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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Index of tables

  1. Sport
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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The 'exceptional' team at Bird & Bird LLP provides 'outstanding service'; it is noted for its superb commercial and media expertise, though given its 'peerless breadth of knowledge' it also has excellent regulatory capabilities and is often active in dispute resolution. Active across a range of sports, the department is increasingly experienced in e-sports. 'Brilliant' 'heavyweight' Jonathan Taylor QC, who heads the group, has 'a breadth of expertise that is second to none'; he defended the International Cricket Council (ICC) in arbitration filed by the USA Cricket Association following the latter's expulsion from ICC membership. The 'calm, assured' Max Duthie provides 'considered advice on complex work' and 'is aware of the legal issues as well as the business context' of the matters he handles; the Premier League instructed him on a pricing dispute with Hull City FC, and in disciplinary proceedings against Liverpool FC. Longstanding clients include the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and Arsenal FC. 'Whip-smart, energetic' associate Edwina Haddon 'has a very bright future'. Barrister Elizabeth Riley left to go in-house at the International Paralympic Committee.

Founded in 2017, sports boutique¬†Northridge Law LLP¬†attracts a range of impressive, high-profile work across a range of sports. It comprises market-leading partners and senior associates who had previously been at Charles Russell Speechlys. The 'highly knowledgeable, experienced'¬†Jonathan Ellis¬†is, according to some clients, 'simply the best sports litigator there is'; 'no one has a greater knowledge and experience of regulatory football work'. Ellis and¬†'really impressive operator'¬†James Eighteen, who is 'a calm, reassuring presence', continued to¬†advise the Independent Review Panel ‚Äď a commission set up by various global tennis governing bodies, including the ATP, Tennis Australia and the French Tennis Federation ‚Äď on its high-profile tennis integrity review, begun in 2016 following allegations of match-fixing.¬†'Real go-to adviser' Jon Walters¬†advised the Football Association (FA) on its governance reform. 'Exceptional', 'incredibly well connected' football expert¬†Ian Lynam¬†has 'an engaging personality', and is 'one of the country's foremost experts in commercial sports matters and image rights cases'; he also has a strong line in sports data work. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Chelsea FC and individuals such as Dele Alli and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are among the firm's client roster. Managing associates¬†Ben Rees¬†and¬†Paul Shapiro¬†are highly active.

'Outstanding' sports boutique Onside Law Limited 'always provides good service, and practical, commercial advice'; it wins praise from clients for its 'business acumen, industry knowledge and response times'. The 'practical, no-nonsense, very down-to-earth' Chris Walsh has 'a good grasp of the issues'; he acted for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on a wide range of matters, including governance reform, disciplinary proceedings, media rights agreements and the corporate and commercial aspects of its establishment of a new T20 competition. He also counts Cricket World Cup 2019 as a client. The 'commercially excellent' Simon Thorp has 'strong industry knowledge'; e-sports tournament operator Gfinity instructed him on various corporate and commercial matters. Jamie Singer acted for Saracens RFC on compliance matters and sponsorship agreements, and continues to advise Team Sky on all legal issues, including rider contracts and sponsor and supply agreements. He is also lead counsel to World Rugby, and assisted the ITF with reviewing its anti-corruption programme as well as with several prosecutions of players. The 'very commercial, very sensible' Oliver Hunt heads the practice.

Sports boutique Brabners LLP has excellent strength in depth; commercial and media agreements, employment work, governance issues and advising high-profile clients on strategic matters are its core areas of experience. A large team including Sam Mabon and Colin Bell advised the Commonwealth Games Federation on various corporate and commercial matters, including the establishment of a special purpose vehicle and the negotiation of media, marketing and merchandising agreements. Football is an area of frequent activity for the firm: senior partner Maurice Watkins acted for Barnsley FC on over £10m-worth of player transfers, and Lydia Edgar advised several Premier League teams on safeguarding matters. On the contentious side, senior associate Andrew McGregor represented the Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN) and its president Paolo Barelli in a governance case against the Fédération Internationale de Natation. Sports litigator Philip Steele is also recommended.

Centrefield LLP is a 'fantastic' sports boutique with an especially strong record in football, though it is increasingly active in sports such as rugby, cycling and cricket. Stuart Baird is a regulatory, disciplinary and immigration expert, and is noted for his strength as a litigator; he and Edward Canty have been acting for various sports clubs on a range of anti-doping matters. Canty also assisted the Professional Footballers' Association with the full range of contentious and non-contentious work, including corporate, commercial, employment and defamation matters. David Bentham advised Newcastle United FC on various shirt sponsorship deals, and, along with Baird, assisted the Leicester Tigers with the £500,000 transfer of George Ford from (and Freddie Burns to) Bath Rugby. Other clients of the firm include Manchester City FC, Arsenal FC, British Cycling and Major League Soccer. Matthew Bennett is widely recommended.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's 'extremely strong' department underwent significant transformation in 2017-'18: although it lost Jonathan Ellis, Ian Lynam, Jon Walters and James Eighteen to Northridge Law LLP, it absorbed the team at Couchmans LLP, including well-regarded sports veteran Nic Couchman, digital, data and IP expert Jody MacDonald and corporate and commercial partner Satish Khandke. Couchman heads the group jointly with the 'extremely accomplished' Jason Saiban, who advised Nike European Operations Netherlands on marketing contracts as well as on event-staging arrangements relating to the World Championships in Athletics in London. Litigator Edward Craig, who is a regulatory equestrian specialist, assisted the British Horseracing Authority with rewriting its rulebook. MacDonald advised the ITF on broadcasting, data and sponsorship issues, and acted for the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on agreements involving the collecting and commercialising of live match data. Other clients include Ascot Racecourse, Football DataCo and CSM Sport & Entertainment. Senior associate Stephanie Bonnello is 'an excellent sports litigator'; Nick White is an IP and digital expert who has advised numerous high-profile sportspeople.

