Daily fantasy company DraftKings hired the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner on Thursday ahead of its showdown with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
David Boies and Jonathan Schiller, two of the most high-profile lawyers in the world, will take on the case themselves.
"Mr. Boies, Mr. Schiller and their team look forward to representing DraftKings, and joining their top-flight legal team, which will work with the regulatory agencies, including the New York Attorney General, to resolve this dispute," DraftKings said in a statement. "A swift resolution would protect the rights of consumers and allow DraftKings players to continue to play the fantasy sports games so many people love."
Boies has represented some of the biggest companies in the world, fighting antitrust charges for IBM and representing the U.S. Justice Department in its prosecution of Microsoft in the same matter, and he is no stranger to the sports world.
He represented former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in his sponsorship case against Major League Baseball, Oracle chairman Larry Ellison in his fight to change the location of the 2010 America's Cup, the NFL during its lockout in 2011 and the NBA players' union during its lockout that same year.
It is not known why DraftKings changed course and hired the firm, a day after it said all its legal work would be done by the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, but how the company and its competitor FanDuel respond in the next couple of days could be key to its survival.
On Wednesday, both DraftKings and FanDuel said they intend to fight Schneiderman's assertion that their daily fantasy sites are games of chance, not skill, and are therefore gambling. Schneiderman reasoned that the two sites, according to his interpretation of state law, were participating in an illegal bookmaking operation and asked that they stop doing business with customers in New York.
FanDuel's chief outside counsel, Marc Zwillinger of ZwillGen PLLC, said Wednesday that while the two companies are in the same boat, they will not join forces in their legal battle against the attorney general.
Both companies have until Tuesday to respond to the attorney general as to why they don't think their businesses should be deemed illegal and therefore cut off within the state. If they can't convince Schneiderman, both sides are expected to duke it out, as a judge would need to issue a court order that would allow the companies to continue to accept business.
Schneiderman did not say they had to stop operating their national business from Manhattan, where FanDuel has its headquarters and DraftKings has a satellite office.
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as DraftKings and FanDuel, sent a communication to New York players asking them to rally in front of Schneiderman's office Friday in Manhattan.
Last month, DraftKings hired former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley as an adviser to help guide the company through the legislative process.