Kap Misir was in a hospital bed, reflecting on his career as a litigator, when he realized that somewhere along the way he had gone off course. A lifelong baseball fan and a former college player, he had entered Thomas M. Cooley Law School intent on practicing sports law. So he promised himself that, if his health improved, he would reclaim that dream.
Kap recovered from his illness and, a short time later, he was on a St. John’s athletics message board when he noticed a conversation about the Law School’s LL.M. in International and Comparative Sports Law (ICSL). He took it as a sign. Within a month, he was accepted into the program and resigned from his job. As he shares with Law School Communications Director Lori Herz below, that was his first step to finding his professional calling.
What were the highlights of your time in the ICSL LL.M. program?
Hands down it was the exceptional faculty. They were extraordinarily generous with their time, and went the extra mile to offer career advice and to help me network with the right people. I also really enjoyed learning from the guest lecturers who brought their expertise in the field to our classroom. All of them were established and respected within their sport, and it was a treat to meet them in person since I had seen them in the media.
How did your internship during the LL.M. program shape your perspective on sports law?
I was very fortunate to intern with Jeff Fannell [‘92C, '96L], who served as deputy program director and adjunct professor for the ICSL LL.M. I grew up a baseball fan and, having played, I thought I knew all there was to know about the game. With the depth of his sports law experience representing the Major League Baseball Players Association and in private practice, Professor Fannell quickly showed me—in a very positive and supportive way— that I had a lot to learn. My internship taught me so much about the dynamic between the MLB and the Players Association, and left me with a clearer and more practical understanding of collective bargaining agreements.
You worked for Jeff Fannell after your internship ended. How has his ongoing mentorship impacted your career path?
I was some kind of lucky to receive an offer to work with Professor Fannell after my internship, and can say that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for him. He continues to be a very patient guide to this complex work. And he always encourages me to keep putting coals in the fire, both in terms of learning the nuts, bolts, and craft of sports law—especially as it applies to baseball—and in terms of making connections with people in the sports industry.
How did you come to work for the Cincinnati Reds baseball organization?
Through my internship with Jeff Fannell, I attended a salary arbitration hearing where I met some front office executives from the Reds organization. Several weeks later, I happened to run into one of the executives at a conference in Arizona. We spoke briefly and he gave me his card. I emailed him a few weeks later just talking some baseball and we became good friends. We continued to talk throughout the summer about baseball and during the 2014 Baseball Winter Meetings he made me an offer to join the Reds.
What do you enjoy most about your work with the Reds?
The day-to-day workings. I work in the baseball operations department, so I’m able to be hands on in assisting the team in preparation for each series. I also work in the legal department on salary arbitration, drawing on my knowledge of labor law. And I’ll use my negotiation experience to assist with free agent contract signings after analyzing the current player market. My work with the Reds is just the kind of sports law work I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s incredibly rewarding to be living my dream.