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The sports practice at Leathes Prior extends beyond the firm’s regional presence and offers a national service through its Full Contact online portal. The team, led by head of employment Dan Chapman, is extremely busy in both football and motorsport matters. Chapman is an FA registered intermediary and plays a key role in the football agency division of the practice, which is led by ex-professional footballer and former FIFA-licensed agent Lee Payne. Payne recently handled the transfer of Irish international Andy Boyle to Preston North End. Barry Mears is head of motorsport and advised driver Seb Morris on a contract to race in British GT and sponsorship deals with brands such as Stobart and Saxon Air. He also acted for Katie Milner in a challenge before the Motor Sports Association National Court after her disqualification in a race, which denied her the Junior Saloon Car Champion title. The disqualification was overturned and Milner was reinstated as champion. Mears also advises the McLaren GT team on commercial and sporting matters.

Mills & Reeve LLP has ‘very good lawyers at the senior end and some capable and keen juniors’. The national team, which is ‘approachable, commercial and very good on regulatory matters’, is led from Manchester but has strong input from the Cambridge office. Partner Chris Belcher advises many athletes on tax, trust and estate matters. He is part of the team that assists international footballers including Kevin De Bruyne and Pablo Zabaleta on commercial endorsements, image rights and tax. Principal associate Richard Plaistowe is a key part of the firm’s commercial, intellectual property and technology teams and advises athletes and sports bodies on image rights, endorsement agreements and trade mark protection. He helped the Tour of Cambridge road race to secure the affiliation necessary to ensure that winners of the event could compete at the World Finals.

Steeles Law has a strong presence in cycling, motorsport and sailing, where its in-depth knowledge of corporate and employment matters is greatly valued. Corporate partner Nigel Lubbock acted for a supplier of parts to Formula 1 and World Rally teams on the establishment of a distribution network for the sale of its products. He also led a team, which included employment partner Oliver Brabbins and litigator Tom Bailey, advising a longstanding client that supplied technology to a prominent British Olympic team on trading restraints, employment covenants, IP rights and technology development. Rising star Robert Hickford advised a client on restrictive covenants on leaving a high-profile motorsport team.

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