|Leigh Steinberg, the world’s first “super agent,” founded his sports law practice in 1975 when he negotiated a then-record contract for the first overall pick in the NFL draft Steve Bartkowski, eclipsing the previous standard bearers in Joe Namath and O.J. Simpson. Since then, Leigh has solidified his name as one of the premiere player representatives in all of sports, and specifically the NFL where he represented a record eight different number-one NFL draft picks, over 60 first round draft picks, and consistently negotiated the largest contracts of the time. His past clients include NFL stars and hall of famers Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Warren Moon, Drew Bledsoe, Ben Roethlisberger, Thurman Thomas, Eric Dickerson, Derrick Thomas, Edgerrin James, Jevon Kearse, and Bruce Smith, boxing legends Lennox Lewis and Oscar De La Hoya, and a plethora of NBA, MLB, and Olympic athletes. In all, Leigh has negotiated over a billion dollars in NFL contracts, and over two billion dollars in athlete contract and endorsement deals.
In addition to Leigh’s extraordinary success as a contract advisor, he has played an instrumental role in helping his clients develop meaningful post-athletic careers that both give back to the community and enrich the lives of his clients. Driven by the philosophy that professional athletes possess the cultural influence to reach the masses and have a significant social impact, Leigh has helped his clients to become valuable members of their communities and to be models for imitative behavior. Specifically, Leigh has helped his clients develop over a hundred charitable foundations, which have raised over $700 million for innumerable causes, including building wings in children’s hospitals, assisting underprivileged or abused children, and protecting endangered species. Leigh challenges his players to find a cause, which they feel passionate about and fight for it. For example, Rolf Benirschke's “Kicks for Critters” helped fund protection of endangered species and Warrick Dunn's “Homes for the Holidays” gives single parents the opportunity to own a home for the first time in their lives.
Leigh also contributes his time and efforts to a variety of humanitarian causes. He has actively been involved with the Human Relations Commission, Children Now, Children’s Miracle Network, CORO Fellows Program and the Starlight Foundation. He founded and underwrites the Steinberg Leadership Institute, a nationwide program run by the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai Brith preparing young professionals to fight racism and inequality throughout the world. He created the Steinberg Leadership Program with the Human Relations Commission of Orange County to give leadership and tolerance training to high school and middle school leaders in a series of one-week camps. He has donated time and resources to organizations such as Special Olympics, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and Junior Achievement. Leigh’s community activism has drawn praise from the all over the political world. He has received commendations from Congress, State Senate, State Legislature, the Los Angeles City Council, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, President Reagan, President Bush and President Clinton. Leigh has been named Man of the Year over a dozen times by a diverse group of organizations that include the March of Dimes, Cedars Sinai, the Southern California Boy Scouts, the Orange County and Los Angeles Human Relations Commissions, the Orange County and Los Angeles divisions of the Anti-Defamation League, and several other professional and charitable organizations. Leigh has been awarded the “Keys to the City” of four cities: San Francisco, CA, Memphis, TN, Jacksonville, FL, and Concord, CA.
Leigh is also credited as the real life inspiration of the Cameron Crowe film “Jerry Maguire.” His wealth of resources and experiences ensure he is frequently sought out to act as a consultant on a variety of entertainment projects, most notably “For Love of the Game,” “Any Given Sunday,” as well as the TV series “Arliss.” Leigh has been featured on national television programs such as “60 Minutes,” “Larry King Live,” “The Today Show,” "Good Morning America," "CNN," "CNN World," "Charlie Rose Show,” Fox Business,” “Fox News,” “CBS Morning News,” “Inside Sports,” “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” “Pat Sajak Show,” “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, “Leeza Gibbons Show,” “Living Large,” and the “Man Show.” Currently, Leigh contributes a weekly column to the “National Football Post” and to the “Daily Pilot,” as well as Huffington Post and Forbes, and occasionally contributes a guest column to the New York Times and “Sporting News.” Leigh's experience has made him a precious commodity for various magazines, penning articles like “The Future of Sports” for The Sports Business Journal, “Around the NFL in 80 Million Dollars” for Inside Sports Magazine, and “The Future of Sport” for the Smithsonian.
An accomplished speaker, Steinberg has traveled the world addressing topics he is passionate about including sports and entertainment, ethics, leadership, negotiations, concussion prevention, environmental sustainability, and political and economic issues. He has spoken at over 75 college campuses, he has been the keynote speaker in multiple international conferences, and he remains the most sought after expert in the country for issues relating to the business of sports and concussion prevention and player advocacy.