The Esports Practice of Payne & Fears LLP helps esports organizations and professional teams navigate the unique legal issues they are likely to confront. We assist them in forming business entities, entering into business transactions, and hiring and managing employees and contractors. When necessary, we assert and defend lawsuits and similar claims that impact esports organizations. The firm has assembled an experienced team of attorneys in this multidisciplinary practice area, including attorneys with expertise in employment practices counseling, business litigation, covenants not to compete, unfair business practices, and contract law.

Attorneys Timothy J. Heggem and Richard K. Zepfel lead the firm’s Esports Practice. In addition to being an accomplished attorney with relevant experience in various forms of civil litigation, Mr. Heggem is a gaming and esports enthusiast. He possesses a deep understanding and passion for the growing esports industry. Mr. Zepfel specializes in counseling emerging companies in the areas of corporate formation, initial financing, employment practices, and business transactions. He also has significant expertise in representing clients in the digital entertainment and sports industries, including professional athletes.

Payne & Fears LLP provides a variety of services to its esports clients, including the following:


We advise clients regarding the corporate form most appropriate for their size and business operations. We then assist in forming corporate entities, capitalization, maintaining corporate records, and otherwise preserving the shield against personal liability.

Strategic Advice and Preparation

We counsel clients regarding their current and planned business operations, including:

  • Employment of players and staff;
  • Development of corporate policies and bylaws; and
  • Compliance with state and federal regulations, such as gambling laws.

Business Transactions

We help clients structure their business dealings to protect their short- and long-term interests. We draft, review, and revise:

  • Player contracts;
  • Sponsorship agreements;
  • Vendor contracts; and
  • Terms of use.


We counsel clients regarding various employment issues, including:

  • Player “poaching”;
  • Independent contractor status;
  • Employee performance;
  • Handbooks; and
  • Federal and state employment laws.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Our attorneys are admitted to practice in a number of states and federal courts, and are able to associate with local counsel in any jurisdiction. We have a wealth of experience and knowledge representing plaintiffs and defendants in trial and appellate courts.

As such, we advise our clients regarding the risks of litigation or enforcement actions. We also help our clients understand what options are available to them to protect their legal interests, such as threatening or initiating litigation.