Jeffrey Kessler of Winston and Strawn making argument during NFL Deflategate hearing in Manhattan Federal Court. Tom Brady is seated second from left. Artwork by Elizabeth Williams for CNBC News
What Kessler's tried.
McNeil, et al. v. NFL, et al—In one of the most impactful cases in NFL history, Kessler successfully argued against the league’s Plan B system, which gave clubs limited rights to retain 37 players each season, on behalf of Jets running back Freeman McNeil and a host of others. That decisionpaved the way for the league’s adopting a free agency system.
Zenith v. Matsushita—In a major non-sports case, Kessler was part of a team that successfully defended electronics companies Matsushita and JVC in the U.S. Supreme Court over claims of a worldwide conspiracy.
Brady v. NFL—In 2011, Kessler represented lead plaintiff Tom Brady and a class of other players in the case that ultimately led to the end of the 2011 NFL lockout and the establishment of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Sprewell v. NBA—When the Golden State Warriors’ Latrell Sprewell was suspended for a year and had the remainder of his contract voided by the NBA in 1997 after choking coach P.J. Carlesimo, Kessler successfully got the voiding of his contract overturned and his suspension reduced to the remainder of the season.
Kessler also aided the appeals of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Ravens running back Ray Rice, all of whose suspensions were ultimately reduced or overturned.