The 'excellent' team at DLA Piper is 'fast, well-organised and highly skilled'; it has cross-border capabilities and is particularly experienced in football, horseracing and motorsports. Major media rights transactions are a distinguishing strength: John Cloke acted for the Premier League on its sale of the audio-visual rights to the 2019-'20 and 2021-'22 football seasons, including a lucrative rights agreement for the Chinese market. 'Highly professional' group head Nick Fitzpatrick assisted the British Horseracing Authority with the long-awaited reform of the Horserace Betting Levy, and on the commercial side acted for Football DataCo on its data licensing strategy. He also advised Rakuten on its shirt sponsorship with Barcelona FC. Financing work is another strength of the department: Paul Gray advised Goldman Sachs Bank USA, HSBC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on their £425,000 financing of Tottenham Hotspur FC's new stadium. The 'legally knowledgeable, commercially astute' Ruth Hoy is 'a pleasure to work with'; fellow IP expert John Wilks is 'very careful and thorough'. Simon Levine and Patrick Mitchell are also recommended.

With 'a long history of acting for sports governing bodies on weighty matters', Farrer & Co has 'a strong sports pedigree'; governance, integrity and safeguarding are core strengths, though the team also has longstanding experience in event-staging. Julian Pike has 'great experience' and 'a very good understanding of the needs and pressures faced by his clients'; he advised the Football Association (FA) on the Select Committee inquiry into its handling of bullying and discrimination allegations lodged against former England women's manager Mark Sampson. Senior litigator Adrian Parkhouse is 'calm and effective, with a sound knowledge of the sector', and knows 'exactly what clients expect'; he defended PGA European Tour against a damages claim worth over £200,000, relating to its staging of the golf tournament. Henry Sainty assisted UK Athletics with staging the IAAF World Athletics Championships and the IPC World ParaAthletics Championships in 2017; he also advised the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) on its agreement with The Queen's Club to stage the Aegon Championships. Other clients include the International Canoe Federation and Billericay FC. Kate Allass is 'a strong, effective litigator'; the 'extremely sharp' Paul Jones is 'a great person to have on your side'. Associate Tom Rudkin is widely recommended.

Active across a wide range of sports, the team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP is especially strong in high-profile commercial agreements and event-staging; it counts sportspeople, clubs and governing bodies among its client roster. Group head Bob Mitchell assisted Cricket West Indies with reviewing its governance and contractual relationships, and advised the British Amateur Gymnastics Association on revising its 'Performance Athlete Agreement' for its World Class Programme. He also acted for The Queen's Club on its agreement with the Lawn Tennis Association to stage the Aegon Championships. Michael Lister advised Watford FC on its largest shirt sponsorship deal to date, and assisted Emirates with renewing its sponsorship deals with Arsenal FC and Real Madrid CF. He also acted for Volkswagen on its four-year sponsorship agreement with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). England Hockey, Hennessy Sports Worldwide and the Invictus Games Foundation are additional clients.

Lewis Silkin LLP's 'very responsive', 'deservedly well-regarded' practice has 'good knowledge in sports contexts', especially when it comes to employment and immigration. Commercial and IP work are also key strengths: the widely recommended Alex Kelham assisted the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) with drafting its brand protection guidelines for the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, and, along with Jeremy Summers, advised Ascot Racecourse on security agreements, ticketing issues and sponsorship deals. She also acted for the Northampton Saints on employment, sponsorship and player image rights matters, supported by Alexander Milner-Smith, who provides 'sound commercial advice' and 'doesn't mess around'. The team was instructed by Madison Sports Group on negotiating a broadcast agreement with Eurosport for all six-day cycling events in 2017-'18 and 2018-'19. Other clients include Golazo Sports Marketing and Fulham FC.

Pinsent Masons LLP's 'outstanding' department fields 'knowledgeable lawyers', covers 'numerous areas of sport' and is 'impressively abreast of industry developments'. Sports finance, including property and stadium financings, are distinguishing strengths of the practice, which also handles high-level sponsorship matters and is increasingly active in regulatory work. Noted for his 'great knowledge and practical experience in so much of the sport business', group head Trevor Watkins advised East Lothian Council and Lothians Racing Syndicate on their urgent review of the governance and operation of Musselburgh Racecourse. He also advised Sport England on the regulatory aspects of procurement procedure. Watkins and senior associate Julian Moore acted for Porsche Cars Great Britain on its sponsorship agreement with Ascot Racecourse, marking the client's first foray into UK horseracing. On the real estate side, Nicholle Kingsley assisted 2020 Developments (Luton) with the development of a new stadium for Luton Town FC. Jockey Club Racecourses, Leeds United FC and UK Sport are additional clients.

