William M. “Bill” Lawrence has handled matters in the sports and entertainment field for more than 20 years. Even prior to the enactment of the name, image, and likeness rules, Bill had extensive experience negotiating marketing and NIL-related contracts and other agreements involving professional and collegiate athletes and coaches – including a legendary college football coach, an NFL All-Pro player, professional golfers and basketball players, and more.

Bill’s deep understanding of the sports and entertainment landscape stems from the wide range of matters and clients he has represented in the space, including:

  • A promotional rights agreement by which a client became a major official sponsor of Major League Baseball
  • A Power 5 Conference NIL Collective in connection with student-athlete contracts and general business matters
  • An ownership group in connection with its sale of a professional baseball team
  • Assisted title sponsor of a PGA Tour tournament with contractual matters pertaining to its sponsorship

  • Represented client in contractual matters pertaining to the New York City Marathon

  • A worldwide outdoors organization in connection with the sale of its business and assets, including a popular magazine, to ESPN
  • Represented multiple NIL Collectives, including being primary counsel for one of the first-ever, if not the first-ever, acquisition of an NIL Collective
  • Assisted Division I head football coach with his university employment contract
  • A NIL/publicity rights agreement with Bobby Bowden – former Florida State University head football coach and the second-winningest NCAA Division I college football coach of all time
  • College All-American and 14-year NFL All-Pro football player in connection with NIL and marketing contracts
  • Three-time All-American collegiate tennis player in connection with matters involving the United States Tennis Association
  • A professional golfer in connection with NIL-related marketing contracts
  • A business that specializes in facilitating group-based NIL deals for student-athletes at an NCAA Division I football program
  • An NCAA Division I athletic department in connection with NIL matters involving international student-athletes 
  • A client in connection with negotiating a sponsorship deal with a major NCAA football program
  • An ownership group in its acquisition of a professional baseball team and subsequent contractual matters for the team, including stadium lease and vendor contracts
  • A retailer in connection with a NIL deal involving a major network reality television personality
  • An automobile racing venture and a brand immersion venture in various contractual matters
  • A regional member of USA Volleyball, the national governing body of volleyball in the U.S.
  • Sports broadcasters and other television and radio talent in transactions involving major college sports programs and networks
  • A publication company focusing on hip hop music
  • A comic book series in-licensing and podcasting matters
  • A special-interest magazine and book publisher in acquisition, licensing, employment, and marketing deals
  • An award-winning documentary film company in connection with formation and distribution matters
  • Recording artists and bands in connection with publication and distribution deals
  • A film production company in connection with capitalization, formation, and operational matters
  • Advised collegiate student-athletes in connection with NIL deals
  • Represented sports agents and others in connection with NIL matters and matters involving the Revised Uniform Athletes Agents Act
  • Assist current and former professional athletes with forming and operating non-profit and tax-exempt foundations

Based upon Bill’s experience in the sports and entertainment law field, the Alabama State Bar appointed him to its Entertainment and Sports Law Task Force, whose recommendations resulted in the creation of the State Bar’s Intellectual Property, Entertainment, and Sports Law Section.

In addition to his legal experience in the sports and entertainment field, Bill received collegiate athletic scholarships in two sports, and he remains an active competitive tennis player. Bill has competed against former national and world-ranked tennis players, including players who have competed in all four of tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments, two NCAA Champions, and former Davis Cup players from several countries. Among other tennis honors, he has earned five year-end #1 rankings in divisions sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association and its affiliates (USTA Southern and USTA Alabama), played on three USTA League Tennis teams invited to the USTA National Championships, captained six teams to USTA Southern Sectional Finals, and played on USTA League Tennis teams that have won more than 40 local, USTA Alabama, and USTA Southern Sectional titles.

