Name, Image, Likeness: What These Three Words Mean for Law Firms

by Mike Kokubun | July 5, 2022

You may have already heard, but last year legislation passed allowing college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Opportunities for popular collegiate athletes to make money include autograph signing, personal appearances, and of most importance to the PI advertising industry—endorsements.

Since this legislation first took effect, we’re seeing college athletes ink deals with personal injury firms across the country. Right here at our agency, cj family member Cofman Townsley out of St. Louis signed a deal with a most impressive Freshman Wide Receiver at University of Missouri, Luther Burden III (aka LB3). We have projects in motion now in preparation for this endorsement, and expect it to be a touchdown for the firm!

Should Your Firm Secure a Name, Image, Likeness Deal?

The answer to this question depends on many variables. As is the case when introducing any new marketing initiative or campaign, timing is everything. Helping firms decide when and how to approach new “ADventures” is part of our team’s job. If you’re a cj client and are interested in chatting about NIL opportunities in your market, reach out to your Brand Strategist. If you’re not there yet or you were simply curious enough to click, we hope you’ll feel empowered by what we’re sharing.

Here are a few things to consider before hitching your brand’s wagon to a college athlete’s name, image, and likeness:


  1. Consider the fan base of your state.

Does it have split loyalties between schools? Will you alienate half of your market with the connection, or will you align yourself with the masses?


  1. Be aware that a player’s status could change.

Perhaps a player could perform poorly, whether on the field, or even worse, off of it. College athletes are still young and can be volatile, reckless and/or misguided in their decision making. Particularly, the student athlete’s intense regimen and the social pressure they experience can differ from that of a “traditional” student, which can contribute to this. You should have an exit strategy/contract clause in case things go wrong.


  1. You should have detailed terms of the contract.

Specifics around money, exclusivity, length of agreement, specifications of the partnership regarding how the student athlete will represent the partnering firm, and so on are all critical to this process. Also, consider that student athletes are transferring at much higher rates than before. Similar to the potential for a status change mentioned above, a transfer could also play into the need for an exit clause and affect the terms of contract.


These are just a few things to think about, whether you’re interested in an NIL deal now or later. And keeping with our commitment to data-driven strategies, we’ll be closely monitoring any cj family-related endorsements and will be updating with results and more insights here in our blog. Again, if you’re a cj client, contact your Brand Strategist with any questions or ideas you might have. If you’re not a cj family member and want to learn more about NIL endorsements, we welcome you to reach out to us today at