The union has already moved to terminate relatives of Hunter's hired for in-house jobssuch as attorney and director of special events and partnerships Megan Natsuko Inaba and director of player benefits and services Robyn Hunteramid pressure from players and agents pushing for change at the NBPA.
A new executive director is likely to play a role in determining whether Klempner and longtime union outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler of Winston & Strawnthe two lawyers once worked together at Weilwill continue to serve in their current NBPA roles.
Kessler, who has handled work for the NBPA for nearly 30 years, took a 60-lawyer team with him to Winston last year from the dissolving Dewey & LeBoeuf. He declined to comment when contacted by The Am Law Daily, as did Klempner and a spokesman for the union.
But sources say Kessler continues to handle several key matters for the NBPA, and the Paul Weiss report praised his "significant experience in antitrust law and matters involving professional sports unions," even hinting that Hunter would have been wise to listen more often to Kessler instead of deferring to firms like Howrey and Steptoe & Johnson that employed his daughter Alexis Hunter as special counsel.
When Smith took over as head of the NFLPA three years ago, some speculated that Kessler could soon find himself on the outs. And while we've previously reported on how Latham and Patton Boggs have encroached on some of the billable hours of Kessler and his team of sports litigators, he continues to remain a key legal adviser to NFL players on labor and antitrust matters.
Kessler is also no stranger to Orrick. While at Dewey predecessor firm Dewey Ballantine, he was a key figure in the merger talks between the two firms that ultimately collapsed in January 2007.