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London: Human resources

Employment: senior executives
Employment: senior executives - ranked: tier 4

Russells Solicitors

Russells Solicitors advises senior executives from a variety of industries including film, music production, sport and financial services. The firm's work covers a wide range of matters such as termination arrangements, team moves, restrictive covenants and executive contracts. The 'fully engaged, clever and empathetic' John Reid heads the team, and recently advised former England Women’s football team coach Mark Sampson on his employment tribunal claim against his former employers, which was settled on confidential terms.

Practice head(s):John Reid


'John Reid is able to offer serious strategic understanding, backed up by assistants who are able to put the work in to make a success of any case in a very cost-effective manner.'

'John Reid is a fully engaged, clever and empathetic lawyer who fights hard but in an intelligent and considered way.'

Key Clients

Mark Sampson

Ian Pearce

InterTalent Rights Group (previously ROAR Global)

Alacran Group

Coda Agency Limited

Modest Management

UK Music / PRS Foundation (Trustee / HR Advisor)

Michael Flatley

Work highlights

  • Representing Mark Sampson, former coach of the England Women’s football team, in bringing an employment tribunal case against his former employers.
  • Representing a senior executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a complex whistleblowing claim.
  • Providing full time HR support to InterTalent Rights Group, a leading talent agency, including on all senior appointments.

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London: Private client

Family - ranked: tier 5

Russells Solicitors

Russells Solicitors acts for a considerable number of celebrities especially in the music business but also for those in sports, film, TV and the media. The team has also built up a reputation for providing a discreet service through skilful reputation management of its cases. Alongside its celebrity client base it acts for other wealthy individuals such as those working in the financial services industry. In addition it advises on pre- and post-nuptial agreements and has carved out a niche in advising on the breakdown of long-term same-sex relationships. Head of team Carol Ellinas is recommended.

Practice head(s):Carol Ellinas

Other key lawyers:Dario Maggiulli


'It provides a very personal service'.

'It is a thorough and dedicated team'.

'The team is exceptional and hardworking. It provides the highest level of service and its preparation of cases is second to none. The lawyers are approachable'.

'Carol Ellinas is an excellent lawyer. She manages complex cases in a calm and constructive manner. She is astute and strategically minded. She is quick thinking and robust'.

'Carol Ellinas is an experienced litigator and you would always want her on your side if going to court. She has a clear view of what is worth fighting about – but when she does she is very effective'.

'Carol Ellinas has excellent judgement and is very good at stepping back and looking at the big picture. She gives sound advice which is very practical and she tries to cut through some of the inevitable nonsense that can arise in family law matters. Dario Maggiulli is very hardworking and gives his all to his cases'.

'Carol Ellinas, Dario Maggiulli – unusually covering children and financial proceedings providing client with complete service in all areas at top level. A top-class team. Understanding the human side of the work as well as being fully on top of legal proceedings'.

'Dario Maggiulli is hardworking and will go the extra mile for clients'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a prominent musician, separating from his long-term partner, on settlement discussions involving valuable property in the UK and US.
  • Acting for the wife in one of the most significant and valuable celebrity divorces of the year.
  • Providing ongoing family work for an internationally renowned footballer, including a successful challenge to his ex-wife’s use of child maintenance and an application to vary maintenance.
  • Representing the MD of a technology company in divorce negotiations with his wife, including complex issues connected with the valuation of the company in the context of Brexit.
  • Advising a well-known director and author in connection with the collapse of her civil partnership. The matter involved complex TOLATA applications to determine the parties' interests in valuable properties in New York and London.
Leading individuals

Carol Ellinas - Russells Solicitors

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London: Risk advisory

Reputation management
Reputation management - ranked: tier 4

Russells Solicitors

The 'efficient and prompt' media and celebrity specialist Russells Solicitors acts predominantly for claimants, particularly for clients from the music and entertainment sectors. In this capacity, the practice headed by Steven Tregear often negotiates with in-house lawyers  at major media outlets to achieve the best possible outcome for their client list. Apart from handling the usual range of reputation and privacy issues, John Reid, who 'provides superb client care', has also been involved in a number of voicemail tapping cases.

Practice head(s):Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:John Reid


'Russells have some very high profile clients and provide efficient and prompt advice. Able to deal with urgent issues at short notice.'

'John Reid is very good and provides superb client care.'

'The team is hugely knowledgeable, strategic and most important extremely good with clients.'

Key Clients

Jeremy Kyle

Cheryl Tweedy

Modest! Management (managers of One Direction, Little Mix etc)

Curve Media

Patsy Kensit

Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan

Kilimanjaro Live Limited

Kirsty Gallacher

The Estate of George Michael

Bobby Gillespie (frontman of Primal Scream)

Work highlights

  • Handling a wide range of reputation management issues for the singer and former X-factor presenter Cheryl Tweedy, including ongoing privacy and harassment issues following the birth of her son.
  • Ongoing reputation management work for the estate of George Michael, including ground-breaking work related to the right to privacy of a deceased person and their family.
  • Acting for Kilimanjaro Live in a libel dispute with representatives of online ticket reselling marketplace, Viagogo.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Media and entertainment (including media finance)
Media and entertainment (including media finance) - ranked: tier 1