Outside of his sports and entertainment practice, Bill focuses his practice in the areas of corporate and business transaction law and wireless telecommunications law. To read more about his corporate practice, please visit his Burr.com bio here


  • Represented a global wireless communications carrier in (1) the disposition of network facilities covering 20 states, (2) deployments and upgrades of hundreds of cell towers, other macro sites, and small cell facilities across five states, and (3) agreements with wireless infrastructure solutions providers, utilities, and local governments.
  • Represented a project management firm specializing in network infrastructure for the wireless, fiber, and utility industries in connection with a services agreement to deploy wireless infrastructure on United States military bases.
  • Represented multiple wireless infrastructure providers in connection with real estate and related matters for small cell facility deployments, cell tower and other macro site deployments, preparation of form agreements, and title and easement matters.
  • Represented publicly-traded and privately held clients in merger and acquisition work spanning a broad range of businesses, including telecommunications services, medical imaging, materials wholesale, automobile conversion and customization, furniture manufacturing, lighting control, special-interest publishing, retail sporting goods, building materials and clothing retailers, including the following:
    • Represented a plumbing, HVAC, industrial, mechanical, and water works supplies distributor in numerous acquisitions across the Southern United States.
    • Represented an investor group in its acquisition of a minor league baseball club.
    • Represented a special interest organization and magazine publisher in its sale to an American cable television network.
    • Represented an industrial saw blade manufacturer in its disposition to a Dutch saw blade manufacturer.
    • Represented a construction equipment dealer in its disposition to a global industrial and agricultural equipment distributor.
    • Represented a publicly-traded metals recycling company in multiple acquisition and financing matters.
  • Represented a leading U.S. banking franchise in connection with technology and e-commerce commercial contracts and its implementation and modification of a short code texting program.
  • Represented a Fortune 100 financial company in the negotiation of commercial and e-commerce contracts, including software licenses and service/support agreements, software development agreements, and other commercial contracts.
  • Represented an oil and gas distributor in the negotiation of commercial contracts, including product acquisition and distribution agreements and transfer and storage agreements.
  • Represented several title insurance companies in both litigation and non-litigation matters involving a variety of real estate issues, including boundary disputes, mortgages and security deeds, creation of easements, adverse possession, corrective measures, bad faith failure to pay claims, lis pendens, and defalcation matters.
  • Represented professional athletes, television and radio personalities, musical artists, night clubs, health clubs and studio owners, among others, in the sports and entertainment industries.
  • Represented a non-profit film production company in its development, production, and exploitation of an award winning feature length documentary motion picture.
  • Represented automobile racing instruction and brand immersion businesses in their ventures with global automobile manufacturers.
  • Burr & Forman Represents On to Victory in First-Of-Its-Kind Name, Image, and Likeness Collective Acquisition for Auburn Student-Athletes

Honors & Recognitions

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®️, Corporate Law since 2016, Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) since 2017, Mergers and Acquisitions Law since 2021
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating
  • Named, "Best of the Bar" in Technology Law, Birmingham Business Journal
  • Named, "Birmingham's Top Legal Minds," B-Metro Magazine
  • Recipient of the ‘Alumnus of the Year Award’ in 2019 from The Donoho School, a college-preparatory, day school in Anniston, Alabama
  • Named "Top Lawyer" in the American Heart Association's Lawyers Have a Heart Campaign
  • Two-Time Recipient, "Outstanding Service Award," American Heart Association
  • Cordell Hull Teaching Fellow, Cumberland School of Law
  • Member, American Journal of Trial Advocacy




Professional & Community

Professional Activities

  • Member, Alabama Wireless Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Birmingham Bar Association
  • Former Member, Junior Board of Directors, Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. (Alabama Theatre & Lyric Theatre)
  • Former Member, Entertainment and Sports Law Task Force of Alabama State Bar
  • Former Member, Board of Directors and Former President, The Over the Mountain Touchdown Club of Birmingham, Alabama (Presented the Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year)

Special Certifications & Licenses

Special Certifications & Licenses

  • Licensed Athlete Agent, Alabama Athlete Agent Commission (License No. UN-1358)


Legal Practice Assistant

Michelle Prestley
(205) 458-5495

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About Burr & Forman Sports Law

The Burr & Forman Sports Law team includes attorneys from a variety of legal and college athletic backgrounds, who provide counsel on marketing, licensing and other agreements. The team, which includes NFLPA certified contract advisors, has represented professional athletes in marketing and other deals, negotiated NIL contracts with NCAA coaching legends, represented professional sports organizations, and negotiated deals with major sporting television networks.

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