This is a question I get all the time, and since we’re a week away from 300 people descending on Washington, D.C., to take the 2015 NFLPA contract advisors exam, I thought I’d try to answer that question today.

When it comes to the exam next week, it seems like it’s much easier for attorneys, especially those who’ve had a chance to take the ITL practice exam. Here are a few statements from agents who took the NFLPA exam after the bar exam, taken from our free newsletter:

  • “I don’t want to say it was easy, but after taking the bar, I had confidence I’d pass it because of my law background. It was straightforward.”
  • “I thought it was pretty straightforward and easy.”
  • “If you put the time in and have a reasonable amount of intelligence, you shouldn’t really worry about it.”

Here are a few from non-lawyers:

  • “I studied for three-and-a-half or four months, and being self-employed, I could spend 2-3 hours a day studying. After taking the test, I thank God I did that.”
  • “The info on the exam can make you intimidated, but if you listen to the seminar and take good notes, it’s doable.”
  • “I thought it was fair but tough. You definitely have to know your stuff. I. . . actually studied my stuff on my honeymoon.”

I also think players get a feeling of confidence when they find out their agent is also an attorney, so there’s a benefit there. And with litigation a constant possibility in this business, it comes in handy.

On the other hand, I think attorneys often ball back on their knowledge of the law as their salvation, and this is especially true of lawyers in a big firm. And they should — the law is an intricate and complicated thing, and it takes a smart person to help folks clear legal hurdles. If you spend most of your time wrangling with judges and arguing why a person is guilty/not guilty, you might put your faith in your knowledge of the collective bargaining agreement. Unfortunately, that’s not going to get you very far in this business.

How well you recruit is about 90 percent of your grade as a young agent. That’s something a lot of new agents don’t realize (especially established, high-earning attorneys). I spend a lot of time on the phone with new agents, and usually, I can get a good handle on whether or not that person is going to be successful. Lots of new contract advisors find out they passed the test in September, then don’t know where to start. Often, they punt their first year in the business as a result.

I know the lion’s share of people reading this blog aren’t attorneys and not all want to be agents, but plenty are. Some of them might be in D.C. next week, so I thought this was something to address. More next week.