The Korean eSports Association (KeSPA) has been busy to start September, announcing two partnerships to give its players more resources.
Aside from partnering with Woori Bank to provide players with financial resources, KeSPA also entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Legacy Pro Law, an American law firm, in order to offer legal counsel to players on KeSPA teams.
The announcement created almost as many questions as it answered, as it was unclear how working with a KeSPA-approved law firm would influence any negotiations between players and teams. Slingshot’s Andrew Kim conducted a Q&A with a KeSPA spokesperson over email (in Korean and translates to English) in attempt to clarify details about the partnership. The transcript is below.
The way the initial announcement read, it seems like a situation where players on KeSPA teams could use a KeSPA-partnered law firm to negotiate with or against other KeSPA teams. Is that accurate?
There seems to have been a difference of understanding as we were unable to put in all of the details of the MOU in the announcement. As a baseline, players who are part of KeSPA will be able to get legal advice. However, if that player is part of a team, they are required to have the consent of their team beforehand. Any counsel with players under contract does not take place independently.
Is KeSPA concerned about any potential conflict? If not, what would be a better way to characterize the relationship with KeSPA and the law firm?
It would be fair to understand that Legacy Pro Law is a law firm that works for KeSPA. When giving legal advice, the MOU between KeSPA and LPL takes precedent, and any counsel between players and LPL do not happen independently, so we are not concerned for potential conflicts. LPL will not be able to give counsel through ways that are not recognized by KeSPA.
Is this a measure more aimed at smaller teams or teams without the funds to afford legal counsel?
Like we have illustrated above, players that are part of teams can get legal advice with their teams’ consent, and this of course extends to players without a team. The service isn’t just for players that are part of teams that don’t have large scale sponsors, which makes obtaining legal advice difficult, but also for amateur players who don’t have experience with contracts, and players who have a hard time reviewing contracts written in English, Chinese, or other foreign languages.
Will the legal counsel be available when a player has a dispute with their current team?
There is a very minuscule chance of teams within KeSPA entering into conflict. In the event of a legal conflict between a team and a player, then the two parties enter into the legal process as the first step. There is very little connecting the nature of conflicts you mentioned and the MOU.
Why did KeSPA choose a North American firm instead of a domestic one?
The main area for legal counsel we seek to provide is about visas, taxes, contracts, and other similar concerns. LPL specializes in these areas, which led to our MOU with the law firm, and we plan to work closely with Korea using LPL’s Korean network.
Mentioned in the announcement is the creation of the first list of amateur players under KeSPA. How will this be determined and when?
KeSPA plans to to start holding LoL tryouts for players that are registered. We are currently working to determine the support areas that come afterwards.