A mentor once advised Mario Ančić ’13 LL.M. that if he wanted to be the best sports lawyer in the world, he would have to first become the best lawyer in the world. Ančić took that advice to heart.
“That’s my goal,” he says. “I’m working to be the best lawyer I can be.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a stretch for Ančić to become one of the best in the world at something—he’s already done that on the tennis court. In 2001, Ančić, a native of Croatia, joined the Association of Tennis Professionals tour, peaking as the seventh-ranked player in the world only a few years later. His career highlights include winning a bronze medal in men’s doubles at the Olympic Games in Athens, helping Croatia win the Davis Cup in 2005, and reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the French Open in 2006.
When injuries cut Ančić’s tennis career short, he turned toward the law as an alternate path. After graduating from Croatia’s Split Law School in 2008, Ančić worked as a corporate law associate in that country for two years. He also served as a visiting lecturer and researcher at Harvard Law School, where his scholarship focused on the legal implications of doping and gambling within sports, as well as the representation of professional athletes.
As an LL.M. student at the Law School, Ančić has built on a burgeoning expertise in comparative law and sports law. His LL.M. writing project focused on how sports-related violence is dealt with in America, as compared to how it is addressed in other countries.
Ančić has also developed a penchant for advocacy, fundraising, and organizing events. Not only has he served as the LL.M. Class Gift co-chair this year, but this past March Ančić also helped bring together a panel of New York’s leading sports lawyers to counsel students on how to break into the field.
The panelists told students that a great sports lawyer should be well-rounded and have varying specialties. That advice was familiar to Ančić, who will focus on contract law, antitrust law, and copyright law matters as a legal intern with the National Basketball Association after graduation. Ančić says he is excited about the opportunity, and about the chance to maintain his ties to the professional sports world. “I’ll be working on a broad range of issues with exceptional legal minds,” he adds.