Noted for its 'prompt response times and excellent service', the multi-departmental team at Squire Patton Boggs is 'well versed in sports work'. Group head Stephen Sampson is primarily a litigator, but often handles non-contentious corporate and commercial work: he and Stuart McInnes advised new client Parkour Earth, the new global governing body for parkour, on its incorporation and establishment. McInnes and senior associate Lloyd Thomas acted for the Saudia Arabian Football Federation in a player transfer dispute, heading a Commission of Inquiry into the transfer of a star player between two Saudia Arabian clubs. Sampson and Thomas assisted Chelsea FC with over £100m-worth of player transfers; Sampson and media expert Robert Wegenek acted for the ITF on the combining of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals, also providing advice on the bidding process for the new event. In the employment space, Matthew Giles continues to advise the trustees of the Professional Footballers' Pension Scheme on governance issues. Nottingham Forest FC is an additional client. Director Tim Lowles is a litigator with particular experience in motorsports.

The 'fast, efficient,¬†exceptional' practice at¬†Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP¬†provides 'a high level of service'. Following the merger between Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP and US firm Bryan Cave in April 2018, the team has been enjoying a more global platform; its specialisms have broadened from football, rugby and athletics to encompass baseball, basketball, hockey and American football. The group assists clients with a variety of legal work, including corporate, commercial, finance, dispute resolution and real estate;¬†Marc Trottier¬†¬†and practice head¬†Graham Shear¬†advised financiers including Rights and Media Funding on receiveables financing transactions involving Premier League clubs such as Everton FC and West Ham United FC. Real estate specialist¬†Matthew Peel¬†and corporate finance expert¬†Catherine Shirley-Brown¬†acted for MotorSport Vision on its purchase of Donington Park's race circuit business for over ‚ā¨120m. Other clients include Malaga CF, Nike, BT and the FA.

CMS's department is well known for its experience in media rights matters, and has 'genuine international capabilities'. Group head David Zeffman acted for the ECB on its sale of the broadcasting and media rights for all domestic and international matches played at home between 2020 and 2024; Sky Sports and the BBC were the buyers. Victoria Gaskell continued to advise Chelsea FC on the international arrangements for its Chelsea TV channel and online service. 'Intelligent, pragmatic, clear and responsive' IP specialist Tom Scourfield has 'a sense of humour', and is 'an excellent team manager with a clear understanding of civil procedure'; he assisted BT Sport with managing and enforcing its IP rights. Commercial expert Susan Barty, who is especially strong in media and advertising, is 'personable, efficient and very responsive'; UEFA is one of her clients.

Noted for its international capabilities, K&L Gates LLP's department is active in a range of areas, including media rights agreements, event staging, marketing, ticketing and competition work, as well as regulatory matters. Michael Llewellyn and practice head Warren Phelops advised Puma on various commercial and regulatory issues, and assisted the West Indies Cricket Board with governance and commercial matters. Both partners also acted for Sony Pictures Network India on several media rights arrangements, including its acquisition of ECB media rights for five years. On the contentious side, John Magnin represented The Racing Partnership, Arena Leisure and Arena Racing in three High Court cases against major bookmakers involving database rights and copyright infringement and breach of confidence. Other clients of the team include Fight Globe, Supponor and the EPFL.

Though it has strong regulatory and contentious capabilities, sports boutique Level Law is best known for its excellent media-related work; its 'industry knowledge is second to none'. Founded in October 2017, the firm fields four partners with longstanding experience in sport work: media specialists Morris Bentata and Dan Harrington, commercial partner Fraser Reid and football regulatory expert Daniel Lowen. The 'extremely responsive' Bentata, who 'has worked on premium sports media rights deals all over the world for many years', provides advice that is 'always rooted in commercial good sense'; Perform Group instructed him on hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of media rights transactions, including in relation to the National Football League (NFL) and the Basketball Champions League. The 'personable', 'extremely knowledgeable' Lowen, who 'always goes the extra mile and is a pleasure to deal with', continued to act for football players and agents in arbitration and High Court litigation. Harrington assisted European Championships Management with organising the multi-sport European Championships 2018 in Glasgow, and Reid acted for clients such as Usain Bolt and Anthony Joshua on sponsorship agreements.

Well known for its 'longstanding history' in sports law, McCormicks is said by some clients to be 'by far the leading firm as regards representing major football bodies'; the Premier League is its most prominent client. Other sports in which the team is experienced include rugby, boxing, athletics, horseracing and motorsports. 'Highly intelligent' name partner Peter McCormick is 'thoughtful and pragmatic', and widely regarded as 'a giant in football-related law'; he is chief adviser to the Premier League, advising it on regulatory matters, corporate due diligence, ownership issues, licensing, insolvency, real estate and dispute resolution. Other football clients include Leeds United FC, Harrogate Town AFC and Walsall FC. Outside of football, shooting is a particular strength: the team advised the Gamekeepers' Welfare Trust on employment matters, acts for the proprietors of 23 grouse, pheasant or partridge shoots, and assists members of the public with obtaining firearms certificates. Other clients include McLaren F1 Team, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the Leeds Rhinos.

