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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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United Kingdom > Scotland > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Sport > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Sport
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Harper Macleod LLP’s practice has wide-ranging sports law expertise, encompassing all associated corporate, commercial and employment issues faced by clients in the sport sector. The group is well known for its football and rugby work, but has substantial experience in advising international federations, national governing bodies, tournament organisers, sports clubs, sports people and representatives in all major sporting arenas. Practice head Bruce Caldow, who took over from Rod McKenzie following his move to the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) in January 2018, is lead partner for Sportscotland and the Institute of Sport, for which the group acts as the sole legal provider. Carolyn Morgan advised Commonwealth Games Scotland on an array of issues, including its Team Member Agreement, athlete eligibility, data protection, contractual matters, governance and guidelines for eligible sports to appeal non-selection decisions in relation to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. David Kerr is particularly noted for handling disputes between agents and players, and often appears before the SFA panel. Lorne Crerar and Tom Thomas are also recommended for their exceptional pedigree in sports law.

Addleshaw Goddard acts for clubs and individuals in a wide range of football-related matters. Helena Brown leads on the non-contentious front and draws on significant commercial, IP, IT and data protection compliance expertise. She is currently advising Celtic Football Club on consumer and data protection matters in relation to season ticket, hospitality and match ticket terms and conditions. Experienced litigator Simon Catto often represents players, clubs and agents in the SFA and SPFL at Scottish football tribunals, as well as Court of Arbitration for Sport proceedings and the Dispute Resolution Chamber of FIFA.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s team specialises in football, golf and boxing, but it also acts for clients in a variety of sports on corporate governance issues and disputes. It is also often instructed to negotiate commercial terms with both men’s and women’s international sports teams on behalf of the Scottish Football Association. The practice is headed by the ‘very strong’ Andrew Sleigh, who is noted for providing ‘commercial advice’, particularly set against the political landscape of football. Gary Booth is another key contact, with significant corporate governance and contractual expertise in the context of sport. Other clients include Hampden Park and Royal Troon Golf Club.

The ‘excellent’ team at Burness Paull LLP is particularly strong in football, rugby and golf mandates, and advises sporting governing bodies and sports teams alike. Neeraj Thomas provides ‘great commercial advice’ and acted for the Scottish Football Association in connection with disciplinary charges brought by FIFA in connection with alleged breaches of the Laws of the Game and other competition-specific breaches, following a match against England in which the Scottish team wore the poppy symbol on black armbands. Elaine Farquharson-Black is advising Aberdeen Football Club on its planning application to Aberdeen City Council for £50m community and sports facilities, football academy, stadium and the formation of access roads and parking. Colin Hulme represented the Scottish Rugby Union in a sensitive investigation into the conduct of a club and certain players in relation to a serious off-field incident, which provided the basis for disciplinary charges.

Morton Fraser is noted as ‘very good when it comes to sport law and related advice’, which includes governance issues, property, litigation and employment matters, although it has particular expertise in disciplinary cases. The group is also well placed to handle IP, immigration and licensing work. Iain Young successfully defended Howe of Fife Rugby Football Club, and certain members, against misconduct charges brought by the Scottish Rugby Union in relation to initiation ceremonies; avoiding the threat of relegation, points deductions and potential loss of charitable status. Paul Geoghegan leads on matters involving Scottish Gymnastics and its member clubs, for which the firm is preferred legal adviser.

Anderson Strathern’s clients includes Scottish sporting bodies, clubs and individual players, which it advises on the range of sports law issues. The practice is led by governance and compliance specialist John Kerr, who assisted with the contractual aspects of Badminton Scotland’s bid to host the World Championships in 2017, and is now reviewing the client’s hosting agreement with the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in order to run its Scottish Open Championships as a Grade 6 BWF World Tour Tournament from 2018-2021. He also advised Cricket Scotland on a major restructure of governance, which required the approval by member clubs and the senior management of Tennis Scotland on the exit of its CEO. James Blair and Paul Brown are instructed by Rangers Football Club on a range of employment matters, including a high profile player exit resulting from concerns about his behaviour.

Lindsays predominantly advises Scottish players and athletes in non-contentious mandates, but it also assists sporting clubs with incorporation and corporate governance matters, in addition to event hosting arrangements. The team is co-led by Douglas Roberts and Claire McCracken, both of who are experienced commercial lawyers. Roberts advised the Scottish Building Society on its sponsorship of Scottish Women’s Football; a deal which was a first for the client. David Wood advised the Ladies Golf Union on its reorganisation and subsequent merger with The Royal & Ancient Golf Club. Alastair Keatinge is assisting Carlton Cricket Club with its governance structure and a new constitution.

Noted for ‘good legal advice’, Shepherd and Wedderburn's practice is led by Paul Carlyle, who specialises in IP, branding, sponsorship, commercial partnerships and media rights in the sports industry. He drafted, negotiated and advised The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews on a variety of commercial contracts for the 146th Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017. He also advised Walton Heath Golf Club on the providsions of an agreement with the PGA European Tour to host the British Masters tournament in October 2018. Associate Alison Rochester is another key practitioner, with extensive commercial experience in sport.

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