to begin next week.

The Chargers hired Deborah Dixon, a founding partner of San Diego’s Dixon Diab & Chambers, as general counsel, according to Fred Maas, chief of staff and chief legal counsel to A.G. Spanos, the team’s president and son of its owner Dean Spanos.

Dixon succeeds Nicole King, a former DLA Piper associate who left in late 2020. Dixon also had been a managing partner of complex litigation at Gomez Trial Attorneys, one of San Diego’s largest trial and personal injury firms.

Her new job “requires management and oversight over fast-moving and multifaceted subject matters,” she said in an email. Maas was looking for lawyers with litigation experience, Dixon added. She started in April.

The Chargers relocated to Los Angeles from San Diego in 2017. A friend of the court brief filed by the city of Oakland, Calif., earlier this year mentioned that move.

Oakland is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the dismissal of a lawsuit against the Raiders over the team’s relocation to Las Vegas in 2020. The high court has yet to rule on that petition.

Broncos Hire

The Broncos have brought on Hogan Lovells corporate partner Timothy Aragon to succeed the team’s longtime general counsel Richard Slivka.

Aragon is a prominent Hispanic lawyer in Denver who was managing partner of Hogan Lovells’ office in the Mile-High City, the Broncos said in an Aug. 12 statement.

NFL team owners this month unanimously approved the club’s sale to a new ownership group led by billionaire S. Robson Walton, a lawyer and son of late Walmart Inc. founder Sam Walton.

The group paid $5 billion to buy the Broncos from a trust for late owner Pat Bowlen in the largest team sale in North American sports.

Hogan Lovells and Aragon advised the new ownership group, which includes former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, and Walmart chairman Gregory Penner.

Aragon referred a request for comment to the team, which didn’t respond.

Slivka, a former tax lawyer at the Justice Department who spent more than two decades in private practice prior to joining the Broncos in 2000, was part of a trust that assumed control of the Broncos upon Bowlen’s death in 2019. Bowlen ceded control of the team in 2014 after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

An estate battle pitting Bowlen’s two oldest children against trustees ensnared Slivka, who had been the former Broncos owner’s personal lawyer while a name partner at Denver’s Slivka Robinson Waters & O’Dorisio.

That dispute, and a separate matter involving another former Broncos owner with a claim against Bowlen’s trust, was ultimately resolved out of court.

Reilly LLP, a Denver-based litigation boutique absorbed last year into Fennemore Craig, a fast-growing regional firm, represented the Bowlen trust in the litigation.

Proskauer Rose advised the trust on the sale of the Broncos to Walton’s group.

The Broncos have a new quarterback this year in Russell Wilson, the nephew of former Beveridge & Diamond chairman Benjamin Wilson, who retired in January.

Raider Nation

Former Covington & Burling of counsel Sandra Douglass Morgan is the Raiders’ new president, the team announced in July.

Morgan, the first Black woman to hold a club president position in the NFL, is a Las Vegas native who since late 2021 had worked in the litigation group at Covington.

Morgan takes over a role once held by Daniel Ventrelle, a former general counsel for the Raiders who was promoted last year to interim president of the team.

The Raiders fired Ventrelle in May after 18 years with the team in retaliation for his decision to tell the NFL about a hostile work environment under owner Mark Davis, Ventrelle told the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Morgan hasn’t wasted time in making changes at the Raiders. The team parted ways with general counsel Kevin Manara, a former labor relations and policy lawyer with the NFL who the Raiders hired last year.

The Raiders currently employ associate counsel Zahir Rahman and Francisco “Lucas” Paule, according to the team’s website.

Rahman, a former Covington associate, joined the team in 2020. Paule was hired in February after serving as a production attorney for business and legal affairs at television company Tinopolis Ltd.

Morgan, the first person of color to chair the Nevada Gaming Control Board, is married to ex-NFL player Don Morgan. She didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Raiders have looked before to a lawyer to lead their operations. Amy Trask, a former general counsel for the club, became the first female team president in NFL history when late owner Al Davis promoted her to chief executive officer in 1997.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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