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Jaguars, AEW Elevate Lawyer After Sharks Snag General Counsel

July 30, 2021, 4:41 PM

With training camps underway in the National Football League, the Jacksonville Jaguars have reshuffled their in-house legal team after a raid from another sport.

The Jaguars and All Elite Wrestling promoted Lauren Strackbine to general counsel in July. Both entities are owned by the billionaire Shahid Khan, who made his fortune in the auto parts business.

Strackbine, who joined the Jaguars as an associate general counsel in 2016 after working in-house at AMN Healthcare Services Inc., took on the new role after predecessor Cassie McBride was hired as an executive vice president and general counsel for the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks.

McBride joined the Sharks in a move brokered by executive recruiting firm Search Solution Group, which disclosed her new role in a July 27 statement. The NHL team retained Search Solution in March to find a new legal chief for the Sharks, which last year parted ways with their co-president and former general counsel John Tortora.

The Sharks, known for their unique color scheme, are owned by German billionaire Hasso Plattner, co-founder of software company SAP SE. The Sharks employ counsel Andrew Koehler, hired by the team in 2016 by former counsel Maggy Carlyle, who last year became general counsel for the Pac-12 Conference.

In a recent LinkedIn post, McBride said she was excited to join an “amazing group at Team Teal!” She is now the NHL team’s top lawyer, overseeing all legal matters related to the Sharks and Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment LLC, a privately held entity that owns the club and several sports-related properties in the Bay Area, including the 18,000-seat SAP Center in San Jose.

McBride and Strackbine didn’t respond to requests for comment about their new roles, nor did a Jaguars spokeswoman. Both lawyers are graduates of the California Western College of Law in San Diego.

Khan’s Legal Brigade

Prior to being hired by the Jaguars in 2014, McBride was an associate counsel for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and worked in legal affairs and risk management for Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels, now looking for a new top lawyer.

In 2016, the Jaguars promoted McBride to general counsel, making her one of the youngest team lawyers to hold that role in the NFL. McBride took responsibility for the franchise’s day-to-day legal operations and oversaw transactions, risk management, and compliance for the club and its affiliates.

McBride also played a key role advising on the formation of a London-based arm for the Jaguars, who for the past decade have played one game each year in the city as part of a plan to expand the NFL’s international footprint. Khan, the Jaguars’ owner, made an ultimately unsuccessful bid to buy London’s Wembley Stadium in 2018.

In 2019, McBride took on the additional role of general counsel for AEW, a wrestling startup formed by Khan and his son Tony Khan to challenge Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. McBride and Strackbine, the new general counsel, worked closely with Megha Parekh, chief legal officer for the Jaguars and AEW.

Parekh was publicly praised last year by Amanda Huber, the widow of Jonathan Huber, a professional wrestler for AEW known as Brodie Lee who died Dec. 26 after being hospitalized for two months with a lung problem. Huber said Parekh helped her late husband receive treatment from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

In June, the Jaguars announced Parekh’s promotion to executive vice president for the Khan family’s portfolio of sports, entertainment, and development companies. Parekh, a former associate at Proskauer Rose in New York, didn’t respond to a request for comment. She joined the Jaguars in early 2013, a little over a year after Proskauer advised Khan on his $760 million purchase of the NFL team.

Parekh, McBride, and Strackbine aren’t the only lawyers working in Khan’s sports business empire, which includes the English soccer team Fulham in London. The Jaguars’ website shows the club recently hired development projects counsel Christopher Peck, a former managing attorney at McMichael Taylor Gray.

Alan “Trip” MacCracken III, a former lawyer for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs who most recently worked in the startup XFL, joined the Jaguars earlier this year as director of roster management. Jessica Jones, a former paralegal at Florida’s Broad and Cassel, now part of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, has spent the past decade as vice president of people and culture for the Jaguars.

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

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

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