168th Commencement: Watch Live
Robyn Schechter ’02 is building a practice in motorsports law, which she sees as an exciting but underserved niche in the legal field.
Schechter’s interest in motorsports law was piqued during her first live race, when she managed to get her hands on a pit pass, allowing her up-close access to the action.
“Once you’re there, smelling the gasoline and hearing the roar of the cars, it really elevates the experience to another level,” Schechter said. “I started to think about the types of legal services the motorsports industry needs and wondered whether there were any lawyers meeting those needs.”
Schechter’s aspirations have evolved since she first began law school. Through new experiences and travels she has discovered and melded her passion with her legal knowledge.
“I have found that if you really enjoy and engage in an activity then great opportunities handle themselves and emerge organically,” she said.
“Law school seemed interesting and broad, and I knew that the degree would ultimately be valuable,” Schechter recently recalled from her office at Levitt, Leichenger & Aberle in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Currently licensed in New York State, and with admission pending to the California Bar, Schechter has been employed at the firm since 2008 after fulfilling a long-time personal goal of relocating to Los Angeles. With a passion for racing, and all things automotive, Schechter is especially knowledgeable about claims involving exotic and vintage cars, racing accidents and motorsports litigation.
“Drivers, especially when they are first starting out, do not know how to read a contract, what interests need to be protected or how to negotiate with team owners and sponsors,” Schechter said, noting that a large part of building a practice in the motorsports field is demonstrating knowledge about specific legal issues affecting the motorsports industry, educating drivers on the need for legal services, and networking.
Upon realizing that she wanted to pursue the niche, Schechter began to find ways to establish her name and build relationships in the racing community. To start, she approached the Auto Racing News website, noticing it lacked IndyCar coverage, and convinced the editor to allow her to provide on-track coverage for IndyCar races. In addition to media credentials and writing credits, she had the opportunity to promote the IZOD IndyCar Series, to learn more about the sport and gain additional access to the racing community.
Most recently, Schechter has started her own blog, When Racing & the Law Collide, a creative collection of educational tips for young drivers and pop culture posts such as racing-related book and film reviews.
“The motorsports field is underserved by the legal sector at a time when drivers, teams and sponsors need to be business savvy more than ever on issues ranging from contracts to media rights and licensing to non-profits and foundations,” said Schechter. “A weekly race is just a fragment of the obligations and strategic long-term planning that those in the industry must address.”
Schechter began her legal career in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, assisting the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Group, which is co-chaired by former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson. While there, she routinely worked on matters pending in the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to her appellate experience, she also gained experience working on class action lawsuits and multi-district securities litigation.
Looking back at her time at Albany Law, Schechter has fond memories of what can be a turbulent time for law students: bar exam preparation.
“I remember sitting at the library, nearly around-the-clock, with a good group of friends, all studying for the bar exam,” she said. “The camaraderie and laughter at the insanity of the experience really helped reduce my anxiety and stress. It turned a potentially miserable experience into a memorable one.”
Before attending Albany Law, Schechter graduated from Hood College in Frederick, Md. She is a native of Albany.