HISA to offer pro bono legal assistance

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) has established a new program to provide pro bono legal representation to eligible Covered Persons who fall below a certain income threshold and are alleged to have violated HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program. This program will match Covered Persons who are financially unable to secure legal representation with volunteer attorneys who have agreed to provide legal services without any expectation of compensation.

“I am incredibly proud to be launching this free legal services initiative, the first of its kind in American sport,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “Providing all Covered Persons with the tools to properly defend themselves in these cases is critical to ensuring integrity in our ADMC program adjudication procedures. We don’t want the cost of legal services to ever be a barrier to pursuing a rigorous defense. I’m grateful to the reputable law firms and experienced attorneys who have already agreed to participate, and I look forward to expanding their ranks.”

“We are pleased to participate in HISA’s Covered Person Pro Bono Program, so that those who truly cannot afford a lawyer can have access to the same depth of experience and zealous representation that we provide to all of our non pro bono clients,” said Howard Jacobs, international sports law attorney specializing in disciplinary cases involving anti-doping and other disputes. “As a result of HISA’s Covered Person Pro Bono Program, we hope that no Covered Person will feel that they simply cannot afford to defend themselves against a potentially life-changing charge.”

“Jackson Kelly is always glad to help support the industries we serve,” said Jay Ingle, Chair of Jackson Kelly’s Equine Group. “We quickly said yes when asked to participate in this program and donate our legal services and expertise, and hope that our contributions will help the sport and the horsemen and women in it.” 

“The Wyatt firm is honored to be part of the HISA Covered Person Pro Bono Program to support those in need of legal assistance and to help promote the health and well-being of thoroughbred racing and the equine industry as a whole,” added Craig Robertson, Partner-In-Charge, Lexington Office of Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, LLP.

If the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) has alleged that a Covered Person committed an ADMC Rule Violation, and the Covered Person has an annual household adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less and no significant liquid assets, the Covered Person will be eligible for free legal services from a volunteer attorney and limited reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the volunteer attorney.

The application for assistance under the program is available here and more information about the program can be found here. Additional information about all Covered Persons’ rights under HISA’s ADMC Program can be found here. Covered Persons who need additional assistance or have questions about the pro bono program or the adjudication process more broadly should contact HISA and HIWU ombudsman Alan Foreman at [email protected].

To volunteer under the program, attorneys must have a valid license to practice law in any state and have up-to-date malpractice insurance. In addition, they may be required to complete training provided by HISA before accepting a referral under this program. Interested attorneys should contact HISA Assistant General Counsel Sam Reinhardt at [email protected].