Jerome Vainisi focuses his practice on sports and entertainment law, and his clients include major universities, professional athletes and coaches. His services to professional athletes include contract negotiation, marketing and sponsorship arrangements, financial and estate planning, insurance programs, charitable trusts, and legal counsel.

Mr. Vainisi is an accomplished senior management executive with extensive experience in all phases of operational and financial management involving domestic and international markets. His professional experience enables him to perform in high visibility roles while maintaining total focus on organizational goals and positive performance.

Professional Background

Mr. Vainisi joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in 1995 with nearly 25 years of sports industry experience. Before joining Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, he served in the National Football League as Vice President of the World League of American Football (NFL/Europe) 1990 to 1995, Vice President and Legal Counsel with the Detroit Lions Football Club, Inc. 1987 to- 1990, Executive Vice President and General Manager (previously Treasurer and In-House Counsel) of the Chicago Bears Football Club, Inc. 1972 to 1987, and a tax accountant with Arthur Andersen & Company 1965 to 1972.

As Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Chicago Bears Football Club, Mr. Vainisi directed all business and financial operations of the $100 million organization, serving as a member of the Board of Directors and as liaison between owners of the firm and all operating personnel. He conducted all negotiations regarding personnel, performance, operating, broadcast and other contracts, and also supervised all marketing, media and community relations efforts. He successfully guided football operations of the organization during a period when the club was among the league’s leading teams and earned a Super Bowl victory. Profits of the organization tripled during this period of management.

As Vice President and Legal Counsel with the Detroit Lions Football Club, Mr. Vainisi played a prominent role in assembling a team that won the NFL Central Division Championship in 1988 and 1989.

While helping the NFL create the World League, as Vice President of Football Operations for the WLAF, Mr. Vainisi signed players to contracts, assigned coaching staffs, formulated the league’s playing rules, and oversaw all aspects of the football operation.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by his peers as a Leading Lawyer in the category of Arts, Entertainment and Sports Law
  • Holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability


J.D., Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1969

B.A., Georgetown University, 1963

B.S., Georgetown University, 1963