Jill Pilgrim’s distinguished career includes decades of experience working in the legal, sports business and corporate environments, as an attorney, strategic business consultant, international consultant, arbitrator, entrepreneur, law professor, speaker, and published legal author. Pilgrim, principal owner of Pilgrim & Associates law firm, and Acting Executive Director & General Counsel of the Track & Field Athletes Association, Inc. (TFAA), has built a national reputation as a prominent business, sports and ADR lawyer and advisor.
In the fall of 2017, Ms. Pilgrim assumed the role of Acting Executive Director & General Counsel of TFAA. In this capacity, she seeks to assist the professional athletes establish a sustainable organization that serves as the collective voice for, help improves working conditions for, professional track and field, road racing and race walking athletes.
As the former general counsel of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Pilgrim rendered legal advice and handled matters ranging from corporate governance to dispute resolution, policy matters, protecting intellectual property rights, contractual relationships, member services and athlete eligibility. Prior to joining the LPGA, she spent eight-and-a-half years as general counsel and director of business affairs for USA Track & Field (USATF), the Olympic governing body for the sport of track and field, road racing and race walking. At USATF Pilgrim’s responsibilities included rendering business and legal advice to Chief Executive Officer, President, Board of Directors and staff of USATF, and working collaboratively with the volunteer membership developing and implementing new business policies and practices. As such, she was part of the management team that oversaw, planned, and conducted over 150 national championships and other programs and events annually.
Pilgrim serves on the Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Committee on Infractions. She is an independent hearing officer for the New York State Gaming Commission, as well as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association (AAA) which, in addition to handling commercial disputes, handles domestic Olympic and sports disputes. She is also the founder and President of the Center for the Protection of Athletes’ Rights, Inc. (CPAR), a nonprofit advocacy, education and legal service provider for low income members of the U.S. athletic community.
As an educator, Pilgrim taught “The Globalization of Sports” and “International & Comparative Sports Law” as an adjunct professor in the Columbia University School of Professional Studies & Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía (ISDE) Companion Masters in Sports Management & Masters in Global Sports Law Program. She previously developed and taught “The Olympic Games & the Law” course at the University of Miami School of Law; and taught “Legal Issues in Sports” for the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies’ Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management Program.
Pilgrim’s legal career began as a tax and corporate associate at New York City law firms, including Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Cowan Liebowitz & Latman. In 1990, she established her own law private practice, Pilgrim & Associates, which she returned to after her respective tenures as general counsel at USATF and the LPGA.