Miller Canfield

Miller Canfield


Miller Canfield is a full-service global law firm. Headquartered in Detroit since 1852, the firm has more than 220 lawyers practicing in all major areas of law and 18 offices in six countries, Miller Canfield is among the 200 largest law firms in the U.S. Our lawyers are recognized by the most prestigious legal referral guides and organizations around the world, including Chambers USA and “Best Law Firms” published by U.S. News & World Report, in which Miller Canfield received national first-tier rankings in Public Finance Law, Labor & Employment Litigation and Labor Law-Management. Miller Canfield was named by corporate counsel as a “Standout in Complex Labor Litigation” in the BTI Litigation Outlook report.

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Miller Canfield’s sports law practice is led by Joe Vernon, an experienced commercial litigator and business advisor who has served as lead counsel in arbitration proceedings and state and federal courts across the country. He also acts as general litigation and outside counsel for many clients, is consulted on key strategic initiatives, has directed and managed numerous internal investigations, and frequently counsels on public relations and crisis management issues.

That experience and Joe’s background as a varsity football player in college and law school provide a natural foundation for the work he and his team have done in the sports field, which includes advising athletes on contract, endorsement, intellectual property, doping, and league and governing body rules issues, and representing them in related disputes.

In the professional football space, Joe advises and represents front-office personnel in contract negotiations and in team and league related disputes. 

Joe works closely with Miller Canfield’s labor and employment team, which frequently advises on Title IX issues and represents institutions in related litigation.   

A former legal writing professor, Joe is an accomplished writer in the sports field, whose work has been published by sports law publications and media outlets like Bloomberg, Law360, and He is also deeply involved in the community. He has served on the Detroit Economic Club’s Young Leaders Board and as a mentor in its Career Readiness Academy. He serves on the Board of Mariners Inn, a rehabilitation and homeless shelter. He serves on the Executive Board of the Federal Bar Association’s Eastern District of Michigan Chapter, and co-chairs its Rules and Civil Practice Committee. In 2019, he was invited to give the commencement address to Detroit Mercy Law graduates.

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