Mishcon de Reya LLP has made 'a significant splash in the sports market in recent years' and 'attracts high-quality work, particularly but not exclusively in football'; it 'provides exceptional service in all areas', and 'makes clients feel at ease'. 'Outstanding', 'astute' group head Liz Ellen has 'a great reputation'; 'steely and determined', she is 'one of the toughest negotiators one will ever meet', and 'grasps complex matters very quickly'.  She acted for Matchroom Sport on various promotions, including the heavyweight bout between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium. The team often handles cutting-edge matters: Ellen assisted with setting up an e-sports league in Ireland, and advised Player Lens on various aspects of its cloud-based software. Other clients of the team include World Snooker and the ITF. On the contentious side, 'extremely knowledgeable, very personable' managing associate Mehmet Karagoz 'understands cases immediately'; 'outstanding', 'extremely conscientious' managing associate Edward Carder 'adds significant depth to the team', 'goes the extra mile' and has 'a scientific background that means he is brilliant in anti-doping cases'. Legal director Peter Nunn is recommended for motorsports work; Lewis Cohen is another name to note, as is associate Anne Rose. Arbitration expert Kendrah Potts left to join the Bar in October 2017.

Morgan Sports Law  is well known for its superb experience in anti-doping, selection and corruption matters; its 'market-leading' team comprises 'excellent and approachable lawyers, highly respected in their field'.  'Exceptional sports practitioner' Mike Morgan has 'a razor-sharp mind and a real passion and drive for his clients'; he is 'tough and resolute', and 'his knowledge of anti-doping is second to none'. Morgan represented Chris Froome in a high-profile anti-doping investigation, and defended Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury in anti-doping proceedings. He was assisted in both cases by 'exceptional' litigator Richard Martin, who is 'extremely good on in-depth matters'. Other clients include tennis player Daniel Evans, cricketer Kusal Perera and professional show-jumper Paige Johnson. 'Very diligent' senior associate Donna Bartley takes 'a sensible, considered approach to everything'; 'driven, determined' associate Yama Otung is 'a real up-and-comer'.

As well as providing 'outstanding service' on advertising, marketing and GDPR matters, RPC's 'client-oriented' department is frequently active in regulatory and commercial disputes; it fields a tax team that has been especially busy in football. 'Excellent leader, thinker and decision-maker' Jeremy Drew is 'personable, practical, approachable' and 'brilliant to work with'; he acted for Newcastle United FC in a high-profile investigation regarding player transfers and agents' fees. 'Sound thinker and strong communicator' Nicole Jahanshahi pays 'excellent attention to detail'; she has 'a strong work ethic' and is 'a pleasure to work with'. Drew and Jahanshahi advised the English Lacrosse Association on various regulatory and commercial matters, including in relation to the FIL Rathbones Women's Lacrosse World Cup 2017. Betting and data are strengths of the department: Betconstruct and several media organisations and platforms are clients. The practice has additionally won praise for being 'proactive when it comes to equality and diversity'.

Widely praised for its expertise in sports data and e-sports, Sheridans' 'cutting-edge' practice has 'the perfect combination of hard work, diligence and knowledge', and provides 'a fantastic level of service'. 'Hugely accomplished' regulatory expert Andrew Nixon is 'a smooth operator'; he advised UK Sport and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport on the bid and assessment process for the selection of a city to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. On the e-sports side, Nixon assisted multiplayer games platform and e-sports content producer Faceit with establishing the Esports Championship Series, the world's largest non-publisher e-sports league. Daniel Geey is 'a leading light in football law'; he regularly handles commercial, contractual and transfer matters, and is also active in other sports such as basketball. Associate Jonny Madill continues to 'carve out a niche for himself in sports law'; 'knowedgeable' associate Christopher Paget 'understands the industry well', having made 'a seamless transition from being a professional cricketer'.

With sports charities and governing bodies featuring highly on its client roster, the team at Bates Wells is known for its strength in the charity sector; it also acts for individual sportspeople and assists the Commonwealth Games Federation with restructuring and governance matters, event-hosting agreements and commercial contracts. Thea Longley continued to advise Football Foundation on its sports funding programme Parklife, which aims to better co-ordinate the provision of high-quality football facilities. Other clients include the Rugby Football Union, the Lawn Tennis Association, Table Tennis England and the Premier League Charitable Fund. Martin Gunson is particularly strong in advising sports bodies on obtaining security for grants; associate Lucas Atkin is recommended for sports-related data protection. Of counsel Jane Lougher is highly active in the sports sector.

Noted as 'a go-to practice for particularly heavy sports litigation, involving complex analysis of extensive evidence', the team at Clifford Chance LLP has excellent multi-jurisdictional capabilities. Carlos Conceicao's 'expertise in running global investigations and leading complex disputes is a formidable asset to sports law clients'; he represented one high-profile client in an anti-doping case. 'Very commercial up-and-comer' and group head Christopher Yates is 'a fine tactician' and 'good with clients'; he 'knows the football industry backwards'. 'Excellent senior associate' James Cranston  is 'brainy, hardworking', 'always in command of the detail' and 'a joy to work with'. Yates and Cranston advised VB Football Assets and Baltic International Bank in a claim against Blackpool Football Club Properties, the majority shareholder of Blackpool FC, regarding the non-payment of income due under an investment agreement. In cross-border commercial work, 21st Century Fox instructed Daniel Sandelson on its media rights deal with the West African Football Union, and on the two parties' partnership to develop a football tournament. The practice's other clients include McLaren Group, Arsenal FC and World Rugby,

The 'well-established' practice at Dentons often handles high-level work, including M&A, event bids and planning. Group head Richard Barham is noted for his 'extensive knowledge of the intersection between sport and the government'; he also advised Eventica Communications on its deal with Hunan Maiden Sports Industry Development to organise and host the World Football Forum in Changsha, in China's Hunan province. Indeed, the practice's links with China are strong: other clients include the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and China Sports & Entertainment. Consultant Adrian Barr-Smith is often active on sports work: he acted for F1 driver Kevin Magnussen and Jack & Jones on their driver and sponsorship agreement with the new Renault F1 team. He also advised new client Saracens FC on several contracts and a dispute. Competition expert and managing associate Alex Haffner left to join Fladgate LLP in June 2017.

