UMKC Law Student Scores with Sporting Kansas City Internship

UMKC connections were a perfect match for Annmarie Orlando to pursue sports law
Annmarie smiles over her shoulder with a mannequin wearing a Sporting KC jersey behind her

Annmarie Orlando knows two things: she wants a career in sports law, and she wants it in her hometown of Kansas City.

“I chose UMKC because I’m from Kansas City and I knew that I wanted to stay here,” Orlando, student at UMKC School of Law, said. “I’ve grown up here and I know it’s a great city to live in, and there’s lots of opportunities for work.”

One came with longtime UMKC partner Sporting Kansas City. The university and soccer club have been partners for a decade; part of that partnership includes first opportunity for internships for UMKC students.

 Annmarie Orlando stands smiling inside the Sporting KC offices holding a blue scarf that says "Kansas City" out in front of her

For Orlando, it’s been the chance to start the career she’s been working toward for years. Orlando was an athlete growing up, and she wanted a career related to sports. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in sports management, a family member suggested law school as a next path. She started law school elsewhere and decided to transfer to return to Kansas City. The experience she’s had here has been unmatched.

Kylie DeWees and Annmarie Orlando sit at a table facing a classroom of UMKC law students
Orlando's mentor, Kylie DeWees, a staff attorney at Sporting KC, spoke at the UMKC Sports Law Club in Fall 2023.

“Other than Sporting KC, I’ve had a few more opportunities to get experience while in law school,” Orlando said. “I worked with the athletics department at UMKC and got to work with the athletic director on NCAA rules and compliance. I’ve also gotten to work with NAIA and their lawyers as well.”

Annmarie Orlando and her mentor Kylie DeWees walk through the Sporting KC office together with rows of soccer scarves hanging from the ceiling rafters above them

In addition to working in sports law, Orlando volunteered with the public defender’s office. Although she found the work rewarding, the experience confirmed that her calling was sports law. She credits the law school and real-world opportunities with helping her define her career path.

Annmarie Orlando holds a soccer ball under one arm and a roo up gesture with the other hand inside the Sporting KC office

“Getting that real-life understanding of how it actually is working in the legal field while still in school helps figure out if you actually like that area of law,” Orlando said. “The law school’s career center is very helpful. They really care about helping students get experience where they want to be.”

Annmarie Orlando and her mentor Kylie Dewees smile sitting together at at a table

For Orlando, that experience at Sporting KC involved legal research, contract review and learning the unique rules of Major League Soccer, among other things. Her mentor and Sporting KC staff attorney Kylie DeWees says that getting to study sports law in the soccer capital of America is invaluable, especially with the 2026 World Up on the horizon.

“Our student interns can drive 15 minutes from class to come here and get practical experience on a big stage,” DeWees said. “You can’t beat that.”

With Kansas City’s rising profile in the sports world, Orlando knows that she’s in the right place to begin her career.

“Kansas City is a great place to study sports law,” Orlando said. “With the growth the city has seen and all the new teams we’re getting, there are lots of opportunities here.”

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Published: Mar 13, 2024

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