Skillz Inc., a newly public esports and mobile gaming company, hired Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe partner Nicholas Green to be head of public policy.
Green spent nearly a decade at Orrick, where the sports law and betting expert was part of a team working to legalize sports betting in a growing number of U.S. states. Green confirmed via email that he started Jan. 24 at Skillz.
Skillz, founded in 2012, owns online games like Jewel Blitz and Solitaire Cube and hosts casual esports tournaments for mobile gamers using its platform. Prior to going public in 2020, the company received backing from the National Football League’s venture capital arm 32 Equity and owners of pro sports teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, New England Patriots and Sacramento Kings.
The NFL and Skillz signed a multiyear gaming agreement last year that could lead to the development a pro football-themed mobile game.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a boon to the mobile and video game industries, both of which capitalized on legions of players in lockdown. In January, video game giant Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. agreed to pay $11 billion to expand into mobile gaming by acquiring Zynga Inc.
A job listing for Green’s new government relations position shows that Skillz claims the online gaming industry is larger than movies, music, and books, with the mobile gaming market expected to be worth $161 billion by 2025.
Green, who was based out of New York and Charleston, S.C., made partner at Orrick in early 2020. Later that year Winston & Strawn advised San Francisco-based Skillz when it went public by merging with blank check firm Flying Eagle Acquisition Corp.
Green said multiple practice areas at Orrick have provided outside counsel to the company. Orrick took the lead for Skillz last year on its $50 million investment and strategic partnership with Germany’s Exit Games GmbH, owner of the Photon multiplayer gaming technology.
Latham & Watkins also advised Skillz on its $150 million purchase last year of Aarki, a technology-focused marketing company that the acquirer said it would build into an integrated esports advertising business.
At Skillz, Green said he reports to vice president of legal Charlotte Edelman, a former partner at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo hired by the company in 2020 to run its in-house legal team. Mintz Levin has had a role in litigation involving Skillz founder Andrew Paradise and his brother over control of an investment trust.
Edelman was not one of Skillz’s top three highest paid executives in 2020, according to the company’s most recent proxy statement. Bloomberg data shows that she currently owns more than $563,000 in Skillz stock. Edelman sold off more than $700,000 in Skillz shares last year, per securities filings.
Neither Edelman nor Skillz responded to requests for comment about Green’s hire or other legal additions by the company.
Skillz, like other mobile gaming companies, has been busy recruiting lawyers.
The company welcomed aboard former IBM lawyer Natalie Wilmore last year as head of corporate and securities, while also adding associate counsel Dalar Abolian this month from Los Angeles firm Yo Mohandesi.
Andrew Bateman, a former lawyer at Machine Zone Inc., a mobile gaming software company acquired in 2020 by AppLovin Corp., joined Skillz a little over a year ago as its head of intellectual property.