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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Jan Kleiner is one of the most prominent figures in Swiss sports law with a “profound knowledge of all Swiss law aspects”. He is highly praised by sources who commend him for his “detail, great understanding, and excellent presentation skills”.

Questions & Answers

Dr Jan Kleiner co-heads the sports practice at Bär & Karrer, Switzerland. His practice focuses on party representation and regulatory advice in national and international sports law, as well as media and data protection matters. He acts for international sports federations, clubs, individual athletes and other stakeholders in domestic and international sports arbitration and litigation, with a particular focus on proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

What attracted you to a career in sports, media and entertainment law?

I have always been fascinated with sports on many levels and in many aspects, and I have been practising many different sports all my life. I believe that sports teaches you many important things in life: companionship, perseverance and dedication, to name just a few. It therefore was somehow logical for me that my professional path would also be somewhere in a sports-related field. Therefore, sports law, as well as media and entertainment law, give me the privilege of combining my personal passion and interests with my professional activities as a lawyer. This is certainly unique and not something that one should take for granted.

What do you enjoy most about working in this space?

Sports, media and entertainment law is dynamic and international, and it combines various fields of law – ranging from contract law and arbitration to more commercial matters, such as TV rights or broadcasting rights issues. When working in this sector, you will most likely also have the privilege of working on many international cases together with colleagues coming from different countries, jurisdictions and legal backgrounds.

How is the generational shift changing legal practice at your firm? What do younger lawyers do differently?

Younger lawyers are certainly very well equipped with all the benefits of modern information technology. They are very used to working with online research tools, online literature or other new LegalTech tools. Our firm strives to be at the forefront of all these technological advancements, and it is fascinating to see how our practice as lawyers can benefit from them.

What has been the impact of the GDPR in the realm of sports law?

The main impact has certainly been that also sports governing bodies and other sports entities have become more aware of the importance of data protection and about the significance of data in sports. On a more practical level, many of these entities were forced to thoroughly review their handling of data and, more generally, their data processing activities.

What impact is the increase in sporting events in the Middle East having on your practice?

The Middle East is certainly a very important region when it comes to the staging of international sporting events. At the same time, there is a very impressive rise in the number of talented sports lawyers coming from the Middle East, and there is a continuously growing number of sports law master’s programmes in the region. Therefore, our practice also has a very strong link to the Middle East and we are proud and happy to work with many important stakeholders and brilliant lawyers in this fast-growing region.

What is the most interesting case you have been a part of?

Every case has its specificities and I truly believe that every case is interesting in and by itself. Still, sometimes it is the “smaller” cases which may present the trickiest legal questions. I was, for example, involved in a dispute between two lower-league amateur football clubs in Switzerland, about the question of which of those two clubs would be promoted to the next-higher league. At first glance, one would maybe consider this a “small” case, but it was extremely interesting from a legal perspective and obviously a tremendously important case for the two clubs involved.

How do you anticipate the Swiss legal market changing in the next five years? How might this affect your practice?

I think that Switzerland will remain a very important place for sports, media and entertainment law, not least due to the presence of many key stakeholders of international sports in Switzerland. On the legal level, one of the most important changes in the near future will be the implementation of the new Swiss Data Protection Act. It will most likely follow the GDPR principles very closely, however with a few modifications – it will be crucial for sports entities domiciled in Switzerland to be well aware of these possible intricacies of Swiss data protection law. I am equally convinced that Switzerland will remain a very important place for international sports arbitration, not least because of the presence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, the most important and supreme jurisdiction for international sports disputes.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

It is difficult to single out one piece of advice, as I have had the privilege to work with many brilliant and experienced lawyers. They have all led by example and by being honest, kind, dedicated and hard-working, which I consider to be among the most important qualities that a lawyer and a colleague can have.

Global Leader

Sports

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Jan Kleiner is "a studious, methodical lawyer" who is "the guy at the core of the issues in sports law" and a "very smart sports lawyer".

Biography

Dr Jan Kleiner is a partner at Bär & Karrer in Zurich, Switzerland. He co-heads the firm's sports, media and entertainment law department.

Jan Kleiner specialises in party representation in sports and entertainment-law related matters. He represents sports federations, high-level athletes, players and clubs before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), international sports federations and state courts, including the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. He regularly advises national and international clients in matters of media, entertainment and data protection law, with a particular focus on data protection in sports. He also acts as arbitrator at the German Institute for Arbitration and specialist panel member at Sports Resolutions UK.

Jan Kleiner holds a law degree and a doctorate in law (PhD) from the University of Zurich. He also graduated with a global executive master's degree in international sports law from the Higher Institute of Law and Economics (ISDE) in Madrid, Spain. Jan Kleiner is also the founder and president of the Sports Law Alumni Association.

Jan Kleiner is a lecturer in international sports law at the University of Zurich and on various other master programmes. He is a regular speaker at international conferences and he regularly publishes on national and international sports law, media and data protection law. Jan Kleiner is also an editorial board member of Football Legal and LawInSport.

For his doctoral thesis, Jan received the 2013–2014 Swiss Sports Law Association (ASDS) Prize for the country's best sports law thesis. This thesis provides a comprehensive legal analysis of the contractual relationship between a professional football player and a club, including all the relevant case law rendered by CAS, FIFA and Swiss state courts.

Bär & Karrer is a renowned Swiss law firm with more than 170 lawyers in Zurich, Geneva, Lugano and Zug. Its core business is advising clients on innovative and complex transactions and representing them in litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings. The firm's clients range from multinational corporations to private individuals in Switzerland and around the world.

Bär & Karrer has been repeatedly awarded Switzerland's "Law Firm of the Year" by the most prestigious international legal ranking agencies.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Jan Kleiner is one of the most prominent figures in Swiss sports law with a “profound knowledge of all Swiss law aspects”. He is highly praised by sources who commend him for his “detail, great understanding, and excellent presentation skills”.

Biography

Dr Jan Kleiner is a partner at Bär & Karrer in Zurich, Switzerland. He co-heads the firm's sports, media and entertainment law department.

Jan Kleiner specialises in party representation in sports and entertainment-law related matters. He represents sports federations, high-level athletes, players and clubs before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), international sports federations and state courts, including the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. He regularly advises national and international clients in matters of media, entertainment and data protection law, with a particular focus on data protection in sports. He also acts as arbitrator at the German Institute for Arbitration and specialist panel member at Sports Resolutions UK.

Jan Kleiner holds a law degree and a doctorate in law (PhD) from the University of Zurich. He also graduated with a global executive master's degree in international sports law from the Higher Institute of Law and Economics (ISDE) in Madrid, Spain. Jan Kleiner is also the founder and president of the Sports Law Alumni Association.

Jan Kleiner is a lecturer in international sports law at the University of Zurich and on various other master programmes. He is a regular speaker at international conferences and he regularly publishes on national and international sports law, media and data protection law. Jan Kleiner is also an editorial board member of Football Legal and LawInSport.

For his doctoral thesis, Jan received the 2013–2014 Swiss Sports Law Association (ASDS) Prize for the country's best sports law thesis. This thesis provides a comprehensive legal analysis of the contractual relationship between a professional football player and a club, including all the relevant case law rendered by CAS, FIFA and Swiss state courts.

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