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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 > North West > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media and entertainment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Media and entertainment
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

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The ‘excellentJames Whittaker leads the team at Addleshaw Goddard, which acts for a large portfolio of clients on the advertiser/customer side, with an extensive track record of advice on high-profile advertising and sponsorship campaigns. Whittaker is recommended for his experience in drafting brand ambassador contracts, agency contracts and sales promotions. Legal director Rebecca Moore is praised for her work in matters such as copy clearance and sponsorship agreements. In a major highlight the team acted for 2 Sisters Food Group (owners of the Goodfella’s Pizza brand) on the drafting and filing of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority regarding superlative comparative advertising claims that were made by Dr. Oetker in respect of its Ristorante pizza brand in various media, on-pack and across social media. Other clients include Royal Mail, and Marketing Manchester (part of the Manchester Growth Company).

Brabners LLP fields lawyers who are ‘knowledgeable, practical and excellent at anticipating clients’ needs; the team is superb at client care’. Philip Steele is noted for his ‘thorough knowledge of the law combined with good practical sense, which enables him to provide good all-round advice to his clients’. Paul Lunt is also singled out for praise. The ‘terrific’ team routinely acts for clients in the sports, media and entertainment industries on reputation management issues involving media crisis management, misuse of confidential information, libel and slander, in addition to malicious falsehoods. The team provides a range of media and defamation advice to International Sports Agency Management and several of its sports clients.

Gateley Plc provides a ‘consistently excellent service; responses are quick, accurate and helpful’. The ‘enormously helpful and knowledgeableJohn Burns is a ‘very reliable lawyer who gives us reassurance and confidence in what we are doing’ and solicitor Conor Hannon is ‘diligent and quickly grasps the key issues’. The media team assists a wide range of entities such as independent television production companies and broadcasters, in addition to individuals such as film financiers, producers and composers. The team has also been developing its traction among new media clients such as vloggers and Instagram and Youtube users. Highlights included advising on the hosting, broadcasting and other commercial sponsorship arrangements for the Lacrosse World Cup, which is to be held in Manchester in 2018. It also advised Lookers on an agreement with its Audi franchise to use musicion Danny O’Reilly of The Coronas as a brand ambassador. Other clients include Bestival and Everton FC, as well as new clients such as Those Licensing People.

Clients of JMW Solicitors LLP appreciate the team’s ‘very hands-on approach; the team ensures that its clients are given a level of service that is on a par with the Magic Circle in London’. Head of department Nick McAleenan attracts praise for his ‘friendly and knowledgeable demeanour, which makes him one of the most user-friendly solicitors in this area’. He is supported by solicitor Laura Wilkinson. The team has been appointed by the High Court as lead solicitor (representing over 5,500 claimants) in a group litigation claim against Wm Morrisons Supermarkets, which arose from the leak of Morrison’s payroll information in 2014 by a Morrison’s employee. Other key clients include the actress Cath Tyldesley and the British Parking Association and its membership.

Manleys Solicitors fields a team of ‘hardworking lawyers that is genuinely committed to each case. The team is always conscious of keeping costs down and of advising on the most effective course of action for the clients to take.’ Key figures include the ‘exceptionally strong’ Mark Manley and the ‘very thorough and insightful’ Leanne Wheeler, who is ‘very experienced’. The specialist media practice has an extensive celebrity and media industry client base across the UK and also acts for a growing number of high-profile politicians and public figures. It is acting for Professor Mundell in the defence of a defamation case and is advising ex Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook on a derivative claim by Vitalturn that holds all the rights to the New Order trade mark and to the band’s back catalogue. The firm is also known for its experience in pursuing high-value phone hacking claims against publications on behalf of its celebrity clients.

Laura Harper heads a strong team at Shoosmiths LLP that is well known for its work on music law advising artists, managers, lawyers and cultural organisations. It is also skilled at advising on leading festivals with clients such as Future Everything and Liverpool Sound City. In addition it is known for its work in the communications sector advising advertising, design, PR and digital agencies on various issues such as brand protection, advertising regulation and data protection. Following a national competitive tender it has been appointed to Hull UK City of Culture to act as a specialist arts legal adviser on this high-profile cultural and regeneration project. It has also advised Iconix Brand Group (a global brand licensing corporate) on its suite of agreements relating to a high-profile endorsement campaign for its Lee Cooper brand with recording artist Jack Garrett.

Armstrong Legal advises on non-contentious contractual matters for independent film production companies. Lisa Bindahnee is recommended.

Richard Dawson-Gerrard and principal associate Rachael Somerset are the main contacts at Mills & Reeve LLP, which advises corporates, education establishments, high-net-worth individuals and sports clients. It is particularly known for its work on reputation management issues in the sports and education sectors.

Christopher Pugh is a principal contact at Nexus Solicitors Limited. The team continues to advise a number of clients operating in the digital and e-commerce sectors on various issues such as e-commerce and distance selling regulations. It is also active in drafting website terms and conditions and privacy policies, as well as data protection issues, brand management issues and intellectual property matters.

Pannone Corporate LLP has a ‘top-notch team that shows strong commercial awareness and is incredibly focused on providing an efficient, cost-effective service’. Melanie McGuirk is ‘consistently reliable and wise beyond her years’. Also recommended are Amy Chandler, who leads on the non-contentious side, Paul Jonson, and associate Sarah Bazaraa, whose ‘advice and case management is excellent; she is very good at ensuring that desired outcome is achieved’. The team advises on the full range of media work and is acting for the former editor of the News of the World (Irish Edition) in a long-running computer hacking case in the High Court (dating back to 2011). It also acted for the founders of the Parklife Weekender music festival and live music venue The Warehouse Project on the simultaneous sale of a majority interest to Live Nation (the world’s largest live entertainment company).

Andy Booth at SAS Daniels LLP specialises in the music business, book publishing and creative industries generally. He acts for a number of artists including New Order, Pixies, The Coral, Johnny Marr, Blossoms and many other well-known bands. Recent highlights include advising Jane Weaver on the negotiation of a worldwide record deal with Fire Records.

Sean Crotty at Weightmans LLP advises a number of high-profile media and entertainment clients on a wide range of issues, including major video game development agreements, licensing, image rights, and exploitation and recording agreements. His key clients include Playground Games Limited, Novarama Technology SL, Relentless Software Limited, Side (UK) Limited, Secret Sorcery and The Independent Games Developers Association. The team advised Nomad Games in relation to a video game development agreement for a major PC title.

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