Choosing the right law school after undergrad can seem like a daunting task. However, it was an easy decision for University of Maryland graduate, Gary Leibowitz, B.S. ’93, to pick the University of Miami School of Law to complete his J.D., cum laude, in 1996.
Finding His Path
“I’ve always loved sports and knew I was interested in business initially. I liked how arenas and professional sports teams marketed to sports fans like myself, so I knew I wanted to work at the intersection of business and sports.”
Leibowitz knew he always had a passion for sports, business, and marketing but wanted a skill set that would best position him to be in on the action. He enjoyed taking business classes that helped him learn how to further analyze businesses and professional sports team operations.
Welcoming Environment in Miami
Soon after graduating in 1993, Leibowitz enrolled in law school at the University of Miami, but he wanted to make sure that he was passionate about the area of law he would practice.
“Sports law was novel at the time, but Miami was at the forefront of it. I joined the Entertainment and Sports Law Society where I would later become the VP. This gave me the opportunity to meet with sports agents and front office executives from the four major sports.”
For Leibowitz, it wasn’t just the innovative sports law program or extracurricular opportunities. The classroom environment was engaging, supportive, and proactive.
“The campus has one of the most diverse student bodies of any law school, and their Socratic method allowed me to get exposure to varying ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds. The professors really cared about the learning process but not just to pass the Bar. They wanted to make sure you have a successful career; they really taught you how to think like a lawyer.”
Support Launching a Career
Finding a motivating career after graduating can be a nerve-racking feat. For Leibowitz, the University of Miami provided the resources necessary for him to land a job not only right after graduating, but where he grew up, in Baltimore, MD.
“Miami has a very active career services department and even being in Florida, they helped me start my career in Baltimore.”
After beginning his career in corporate restructuring and bankruptcy law, a client of Leibowitz purchased a professional baseball team for which Leibowitz became outside counsel – launching his dream of combining his academic background in law with his passion and interest for the sports industry.
“I also represented a professional football team, and both arenas as well, then ultimately became a licensed sports agent.”
Leibowitz has since achieved an impressive career still based in Baltimore. In 2021 he was selected as “Lawyer of the Year” in Baltimore by Best Lawyers, was featured in Baltimore Business Journal’s “40 under 40” in 2005, and has served as the past president of the Bankruptcy Bar Association for the District of Maryland.
Most notably, Leibowitz works as outside counsel for the Washington Nationals and represents Maryland Basketball Hall of Famer, Juan Dixon, who led Maryland to its first NCAA championship in 2002.
Advice for UMD Undergrads Considering Law School
Leibowitz emphasizes that such accomplishments aren’t achieved without hard work and determination.
As for current Maryland students considering law school, “When you get there, approach it as if it is your job. There are a lot of distractions but it’s a short time – 3 years. Maximize all the benefits that you can get out of school.”