Martha Sabol could be considered a visionary in the casino and gaming legal field. Her model to provide holistic, comprehensive legal services to Greenberg Traurig’s clients, whether they are financing growth, licensing new technology or ensuring regulatory compliance, enables Greenberg Traurig to help clients monetize ideas, expand in new locales, create new offerings and defend their position in the market.
Sabol started her legal career later than most. Her first career was in the managed food service industry at Aramark and later ServiceMaster. She ascended, very quickly, to become the VP of sales at ServiceMaster, overseeing a national sales team. After achieving successes in management and sales, Sabol realized she wanted to broaden her repertoire of skills to include the legal and strategic aspects of the business. At 36, she enrolled in law school at Loyola University in Chicago, and after completing her degree, she accepted a position in the corporate department of a Chicago law firm at the height of the dot-com wave.
Sabol was recruited from that firm to become the in-house counsel for Hyatt’s gaming division. Her time there provided the genesis for the idea of a holistic, full-service legal function. At the time, Hyatt owned and managed casinos around the world. In order to address all of the unique legal needs of this gaming company, Sabol was required to work with multiple law firms in each jurisdiction. She realized that there was not one law firm that fully understood the unique legal and business needs of the gaming industry. This inefficient and cumbersome process was costly and time consuming.
“I would have preferred to work with one law firm to handle all of our legal matters with the added benefit that it allowed me to have confidence that sensitive matters would remain confidential,” Sabol says. “Ultimately, this approach also would provide a law firm with a better way to serve its clients.”
After her in-house experience, Sabol saw an opportunity to apply her unique vision at a progressive law firm. In 2006, Greenberg Traurig recruited her to join its practice. Sabol realized this was the great opportunity to implement her holistic and comprehensive strategy.
“Instead of providing these services on a local or piecemeal basis, Greenberg Traurig is able to do it all with a cadre of experienced lawyers working in offices across the U.S. and the world,” says Sabol, who is today the co-chair of the firm’s gaming practice.
Over the past eight years, Greenberg Traurig’s gaming practice has grown substantially, and the firm is present and serving clients in almost all major and emerging gaming jurisdictions. Greenberg Traurig’s relationship with one major client, Scientific Games, started with providing regulatory and licensing services in a major acquisition transaction, and has grown to provide other legal services as its business expands into other areas.
“This natural progression was made possible by our strategic vision, and approach to servicing all of our clients’ needs, as well as strong local and national relationships,” Sabol states.
Moving forward, Sabol is excited about the direction of Greenberg Traurig’s gaming practice and prospects for growth at the firm. “We have been able to attract an amazing group of internationally recognized gaming lawyers to foster this practice,” she says, “and we look forward to continued growth and bringing amazing talent into Greenberg Traurig.”
Under Sabol’s leadership and vision, Greenberg Traurig is poised to build upon its success.