Investigations, Compliance and Litigation


Passion. Experience. Diligence.


Tracing its history to 2003, Buckner is one of the most experienced and distinguished boutique law firms in the United States. Founded by attorney Michael L. Buckner, our commitment to providing quality legal services that are responsive, creative and competitively priced has enabled our firm to grow steadily over the years and to offer an ever-increasing collection of legal resources to our sports clients. Our work with higher education, high school, Olympic, amateur, professional and corporate clients on sports-related legal, compliance, regulatory and administrative issues, as well as employees and businesses in federal and state litigation, showcases our experience in diverse practice areas: internal investigations; NCAA compliance and investigations; state high school association compliance and investigations; litigation; Title IX and gender-equity; risk management; sports drug testing; and corporate governance.


Our vision and mission is to assist clients with reaching their strategic and business goals and objectives. We will achieve this goal by providing clients with comprehensive counsel, innovative strategies and techniques to address legal issues on a personalized and customized basis.


Buckner believes that retaining the right professionals and relying on clear and consistent core values enables us to provide the best service to our clients. We adhere to state bar association rules of professional responsibility when delivering legal services. Most importantly, we are guided by the six-element Buckner Way, which is the firm’s code of ethics and professionalism:

1. Perform your duties with professionalism and integrity: Buckner attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals shall not engage in activities or pursue practices that would violate the law, the firm’s code of ethics and professionalism, state bar association rules of professional responsibility or the attorney-client relationship.

2. Earn the trust of others: Buckner attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals shall use honesty, transparency and integrity when dealing with each other, clients, suppliers and anyone else who may be impacted by the firm’s decisions and actions.

3. Understand that teamwork propels our work: Buckner relies on the team approach to fulfill its vision and mission, as well as delivery of services to clients. Buckner attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals are expected to respect each other and to embrace the principles of diversity.

4. Remember that silence is always the best policy: Our commitment to attorney-client relationships, as well as our interest in maintaining our integrity, mandates that Buckner attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals refrain from disclosing any activities, information or data that might conflict with our clients and the firm’s operations.

5. Seek continuous improvement: Buckner seeks to continuously improve its operations and how it delivers legal services to clients. Accordingly, the Buckner culture encourages persons to question and suggest revisions to a firm practice. No one will suffer negative consequences for developing or suggesting ways to continuously improve the firm.

6. Do the right thing and ask if you don’t know: Buckner attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals are expected to exceed ethical ideals and strive to use the higher standard of professionalism—where one does something because it is right regardless of the existence of official sanctions or awards. In order to accomplish this goal, you must know what is right and, thereafter, do what is right. However, if you are ever unsure about the right course of action, ask and keep asking until you get an answer.

The six provisions of the Buckner Way do not, and cannot, explain all of the laws, standards and regulations that Buckner attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals will need to know and use. However, the Buckner Way should be used as the baseline ethical and professional guideline for the firm. Buckner will communicate to firm attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals whenever additional standards may apply. Further, it shall be the responsibility of each Buckner attorney, consultant and affiliated professional to learn the laws, standards and regulations that apply to his or her case and project.


Our vision and mission mandates that our client relationships are defined by our ability to provide innovative solutions and techniques that create value for your organization. In fact, Buckner’s delivery of value-added proactive legal services combined with our elite team approach to every case enables us to partner with you for your organization's long-term benefit.


Buckner and affiliates provide the specific legal advice clients in the various sports industries need to compete and succeed most effectively in a more sophisticated global environment. Buckner’s attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals share a commitment to providing our clients with the highest-quality and most cost-effective legal services.

Our work processes ensure high-quality services. We work in teams, which are led by a senior attorney and assisted by attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals. The typical size of our teams depends on the project. For example, we may assign a senior attorney, who possesses prior experience in the area, to lead a case/project team of one or more attorneys, consultants and affiliated professionals, each of whom bring a specialized skill-set on key issues.

We listen. We begin by gaining a comprehensive understanding of your organization's vision, goals, processes, systems, issues, challenges and needs. We conduct research using a variety of tools and resources.

Our fees are based on the prescribed legal services provided to our clients. Further, clients can elect to use hourly rates, flat fees and other methodologies during a case or project.


Get in touch

We at Buckner know that finding the right attorney to represent you is a choice not to be taken lightly. That’s why we offer free consultations to walk you through your needs, the scope of your goals, and your budget.

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Michael L. Buckner

Michael L. Buckner is the president and shareholder of the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm. Mr. Buckner, a licensed attorney and former licensed private investigator, advises organizations on compliance, investigation, ethics, gender-equity issues, as well as represents clients in commercial litigation matters. Mr. Buckner also represents academic institutions before all NCAA committees. Mr. Buckner, as an independent consultant for the NCAA (2006-07), conducted on-site investigative audits of non-traditional and preparatory schools in the United States and Puerto Rico.

He has appeared on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and ESPN’s College Football Live, as well as been quoted in numerous newspapers (including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News and Lexington Herald-Leader) as a commentator on NCAA enforcement cases.

Mr. Buckner is the author of two books, Athletics Investigation Handbook: A Guide for Institutions and Involved Parties During the NCAA Enforcement Process and The ABCs of Ethics: A Resource for Leaders, Managers, and Professionals.

Mr. Buckner is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court; the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; the United States District Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida; and all state courts in Florida.

Mr. Buckner served as a commissioner on the Broward County Charter Review Commission and Volunteer Florida, the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

Mr. Buckner earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations and social sciences and communication in 1993 from the University of Southern California. He was awarded a law degree in 1996 from Florida State University, where he was a member of the Moot Court team.



Juris Doctor, 1996

B.S., International Relations & Social Sciences and Communication (History), 1993

Activities & Affiliations

• Broward County Charter Review Commission, Former Member
• Volunteer Florida, Former Member

Bar Admissions

• Florida