Nicole Duckett, the general counsel for the Los Angeles Clippers, is leaving the NBA to start her own venture. She is quitting to launch a boutique legal consulting firm for an athletic clientele, Bloomberglaw reports.
Duckett leaves her position as the first and only Black woman to serve as the top lawyer for an NBA team. She has served 15 years as a litigator for class action firm Milberg, Mayer Brown, and now-defunct Thelen. She joined the Clippers as the franchise’s top lawyer in 2015.
Duckett’s exit comes a year after the Clippers hired Alexander Winsberg, a former general counsel for Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels. The Clippers’ online staff directory identifies Winsberg as chief legal officer of the Intuit Dome, the privately funded $1.8 billion arena the team is expected to move in before the 2024-25 NBA season.
Duckett is not the only NBA female lawyer leaving the NBA. Charlotte Hornets general counsel Tamara Daniels quit in March after just one year on the job.
Duckett is credited with building the Clippers’ Legal Department from the ground up as the organization’s first in-house counsel, creating the legal structure for the company and cementing operational infrastructure, her bio says.
Also, she served as a Los Angeles City Commissioner for the Board of Convention and Tourism Development. On the board, Duckett managed the City of Los Angeles’ contract with AEG Worldwide and oversaw the Los Angeles Tourism Board.
Before joining the Clippers, Duckett was the General Counsel for Regal Assets LLC, an alternative assets firm that specializes in commodities. She attended Georgetown University and obtained her law degree from the UCLA School of Law.