STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Alexandria Adkins

March 12, 2020

The success of a legal practice depends on a person’s strength, endurance, and versatility. Athletes are no stranger to this demand. As a former student-athlete at San Diego State University '16 and current law student at AUWCL, 2L Alexandria Adkins bridges those worlds through her legal scholarship on sports law.

Alexandria Adkins
Alexandria Adkins

“Almost any legal issue has the ability to touch the sports world in some way,” said Adkins, vice president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. “I’ve learned the importance of being versatile.”

As a research assistant for Professor N. Jeremi Duru, one of the nation’s authorities on sports law, Adkins worked on updating Duru’s sports law academic texts and researched the legal implications of youth sports and early specialization. While the field can be difficult to break into, Adkins’ diligence has made its mark.

We spoke to Adkins about her sports law research and what she hopes to achieve.

What brought you to law school? What led you to sports law?
Since a 5th grade field trip to a courthouse, I have been interested in the law. I studied political science in college with a focus in public law, which led me to work for a California State Senator post-graduation. I really enjoyed working on the legislative side, but ultimately decided I was more interested in the work of an attorney. Being from California, I was intrigued by the idea of living and working in D.C., and I ended up choosing AUWCL not only for the location but for the amazing opportunities both on campus and off campus. I was particularly drawn to the clinical program and the ability to extern during the semesters as well as the Sports and Entertainment Law Society.

A few months before starting my first year, I had met an attorney who was the husband of one of the women on my rowing team in San Diego, that worked as outside council on various issues for the San Diego Padres. After meeting him, I realized there was a whole area of the law that I didn’t even know existed and better yet it combined my passion for the law with my love of sports. So I came to law school with hopes of pursuing a career in sports.

How have you explored sports law research?
I’ve been a research assistant for Professor Duru since last summer. I sought out an opportunity to learn from the best. I’m also a junior staffer for the International Law Review (ILR) and I wrote my comment on a topic in international sports, which is being published later this semester.

What’s your Comment on?
Last year, the international governing body for track and field (World Athletics) implemented regulations requiring intersex female athletes who naturally produce a higher level of testosterone to medically reduce their testosterone levels via oral contraceptives. Caster Semenya, a middle-distance runner from South Africa, brought a claim in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and the panel ultimately held the regulations were necessary for fair competition.

Titled “Trapped in the Binary Divide: How Forced Contraceptives Violate the World Anti-Doping Code,” my article argues that the regulations violate the World Anti-Doping Code, which World Athletics is a signatory to, because the regulations put the athletes’ health at risk while also violating the spirit of sport.

How has sports law impacted your career goals?
I want to pursue a career in the sports industry, whether that is working for a professional team, for a players’ association, as outside counsel at a firm, or any position that touches sports in some way.

Since sports is a tough market to break into, my decision to pursue sports as also pushed me to seek out other opportunities to make me a better law student and eventually a better lawyer by improving my writing/researching skills and, arguably more important, my people skills. Sports is often categorized as a “who you know” industry, which has motivated me to attend more networking events, which in turn as allowed me to learn more about legal issues in sports.

How do intend to use your law degree? What experiences helped you realize that?
My dream job would be to work in-house for an NFL team, but I hope to use my law degree in some way that touches the sports industry. My externship with DC State Athletics Association solidified my interest in sports as I enjoyed every assignment I worked on, whether that was researching background check laws for officials or drafting Title IX grievance procedures for those involved with high school sports.

I also had the opportunity to work at the White House, which was an excellent experience. Although I’ve decided not to pursue a career in government after law school, I gained a new appreciation for government work and I drastically improved my writing and research skills. My work with Professor Duru opened up a door for me this summer as I will be working for the Washington Redskins.

In working with Professor Duru, what’s been the best advice you’ve learned?
Often, we hear that “it’s about who you know and not what you know,” but it’s about who knows that you do good work.