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Students come to law school with a wide range of experiences but current 3L student Mike Henderson’s are more diverse than most, including a stint as a professional football player in the NFL and over six years serving in the United States Air Force.
Henderson enlisted in the Air Force in 2003 and served as a Tactical Air Control Party Airman, with responsibilities that included tactical airdrops of laser-guided ordinance and ground based air traffic control of hostile airspace. He left the military to pursue a career that would be more conducive to family life and decided that his experiences would be beneficial in a career in the law. The high intensity atmosphere he was accustomed to would help with the rigors of law school.
“The biggest benefit from my military career has translated into my law school experience is handling pressure,” explained Henderson. “In the military, when your life and other lives are on the line it’s the ultimate pressure. When I came to law school, I didn’t feel any pressure because I’ve been through much worse.”
After graduating law school, Henderson hopes to look back on one of his previous pursuits – a career in sports. Henderson played football as an undergraduate at Baldwin-Wallace College and received a tryout and a roster spot with the Miami Dolphins, before being released in the preseason. He has also worked as a certified personal trainer.
Henderson now wants to get into the business side of the sports industry – preferably as a player agent. He feels the experience he had in his stint with a NFL team gives him the advantage of having seen the industry from a player’s perspective, and believes he will be able to represent players with their best interests in mind.
“My connections and experience with the Dolphins are an invaluable resource,” explained Henderson.
Cleveland-Marshall has offered Henderson a great opportunity to begin gaining experience working in the legal sector of athletics. Last summer, he enrolled in the Great Lakes Sports and Entertainment Law Academy hosted at Cleveland-Marshall., a three-week immersion program where students are treated as an associate in the industry. That positive experience led him to an externship in compliance with the athletic department at Cleveland-State last summer, and to come back to the academy this year as a teaching assistant.