Media and entertainment expert Tom Guida, who is New York- and UK-qualified, is the key contact at Fieldfisher; he has acted for sports governing bodies and broadcasters, and is experienced in joint ventures and commercial transactions. Advertising and sponsorship are the department's core strengths; it also handles sports finance and has experience in regulatory investigations. Manchester-based senior associate Debbie Nicholson  is a regulatory expert; director Marsili Hale is recommended for sports finance. Corporate finance and property finance consultant Patrick Cannon is also active in the space. Clients include Adidas, London Sport, Sport England and the IAAF.

Fladgate LLP's growing practice frequently handles athletics, boxing and cricket as well as football, and counts event management, commercial rights deals and corporate matters as particular strengths. Group head James Earl acted for London 2017 on corporate governance, funding agreements, insurance issues and regulatory matters relating to its delivery of the IAAF World Athletics and Para Athletic Championships. He also advised Sponserve on licensing agreements, including with the Premier League, regarding a new software solution to help clubs and governing bodies manage and deliver their sponsorship assets. In July 2017 the department welcomed competition expert Alex Haffner from Dentons; he brought with him clients such as the ECB, which he advised on selling broadcast rights in Africa to Econet.

Praised for its 'very strong niche in sports law' and 'great strength in depth', Kerman & Co's practice 'works extremely well at very short notice and in high-pressure scenarios'; it is 'a leading outfit for event management, including ticketing matters and related commercial disputes', and has 'a very impressive client portfolio'. It regularly acts for rights-holders on large transactions: Zane Shihab acted for Abbott World Marathon Majors on its ten-year partnership with Wanda Group to develop racing events internationally. With 'encyclopaedic knowledge of sports cases over the years', department head Nick Bitel 'looms large in the sector'; senior associate James Thorndyke 'fights his clients' corner hard', and is 'impressive on ticketing work'. Both lawyers assisted UEFA with enforcing its ticketing terms and conditions at the Champions League Final in 2017. Tennis and horseracing are also areas of particular activity. 'Hardworking, committed' associate Emma Shaw is 'wise beyond her years'.

Russell-Cooke LLP's 'astute' team is 'always readily available' and 'understands the sector'; particularly experienced in contentious work, it 'simply wants to win cases as efficiently as possible'. The practice is 'strong in regulatory and governance matters, including the skilful handling of disciplinary cases': it continues to represent Chelsea FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC and their players in a range of contentious matters. 'Hardworking, diligent and forceful advocate' Matt Bosworth, who heads the group, is 'a leading expert in private criminal prosecutions'; he has experience across 'a broad spectrum of sports law', though he is singled out for his 'vast IP experience' and 'growing stature in television rights'. He and 'strategic, skilful advocate' Peter Cadman, who is a 'shrewd, tough and commercial' consultant, assisted Sky UK with protecting its IP in relation to European sports broadcasts. Other clients include British Fencing, Esher Tennis Club, Surbiton Hockey Club and weightlifter Sonny Webster.

Noted for advising high-profile football clients on large, complex matters, the department at Slaughter and May is led by regulatory and transactional expert Andrew Jolly. He and Jane Edwarde acted for Arsenal FC on all its player transfers, and advised it on its agreement with Become Energy to construct and operate a battery storage facility at the Emirates Stadium. Jolly also acted for Everton FC on corporate, commercial, financing and governance matters. Additionally in the football sector, construction specialist Richard Todd and sports expert David Ives assisted Tottenham Hotspur FC with the £800m construction of its new 61,000-seat stadium. Other clients include Goals Soccer Centres and, outside of football, Boat Race Company.

The 'very helpful, knowledgeable' practice at The Sports Consultancy is 'grounded and reliable'; it acts for governing bodies, commercial partners and event organisers across a variety of sports. Ashley Blake assisted World Rugby with updating its hosting agreement for the 2023 World Cup, and advised UK Athletics on various commercial agreements, including sponsorship deals. He also acted for the IAAF on the overhaul on the hosting documentation for several of its events, including the World Indoor Championships. Commercial expert Andy Korman joined from Harbottle & Lewis LLP in October 2017; the arrival of consultant David Becker, who has worked in-house at the International Cricket Council (ICC) and assisted South African with its bid to host the 2023 World Cup, further bolstered the firm's expertise. London Championships, European Professional Club Rugby and and Volvo Ocean Race are among the firm's client roster.

The 'quick, thorough' team at Wiggin LLP provides 'tailored advice and an excellent level of service', 'turning work around in very short timeframes'; its industry knowledge is 'second to none', and it inspires 'complete confidence' in clients. Media rights transactions are its core strength: group head Ross Sylvester, who has 'great business knowledge which he uses expertly to address the key issues', advised Perform Group on its partnership with the National Football League (NFL), giving it broadcast rights for NFL games across over a hundred countries. He also assisted DAZN with winning the German and Japanese broadcast rights for Champions League and Europa League matches. Other clients include Manchester United and PokerStars. Betting and gaming expert Stephen Ketteley, who is 'very personable but can fight in the trenches with the best of them', 'works at pace without compromising attention to detail'.

