Jill Pilgrim is the founding and managing attorney of Pilgrim & Associates Law Offices and has built a reputation as a well respected business and sports lawyer. Pilgrim’s legal career in began as a tax and corporate associate at New York City law firms, including Willkie Farr & Gallagher, and Cowan Liebowitz & Latman. Thereafter, she established her own New York City-based private law practice, in which she serviced clients in nonprofit, sports and entertainment industries and handled real estate, estates, guardianship and corporate legal matters.
Pilgrim temporarily closed her law practice and spent eight-and-a-half years as general counsel and director of business affairs for USA Track & Field [USATF], the national governing body for the Olympic sport track and field/athletics. While at USATF, she was responsible for overseeing in-house legal and business affairs departments. She advised the organization’s senior management and served as staff liaison to a variety of United States Olympic Committee and national governing body committees, including the Anti-Doping Task Force, Age Verification Task Force, Diversity and Leadership and Committee on Sports for Disabled.
Pilgrim was recruited away from USATF to serve as general counsel of the Ladies Professional Golf Association [LPGA]. In this capacity, Pilgrim rendered legal advice and handled matters ranging from corporate governance, dispute resolution, protecting intellectual property rights, and member eligibility. She utilized her many years of Olympic sport drug testing expertise to spearhead the LPGA’s design and launch of professional golf’s first player drug-testing program in 2008.
Pilgrim’s dispute resolution experience and skills are extensive. She serves as a neutral for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority [FINRA], and previously served as an arbitrator (and chairperson) for the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (1992-2006). Pilgrim was appointed arbitrator on the USATF Doping Hearing Board and Doping Appeals Board for athlete drug cases from 1991-1998, and previously served an appointment to the United States Olympic Committee Out-of-Competition Drug Hearing Board (1991). Pilgrim also has experience representing organizational and individual clients in mediation and arbitration. She successfully represented an Olympic athlete before the Court of Arbitration for Sport during the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games.
Pilgrim has been a long-serving member of American Bar Association, Sports Lawyers Association, Women in Sports and Events, the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Black Women Lawyers’ Association. She also has a long history of serving and holding leadership roles on numerous law boards and committees, including: Advisory Board member, National Sports Law Institute of Marquette University Law School (2006-present); Board member (1999-2005), Sports Lawyers Association (2002 and 2003 Conference Chair; 2003-2005 Membership and Public Relations Committee Chair); Indianapolis Bar Association Entertainment & Sports Section Executive Committee (Chair 2001); and founder and president, The Center for the Protection of Athletes’ Rights, Inc. (1994-present).
Pilgrim received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from Princeton University, where she also was a nationally ranked sprinter for the Princeton Track and Field Team. After graduation, she studied at the Alliance Française and the Sorbonne in France prior to graduating with a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in the states of New York and Indiana, and before District Court, Southern District of New York.