Russells Solicitors

Russells Solicitors has 'the market-leading contentious and non-contentious music law practice'. The team acts for multinational record companies, publishers, leading agencies, artists and producers; and advises on music management, production, touring, sponsorship, recording and publishing agreements, as well as corporate structures, appearances and show agreements. The team has recently handled a number of major publishing deals; Jo Brittain, who heads the new artists team, secured an extension of Wolf Alice's publishing deal with the Kobalt Music Group and negotiated the signing to Polydor of Sam Fender. Chris Gossage and Ryan Vince are noted for corporate and transactional work in the music sector and are often involved in the sale of independent record labels and catalogues. Chris Organ has a 'wealth of experience'; Steven Tregear heads the litigation team which features John Reid; and Gavin Maude heads the music department. Elsewhere, the firm also offers expertise across gaming, digital, social media and publishing mandates. It has recently been bolstered by several hires including Mark Ashelford, who heads the digital and social media practice, from Lee & Thompson LLP and Chloe Forsyth from Harbottle & Lewis LLP. Simon Esplen is the firm's managing partner.

Practice head(s):Simon Esplen

Other key lawyers:Steven Tregear; Gavin Maude; Chris Organ; John Reid; Mark Ashelford; Chris Gossage; Chloe Forsyth; Ryan Vince; Jo Brittain; Simon Jordan; Sebastian Davey; Roger Edwards; Ally Horn


Its key strengths are the depth of commercial insight into the music business and its consistently solid legal advice.

Chris Gossage is the leading music practitioner in respect of corporate music deals; he is always a pleasure to deal with and is extremely experienced and well-connected in this field.

Simon Esplen and Gavin Maude are rightfully highly respected and at the top of their game for commercial music deals for established and emerging talent.

The team is versatile and up to date on all areas of entertainment law in particular.

Jo Brittain is enormously reliable and trustworthy.

They are quality, discreet, reliable and dependable lawyers; they are experienced, have a great perspective, are realistic, friendly and give great advice and are also not clock watchers.

Gavin Maude is font of knowledge, well-connected and commands respect.

Key Clients

George Michael’s Estate


Arctic Monkeys

Florence and the Machine

Universal Group

Global Music Group


Roger Waters

Michael Flatley


Work highlights

  • Advised Coldplay in connection with the recent documentary film Head Full of Dreams, which was released late in 2018, in 2000 cinemas worldwide and on Amazon Prime Video. The advice included all negotiations between the band, the producers and distributors.
  • Acted for long-established heavy metal band, Bullet for my Valentine, in a complicated High Court partnership dispute with two former members, who left in 2014 and 2017 respectively.
  • Representing the estate of George Michael in connection with various stories relating to, for example, the probate.
  • Acted for Andy Macdonald and Independiente Records on its sale to Concord Records.
  • Successfully represeting three of the band members of Deep Purple in dispute with a fourth former member, who attempted to register the trade mark ‘Deep Purple’ for certain goods and services in different categories.
Leading individuals

Chris Gossage (Music) - Russells Solicitors

Chris Organ (Music) - Russells Solicitors

Gavin Maude (Music) - Russells Solicitors

John Reid (Music) - Russells Solicitors

Simon Esplen (Music) - Russells Solicitors

Steven Tregear (Music) - Russells Solicitors

Next Generation Partners

Jo Brittain (Music) - Russells Solicitors

Ryan Vince (Music) - Russells Solicitors

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Sport - ranked: tier 5

Russells Solicitors

Russells Solicitors' sports group predominantly handles disputes, employment matters and reputation management issues for boxers, boxing promoters, managers, agencies and athletes. Litigation specialist Steven Tregear handles contractual disputes for sports and event management clients and acts for individual sportspeople in defamation and privacy cases, whereas Ryan Vince advises agencies and individuals on corporate and commercial contracts. In a recent highlight Tregear advised Hatton Promotions in a dispute over the terms of a promotion agreement and acted for the client in negotiations with a Russian promoter for a contest involving one of the client's boxers, which involved the drafting of anti-doping clauses.

Practice head(s):Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:Ryan Vince


"Russells are passionate about their work and really care about their clients." 

"John Reid and Elizabeth Scandrett are excellent. They have a wonderful personal touch and are great communicators." 

Key Clients

England and Wales Cricket Board

Surrey County Cricket Club

Linford Christie OBE / Nuff Respect

Frank Warren / Queensbury Promotions

Mark Sampson

Hatton Promotions Limited/Ricky Hatton

Wasserman Media Group

Unique Sports Management

ISM Management

Nigel Levine

Work highlights

  • Representing boxing promoter, Frank Warren, in High Court proceedings against his former lawyers, Hill Dickinson, among other issues
  • Representing Mark Sampson, former coach of the England Women’s football team, in bringing an employment tribunal case against his former employers.
  • Advising boxing promoter and trainer Ricky Hatton on the co-promotion of an event at The O2, featuring a headline bout between Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne.
  • Advising Hatton Promotions on a range of matters, including a dispute over the terms of a promotion agreement and negotiations with a Russian promoter for a contest involving one of the client’s boxers.

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Further information on Russells Solicitors

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