Attorney at Law Magazine Phoenix spoke with Dana Hooper of Greenberg Traurig about her time as a midfielder on the University of California at Berkeley soccer team for the Athletes in Law 2020 issue.
Hooper’s sports law practice draws heavily from her experience as an athlete, representing individual athletes, coaches, and teams. Separately, she also represents companies with employment law matters, both from a counseling perspective and litigation.
AALM: What lessons did you learn from the sport that you apply to your practice today?
DH: Knowing how to fail is just as important as knowing how to succeed.
AALM: What are three reasons you like being part of a team sport? What are three reasons you like being an attorney?
DH: Being part of a team: (1) You have someone else’s back and they have yours; (2) universal language of working together simply by putting on the same uniform regardless of background, economic status, race, religion; and (3) empowerment of women in the male-dominated sports world.
Being an attorney: (1) Counseling clients to ease their minds to help them resolve business and personal challenges; (2) working with intelligent and supportive colleagues throughout the nation; and (3) being challenged by nuanced legal issues every day.
AALM: Relate competing in a sport to competing as a lawyer?
DH: Being prepared at the highest level is key to entering into the competition with confidence and a game plan.
AALM: What did you do to calm your butterflies when you played soccer? What do you do to calm butterflies before trial?
DH: Recognize that I am playing a role — a role that I take seriously because others are counting on me to perform.
AALM: Who inspired you as a young athlete?
DH: Kevin Johnson, Phoenix Suns. He was a mentor and big brother to me, always encouraging me to study and that academics mattered most. He later came to my college graduation at Cal, his alma mater.
AALM: Do you think attitude is as big of a factor in winning in the practice of law as it is when playing a sport?
DH: A positive attitude mixed with reality checks can be the difference between winning and losing a game and case.