Vice President & Associate General Counsel ESPN, Inc.
Nell DeVane is one of five senior attorneys in ESPN’s Legal Department. She is currently responsible for the legal work of a variety of business areas of the company, including corporate mergers and acquisitions, negotiation of distribution agreements with many national cable distributors, ESPN Classic, various categories of sports programming and rights negotiations (including NASCAR), real estate acquisition, development and campus construction and, at various times, ESPN’s Original Entertainment Division, studio production, remote productions, technical operations and engineering (including construction and systems integration of ESPN’s Digital Broadcast Center. Her current responsibilities principally include transactional, distribution and programming contracts, intellectual property licensing, and litigation management. Nell first worked at ESPN in a newly created Counsel position in 1997, working on projects including the acclaimed “Sports Century” millennial project. Prior to that, Nell had a broad transactional and intellectual property practice at the Hartford/New Haven law firm Wiggin and Dana where, among other things, she assisted ESPN on real estate transactions and land use matters in the development of their burgeoning campus in Bristol, Connecticut. In 1999, Nell returned briefly to private practice at the Hartford/New Haven law firm Tyler, Cooper and Alcorn, where she continued to advise ESPN on corporate and real estate matters, as well as advising Disney-associated production companies on entertainment (principally publicity rights) issues. Following this second stint in private practice, Nell returned to ESPN as Assistant General Counsel, working in a broad variety of areas, including the creation of ESPN’s first European networks. In 2005, Nell was promoted to Associate General Counsel, with responsibilities including the negotiation and drafting of many of ESPN’s major affiliation and distribution arrangements. Nell received a bachelor of arts in English Literature from Yale College in 1986, a master of arts in English Literature from Columbia University in 1989, and a law degree from Yale Law School in 1993. Nell lives in Connecticut with her son Nick (when he’s not away at school), two dogs, a cat, several birds and a hive of bees. She keeps an organic garden, an orchard and a frog pond, reads (mostly fiction and poetry), quilts and sews when time permits.