Life in The Palace with Richard Haddad
By: Ashli Bynum
February 4, 2016- Richard Haddad, the Vice President and General Counsel of Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons, spoke to students today as part of Career and Professional Development week. The program, hosted by the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, featured a hardy lunch and insightful career advice.
Haddad shared with students his career path and stories about his legal journey thus far. After graduating with a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan, “the History firms in town weren’t hiring,” Haddad joked. As an alternative career option, he attended Colombia Law School (not too bad for a back-up plan). From there, he practiced law in the state of New York for a number of years. One day, a representative from Palace Sports and Entertainment (PSE) contacted Haddad regarding a potential job opportunity. As a native of Adrian, MI, he was not very enthusiastic about moving back to the area but, he was a Pistons fan and decided to learn more about the new position. Needless to say, he accepted the job and has been with PSE since 2012.
He explained how rewarding it was to work for PSE because they are more than just a business; they contribute not only to their surrounding communities but the entire state of Michigan. Currently, the Detroit Pistons have started a new fundraising drive, dubbed FlintNow, to help raise monetary donations for the citizens of Flint in the midst of the water crisis. Haddad said that he worked on “a lot of complicated contracts with three different bus companies” so that the Detroit Pistons could transport “1000 Flint kids to the game tomorrow.” Not only does he get the opportunity to do what he loves for a team that he loves, he is also able to give back to those in need as part of the PSE team.
When asked what advice he would give to a student wanting to go into the Sports and Entertainment Law field, he responded, “learn to fully develop yourself as an attorney… put yourself in a position to take advantage of opportunities… [and] do a good job at whatever you’re doing.”
Many female students interested in the field were concerned because it is known to be male dominated. When asked how many females he interacted with and what might be some of their hardships, he comically responded that he could “not answer about their personal hardships for the obvious reason.” But, he also said that his two predecessors were both women and that many of the entertainers and teams have women sitting on their general counsels. He mentioned that there is still room for growth but “things have changed.”
Haddad’s inspirational words of wisdom were vastly insightful and the program was a success. He doesn’t know what his plans will be for the future. But for now, you can catch him at the Palace, cheering on his favorite team.
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