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Client Conversations: Interview with Rich Nichols, Sports Crisis Management Advisor and Former Olympic Contender

Date: 20 May 2020

In this episode, Craig Budner interviews Rich Nichols, who grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of factory workers at the height of America’s racial tensions in the 1970s. He made his way to Dartmouth and was a two-time All-American runner. He went on to earn his masters at Stanford, and then, while in his third year at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, he made the U.S. Track and Field team. Listen to how Mr. Nichols was able to combine his passions of sports, politics, and law into a tremendous and diverse career.

Key Takeaways

  • A Law Degree Gives You Options – At the time, you may not have a clear desire to practice law, but a law degree provides options and can have an impact on legislation.
  • Trusted Advisor – While initially advising Marion Jones on her endorsement deals, Mr. Nichols ended up becoming her trusted advisor throughout both the good and difficult situations. He worked with her during the BALCO investigation.
  • Truth to Tell: Tell It Early, Tell It All, Tell It Yourself – Advise your clients, especially in crisis situations, to present the truth. You want your client to be the first one to present their truth. If you can, get in front of these communications before someone else tells it for you in their context.
  • Authenticity – A watchword of success—people can feel it immediately. Working with John Singleton, Mr. Nichols helped advise on an authentic story to tell about Marion Jones.  More on this story: ESPN 30 for 30 About Marion Jones: Press Pause.
  • Support Women – Harnessing the principle that equal is equal, Mr. Nichols is still pursuing equal pay rights on behalf of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team.
  • Commit – If your heart isn't into it, it will be difficult to sustain commitment during the hard times. Roadblocks are going to come; find a way through, around, or over.
  • Winning – Redefine what winning is throughout your career. It's not a binary exercise; you have to be flexible on the prize route.

Client Conversations features interviews with legal buyers, business partners, innovators and industry leaders to share our collaborative insights across the marketplace. We hope these discussions help you further understand the paths that outstanding professionals in the legal and business communities travel, learn about what they are looking for in their counselors, and the nuanced decision-making of business and legal leaders in various industries.

Contact us or catch-up on past episodes by visiting our Client Conversations program page

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Craig W. Budner
Craig W. Budner
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