Consultant Mel Stein heads the practice at Clintons, which assists clients with contentious and non-contentious matters, mostly in football. In the football space, Stein acted for the National League on its new broadcasting contract with BT Sport, as well as advising it on sponsorship issues. Sportquake instructed him on commercial, sponsorship and marketing agreements with football clubs such as Manchester City, Arsenal, Everton and Newcastle. Litigator Karim Bouzidi successfully represented former footballer Joey Barton in an appeal case regarding alleged gambling offences; he also acted for The Sports PR Company in a High Court case against footballer Calum Chambers regarding the latter's alleged non-payment for services. Other clients include the Association of Football Agents and Netball England.

Noted for its 'expertise in amateur and professional motorsports', DAC Beachcroft LLP's department is also often active in football, cricket and rugby. Manchester-based group head Jan Levinson, a commercial litigator with particular knowledge of sports injuries and regulatory matters, acted for Manchester United FC on licensing issues; Nicholas Taylor advised Brighton & Hove Albion FC on property matters regarding its stadium. In cricket, Ken Forsyth advised the ECB's Cricket Discipline Commission on amendments to, and the implementation of, the ECB's disciplinary rules and procedures. The Bristol-based Andrew Allan-Jones acted for Worcestershire CCC on its five-year sponsorship deal with Blackfinch. On the contentious side, Clive Garston represented TLA Worldwide in commercial litigation. Other clients of the practice include Bradley Wiggins and the National Autograss Sport Association.

Particularly active in football, boutique firm Fletcher Sports Law advises players, agencies and managers on contentious and non-contentious matters; rugby, snooker and darts are other sports of expertise. High-profile football player transfers are a strength of the practice, as are image rights matters, agency disputes, defamation and sponsorship agreements. Consultant Paul Fletcher is the key contact; associate Tom Grant is also active in the space.

Noted for its ever-growing strength in alternative and short-format sports, the team at Hamlins LLP  is also regularly active in football, motorsports and cricket. Group head Matthew Pryke acted for the ECB on the corporate structuring, operations and venue arrangements for the 2019 Cricket World Cup; he also continued to advise MTB Ventures on structuring, growing and broadcasting its Tie Break Tens tennis series, including events in Australia and New York that involved such players as Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and the Williams sisters. Sports media and content provider La Liga Lowdown instructed Pryke on structuring and securing various rights, involving negotiations with high-profile figures in Spanish football. Other clients include UK Sport, Locura Adventures and sports management agency B66 Group. Christopher Hutchings is recommended for reputation management and defamation work.

The team at Hogan Lovells International LLP handles a wide range of work, acting for governing bodies, federations and sports-sector manufacturers as well as commercial partners; IP work and disability sports are particular areas of expertise. Commercial expert Richard Welfare advised the British Paralympic Association (BPA) on governance and sponsorship matters as well as IP and media work; he also acted for the UK Boccia Federation on its rebranding and related trade mark registrations. Additional IP work saw the International Paralympic Committee instruct Sahira Khwaja on trade mark filings, and Adidas instruct Charlie Winkworth on anti-counterfeiting matters. On the real estate side, Daniel Norris acted for AFC Wimbledon on its acquisition of a new stadium site in the London borough of Merton. Other clients of the practice include Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby and the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation.

Southampton-based dispute resolution expert Hannah Clipston heads the practice at Irwin Mitchell, which handles sports work out of several UK offices. Clipston and the Gatwick-based Tom Barnard advised the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences on reviewing its appeals policy; Barnard and employment expert Simon Fenton assisted Jess Varnish with bringing an unfair dismissal case against British Cycling. On the private client side, the Chichester-based Michael Taylor continues to advise numerous high-profile sports people on wealth management and tax compliance matters. Stuart Padgham advised a large nutrition company on its sponsorship agreements with rugby player James Haskell and hockey player Alex Danson.

Macfarlanes LLP's department is led by commercial contracts and IP expert Jeremy Courtenay-Stamp; its clients have included Umbro and the UCI Independent Commission. Commercial litigator and arbitrator Geoff Steward has experience in the sector.

The 'very good' team at Mills & Reeve LLP is particularly strong in litigation and arbitration, though it also handles non-contentious regulatory matters and private client work. The 'quick-minded, very competent' Mark Hovell is 'a great lawyer' and 'very good to work with'; he heads the team jointly with consultant and Latin America expert Carol Couse, who is fluent in Spanish. Hovell acted for the English Football League (EFL) as a witness of fact during its financial regulatory dispute against Queens Park Rangers FC; he also advised the ITF on a legal challenge brought by a member of the ITF from India regarding proposed alterations to the Davis Cup and Federation Cup formats. Richard Santy represented Eniola Aluko in potential claims against the FA concerning racial discrimination. Other clients of the practice include the National Anti-Doping Panel, the FA and several national associations of sportspeople, such as the Professional Cricketers' Association.  'Fantastic' principal associate and commercial litigator Rachael Somerset is 'a pleasure to work with'.

Traditionally strong in sailing, equestrian sports and motorsports, Payne Hicks Beach's practice has been increasingly active in football and boxing thanks to the arrival of Hanna Basha from Hill Dickinson LLP in 2017; she is an expert in defamation, privacy and data protection, and advised Everton FC on several media-related issues. Her other clients include boxing luminaries Frank Bruno and Don King. Sailing expert Jonathan Gatward heads the department; Sarah Webb is recommended for equestrian matters, particularly horse transaction contracts. Dominic Crossley is recommended for litigation, and is especially experienced in motorsports. DNAFit, Pineapple Dance Studios and the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation are longstanding clients of the team; Kalle Sauerland is a recent client win.

