Munger, Tolles & Olson Partner Craig Jennings Lavoie Named 2023 Law360 Sports & Betting Rising Star
Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Craig Jennings Lavoie was named a 2023 Sports & Betting Rising Star by Law360. Awarded annually, the Rising Star awards recognize the top attorneys under 40 based on their career accomplishments in their respective practice areas. Mr. Lavoie was one of only five sports practitioners from across the nation to be recognized this year.
Law360 noted that Mr. Lavoie “has attained a number of big victories for major clients,” including as trial counsel for Vanessa Bryant in her landmark civil rights suit against the LA County Sheriff’s and Fire Departments for their improper photos of the victims of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and seven others. Following Mr. Lavoie’s closing argument, which generated coverage by the New York Times, CNN, Bloomberg, People, Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times, among many others, the jury delivered a verdict in favor of Mrs. Bryant and awarded her and a co-plaintiff $30 million in damages for their emotional distress. Mr. Lavoie examined nine witnesses during trial, deposed more than 20 witnesses in the case (including former LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva), and led the development of a factual record that defeated the County’s summary judgment motion prior to trial.
Mr. Lavoie was also recognized for his work litigating on behalf of the Los Angeles Clippers in their push to build a new arena in Inglewood, California. The development project was opposed by the Madison Square Garden Co. (“MSG”), based on its ownership of the nearby Forum arena, which the company had invested $100 million in redeveloping. Responding to litigation brought by MSG, Mr. Lavoie coordinated a team of twelve litigators, argued and won several motions, and took many of the most important depositions, including the deposition of MSG's general counsel and two former chief executives of MSG.
When asked what is most satisfying to him about his work, Mr. Lavoie said he enjoys working with clients to find solutions to their most difficult problems. He said that oftentimes clients will come to MTO seeking a solution to a problem that another firm could not find.
"I think that can be really satisfying," Mr. Lavoie said, "to feel like you've tackled a really challenging problem, and you've done it well, and you've been able to do something that others were unable to do."