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Stephen Shotnes

Work 020 3206 2706
Simons Muirhead & Burton


Stephen is a leading practitioner in media and commercial litigation, and in sports litigation/regulatory matters. He is also recognised for his expertise in forensic and investigative work. Before entering the law, he gained a broad experience base as a journalist, a parliamentary researcher, and an editor. His previous experience equips him with a wider perspective on the role of legal issues within the larger context of commerce and public opinion. In the Legal 500 Stephen has been hailed as ‘one of the best forensic solicitors, with a great nose for a case’. He has also been noted for his tenacity and for being ‘sharp as a whip’. He has acted for a wide range of clients, including TV channels/ production companies, a Premier League football club, film finance companies/film makers, celebrities/celebrity management companies, US labor unions, national and local newspapers, book publishers and the government of a South Pacific state.


Qualified 1991. Parliamentary researcher 1983; Assistant Executive Secretary UK Council for Overseas Student Affairs 1984-87; Mishcon de Reya (trainee and solicitor) 1989-95; Goodman Derrick (associate) 1995-97; partner Simons Muirhead & Burton 1997 to date.


York University (BA); University of London (MA); College of Law.

London: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation

Within: Commercial litigation

Simons Muirhead & Burton 'works diligently and is pro-active at all times'. Razi Mireskandari is 'very good and very fair'; Stephen Shotnes advises media groups and the corporate film finance and investment sector on commercial litigation; and consultant Peter Gould 'brings to bear years of commercial litigation experience'.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Media and entertainment (including media finance)

Within: Media and entertainment (including media finance)

Simons Muirhead & Burton regularly handles contentious and non-contentious mandates for media and entertainment sector clients and has significant expertise across film and TV, publishing, sports and music. Simon Goldberg, who is noted for his publishing expertise, and Razwana Akram head the film and TV department, and advised California-based production and finance company Automatik Entertainment and Violet Dreams on the production, finance and distribution of feature film, Teen Spirit. Akram also advised Nutopia on production matters during the development of two proposed series’ for Netflix. Stephen Shotnes heads the film disputes department and defended the Future Film Group on a claim brought by Copthall Ltd regarding the financing of Hollywood film, Odd Thomas. Peter Weiss leads on digital media matters and advised Renowned Films on an investment by US company Critical Content and the sale of its shares owned by Channel 4. Richard Baskind heads the music department and advised Good Soldier Records’ arrangements with Kobalt Label Services for the physical and digital distribution of Good Soldier Records’ repertoire in North, Central and South America; and negotiated an agreement for DJ Alan Walker to become a brand ambassador for electronic dance label, Liquid State. Martin Soames is noted for his publishing expertise and advises Simon & Schuster UK and Penguin Random House on a range of pre-publication clearance issues. The key figures include consultant Alasdair George, who is active in music transactions; Marc Sobol, who leads the broadcasting and sports media department; senior associate Blaise Gaymer, who is active across publishing and digital media work; senior associate Jonny Petch who is ‘excellent’; consultant Damien Yare, who recently joined from Warner Music UK; and senior associate James Greenslade, who specialises in film and TV work. Charles Law has left the firm.

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Within: Sport

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.

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