Media and commercial expert Marc Sobol heads the group at Simons Muirhead & Burton, which is also experienced in regulatory work and litigation; charity-related matters are another area of activity. Sobol advised European Professional Club Rugby on its award, via auction, of exclusive pay TV rights to BT Sport, including a cross-border media rights licensing agreement. He also advised the client on its sale of free-to-air TV rights in the UK and Ireland. Watford FC instructed Stephen Shotnes on reputation management matters following the English Football League's investigation of the club for alleged financial misconduct. Consultant Laurie Cooke continues to advise British Eventing on sponsorship, marketing and data protection matters. Other clients include Cage Warriors, Total Performance data and the Professional Squash Association Foundation. Simon Goldberg and commercial associate Anne Rose are also active in the sports space.

Burges Salmon LLP's practice is best known for its regulatory strength in equestrian sports; it has experience in constitutional and governance issues, integrity, anti-doping and financial regulatory work. Horseracing specialist Laura Claydon defended Jockey Club Racecources in High Court proceedings brought by bookmakers regarding the establishment of betting areas as Cheltenham Racecourse. Other longstanding clients of the team include Bristol City FC and the Racecourse Association; Virgin Sport is a new client. As well as football and horseracing, motorsport is an area of experience for the firm. The department is led by anti-doping and integrity expert Jeremy Dickerson, who counts Gunn & Moore as a client. Roger Bull has experience in sports-related employment work, Helen Scott-Lawler is a commercial and media rights expert, and senior associate James Pheasant is recommended for regulatory and anti-doping work.

'Sports media specialist' Raj Koria is the key contact at Halebury; he is noted for his in-house experience at FIFA and Sportfive as well as for his extensive experience in private practice. Koria advised FIFA on its cross-border agreement with a sales representative regarding the sale of sponsorship rights to certain FIFA competitions; he also acted for the federation on sale of the broadcast rights for its ceremony 'The Best FIFA Football Awards'. Dentsu Sports Europe instructed Koria on the sale of broadcast rights to several competitions run by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique. Sky and BT Sport are recent client wins.

Especially strong in litigation and arbitration, the team at Hill Dickinson LLP is particularly experienced in football. The Manchester-based Geraldine Ryan acted for Triple S Sports & Entertainment Group in a £400,000 damages claim against a former employee and football agent, which was resolved through mediation. Richard Green defended rugby agent Andrew Clarke in a High Court case brought by Castleford Tigers RLFC regarding Denny Solomona's transfer to Sale Sharks; Green was assisted by senior associate David Keenan, who is 'a great all-round lawyer with commercial nous'. Green also advised Manchester City FC and England U17 footballer Phil Foden on sponsorship arrangements. Other clients include GB Taekwondo, Lancashire CCC and the Dallaglio Foundation. Consultant Louise Millington-Roberts is recommended for ticketing, sponsorship, rights management, brand protection and event management.

Howard Kennedy LLP's 'high-calibre' sports practice 'tailors its service to its clients' needs', and is 'well connected in the worlds of football, rugby, golf and horseracing'. Lois Langton, who has 'a long history of acting for sports individuals', heads the group jointly with the 'fearless' Fiona Hinds, who has 'great technical skills and good judgement'. Litigator Joel Leigh is 'quick to reach the heart of the matter' and 'experienced in acting for premiership footballers'; he has 'the skills of the pure sports lawyer as well as the expertise and approach of a generalist'. 'Very experienced' litigator Craig Emden has 'a cool head and a strategic approach'. Clients of the department include The Club Company. Employment and governance expert Sam Murray-Hinde arrived from Hewitsons in May 2017.

Keystone Law's 'excellent' team has 'a range of specialist expertise', and is praised for its 'speedy response times'. 'Quick, practical, clear communicator' Rachel Flynn is an 'extremely helpful' equestrian expert, 'really understands the industry, and cuts through to the key issues'; she 'makes complex, difficult situations a lot easier to handle'. Flynn assisted Jockey Club Racecources with various constitutional and sponsorship matters, and advised the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association on the employment, debt recovery, insurance and horse-sale aspects of its members scheme. Other clients include World Wrestling Entertainment, Pitch International and golfer Paul McGinley. Employment expert Nick Tsatsas is often active in the sports sector; he arrived from Fladgate LLP in December 2017. Lucy Blick-Jones is an 'extremely thorough, efficient and very likeable' IT and GDPR expert with 'excellent knowledge'. Morris Bentata left to join Level Law in October 2017.

Covering 'a broad range of sports work', including commercial disputes, transactional work, reputation management and regulatory matters, the team at¬†Kingsley Napley LLP¬†has 'a very deep understanding of the sector'. 'No-nonsense' group head¬†Sue Thackeray¬†has 'an unrivalled knowledge of motorsports', and 'marries a broad legal knowledge with a disarming manner¬†‚Äď the other side doesn't know it's been hit 'til it's on the floor'.¬†Ryan Mowat¬†'loves nothing better than turning a difficult case into a winner'; he acted for Rangers FC in a long-running commercial dispute with Sports Direct, which was settled in June 2017.¬†'Elder statesman'¬†Gerard Cukier¬†and criminal expert¬†David Sleight¬†are also active in sports litigation.

