Impression: Demeka Fields

Demeka Fields (L ’16) never dreamed that less than a decade post-law school, she would be counsel for sportswear company New Balance. 

But that’s precisely where she is. Her responsibilities include “anything that involves signing sports or athletes and managing those deals,” she said.

Fields earned a business degree from Howard University before Tulane’s prominence in sports law brought her to New Orleans.

She was interested in the business side of sports, as well as its impact on the Black community. “Something that always stood out for me is that a lot of the athletes in the major sports are Black. But the people in the front office typically aren’t Black. So, it was really important to me to be in a decision-making position and have more representation on the business side.”

Demeka Fields portrait wearing a black sweater
Demeka Fields (Photo by Travis Ellison)

Armed with her law degree, she rose through the ranks at the Minnesota Vikings over four seasons when New Balance, a Boston-based footwear and apparel brand, contacted her. 

“I didn’t know sneakers … I did not own sneakers other than workout shoes,” Fields said. But she saw how quickly the brand was growing. “I was like, ‘I think going here will allow me to grow with the brand.’” 

As counsel, she works with sports marketing staff to sign an athlete or team. “We have to negotiate the legal terms,” she said. “And from a lawyer point of view, it is definitely one thing to say you’ve agreed on business terms versus actually seeing it on paper and signing on the dotted line. There’s a lot that goes into negotiating the deal.”

At New Balance, Fields is also chair of Black Soles, an employee-led community focused on amplifying Black voices, and helps run the company’s diversity internship with the University of Massachusetts – Boston. “If we bring in diverse talent, New Balance (should be) an environment where they can thrive.”

Among her many community-oriented efforts, Fields is a member of the Tulane Sports Law Advisory Board and the law school mentor program. 

“When I started law school 10 years ago, there were very few people that were doing what I wanted to do and who looked like me. If students reach out … I do try to talk to all of them because it’s easier to think you can be it once you really see it.”