WWE's Attorney Jerry McDevitt Talks Retirement

Lawyer Jerry McDevitt has represented the WWE for well over three decades, defending it in numerous legal battles throughout that time. The company found itself facing a new potential lawsuit last week when Major League Wrestling accused the promotion of breaking antitrust laws, which led to a statement from McDevitt to the Wrestling Observer — "I have not seen the full lawsuit since WWE has not been served. If Tubi breached, then sue Tubi. As to Vice, WWE has no commercial relationship with them or for that matter any of the other dozens of content distribution entities with whom MLW could do a deal with if they had a commercially viable product. They put a show on Vice, if my memory serves me correctly after one of the Dark Side shows and lost most of the audience. I think I read they got 40,000 viewers. No wonder Vice did no further deal."

However, in a new interview the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week, McDevitt confirmed that he's been considering retirement for some time. 

"WWE is a major client, but I have other clients," McDevitt said. "I also represented Dr. Cyril Wecht. I'll be 72 in January, so I've been trying to turn it down a little bit as I'm headed into retirement. But because of my longstanding relationship with WWE, I continue to represent them, although I keep telling Vince I do want to retire. Most relationships nowadays with lawyers and publicly traded companies are at the general counsel level. Outside lawyers work with the general counsel of the company and never with the CEO or chairman of the board. But my contact and my relationship is directly with and to Vince. It always has been. It always will be. That's kind of a unique relationship in the landscape of the law these days for the outside counsel to have that sort of direct relationship."

Elsewhere in the interview, McDevitt discussed how representing the WWE led to him being very close with the McMahon family — "They were acquitted of all charges without even calling a witness. We just cross-examined the government's case. After that, my relationship with Vince and Linda McMahon became almost family-like. Since then, me and my firm have done everything for them. It's not just litigation. We do Vince's estate plan. We do his tax returns. We handle a bunch of trust work. We've established an estate planning device for him and his family. The litigation that I've had to do for him has been across the board on ever subject imaginable from defamation claims to defamation defense to copyright infringement to trademark infringement to litigation with the USA Network on whether we would be permitted to leave that network and take our programming to other places, to helping Vince set up the XFL Football League, not once but twice. The WWE through the next 30 years became such a big part of the DNA of my law firm."

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MLW claimed in its lawsuit that WWE tried to interfere in its business deals with both VICE and Tubi, directly naming Stephanie McMahon getting involved in the latter. WWE quickly fired back by claiming there was "no merit" to the claims.