'One to watch' in the sports sector,¬†Penningtons Manches Cooper¬†has been 'building up its sports practice with real energy'; motorsports, power-boat racing, football and golf have been particular areas of activity. Exemplifying the practice's strength in commercial litigation, the 'committed', 'energetic and highly accomplished'¬†Richard Marshall¬†continued to advise the Ortiz-Pati√Īo estate on its potential ‚ā¨15m breach of contract claim concerning its sale of Valderrama Group, owner of the Valderrama Golf Club. Immigration is another area of expertise:¬†Hazar El-Chamaa¬†acted for an e-sports tournament organiser on obtaining a visa for an e-sports player to enable him to play in a UK competition, and advised one international footballer on the impact of Brexit on his transfer to a UK premiership club. Rennes FC is another client. 'Very pragmatic'¬†employment and disciplinary expert¬†Andrew Haywood¬†heads the department, and is 'ambitious for outcomes for his clients'.

Though it acts for sports clubs and management agencies, the department at Russells Solicitors is especially strong in acting for sportspeople; media work is a particular area of expertise. Employment expert John Reid is active mostly in contentious work: in a case that settled successfully in 2017, he represented triple-jumper Nathan Douglas in claims against UK Athletics and an Italian training facility after Douglas suffered a serious ankle injury at the latter. Other clients include the ECB, Surrey CCC and Linford Christie. Litigator Steven Tregear heads the group.

Football and motorsports are the linchpins of Stephenson Harwood's practice, which is led by Louis Flannery QC. Within football, insolvency-related work is a particular strength: the 'superb' Julian Cahn, who is especially active in the sports sector, continued to defend the liquidators of RFC 2012 (formerly Rangers FC) against a £27m claim brought by Ticketus regarding its ticket purchase agreement. He also acted for the trustees in Boris Becker's bankruptcy proceedings, and advised the joint receivers of the shares in Global Gaming Ventures (Developments). Construction is another area of activity for the department: Jonathan Cripps continued to act for Heads of the Valley Development on the £425m construction of a motorsports complex in South Wales. Elsewhere, James Quarmby advised Legacy Community Foundation, set up to provide sports training and facilities in disadvantages areas, on its creation and registration with the Charity Commission.

The 'very streetwise' team at Thomas Cooper LLP 'really knows its stuff', and 'services a coterie of very significant sports clients, particularly agents'; it is noted for its 'first-rate, cost-effective service' and for 'achieving results with a minimum of fuss'. Football is the practice's key strength: the 'smart, enthusiastic' James Severn, who heads the group jointly with 'hugely experienced' employment expert Nick Humphreys, advised Morgan Schederlein on his transfer from Manchester United FC to Everton FC. Seven also regularly advises football agents on the FA's regulatory requirements, and represents players in contract disputes with their agents. Outside of football, Humphreys and 'conscientious' associate Alex Brooks, who 'goes the extra mile', assisted rugby union player Joseph Stokes in successful proceedings against the Rugby Football Union to get his four-year playing ban reduced by 50%.

Based in Leeds, Walker Morris LLP leaves clients 'extremely satisfied' with its service; transactional work involving football clubs is a particular strength, though it also handles litigation and is active in sports such as boxing. 'Extremely knowledgeable, approachable and pragmatic dealmaker' David Hinchliffe is 'a stand-out partner' and heads the group, acting for NF Football Investments on its £30m purchase of Nottingham Forest FC (as well as on all the club's transfer window activity in 2017), and advising Renhe Sports Management on its purchase of a 75% stake in Reading FC for more than £50m. He assisted Amir Khan with the re-launch of his career, including sponsorship deals and media appearances. Leeds United FC instructed the team in regulatory appeal proceedings against the FA. Other football club clients include Crystal Palace, Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton Wanderers.

With excellent cross-border capabilities, the team at Winston & Strawn London LLP regularly handles corporate work, regulatory matters and litigation in numerous sports. Michael Stepek acted for Bulgarian football club CSKA Sofia in an appeal against UEFA before the CAS, regarding the team's eligibility to play in the 2017-'18 and 2018-'19 Europa League tournaments despite its insolvency in 2016. On the transactional side, Nicholas Usher advised one of the main shareholders in Swansea City FC on the club's sale to a group of US private equity investors. Department head Peter Crowther, who splits his time between London and Brussels, continued to advise the British Athletes Commission (BAC) on issues affecting elite athletes, such as duty of care, selection matters, anti-doping, and communications with governing bodies. Competition expert Jade-Alexandra Fearns is an associate recommended for regulatory and disciplinary matters.

Disciplinary and regulatory specialist Richard Lane heads the practice at Wright Hassall LLP, which frequently acts for national governing bodies and is especially knowledgeable about governance matters and charity law. Commercial expert Christine Jackson advised British Showjumping on renegotiating its contract with Grandstand Media to manage and operate the 'Horse of the Year' show, and assisted British Dressage with event management and an 18-month software development agreement with a new IT supplier. Corporate partner Robert Lee advised the English Schools' Football Association and the Bowls Development Alliance on unrelated governance matters; he also acted for Premier Sports Holdings on its investment in B11 Education. Other clients include Archery GB and Southam RUFC. Senior associate Nathan Talbott is another name to note.

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