Russells Solicitors > London, England > Firm Profile

Russells Solicitors

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media: Music Tier 1

Russells Solicitors is an expert in catalogue sales and has an enviable client base which includes major record companies, publishers, producers, agencies, established and up-and-coming artists and writers. Music head Gavin Maude works with artists and executives and focuses on emerging talent (an area in which Jo Brittain is further instructed), although is also well-placed to advise film production and digital start-up companies, while litigation head Steven Tregear specialises in copyright infringement, contractual and audit claims. Maude and Tregear co-head the practice with managing partner Simon Esplen, who represents various music clients on commercial and contractual matters. Other recommended individuals include Ryan Vince, who is known for building long-term relationships with entrepreneurial clients, corporate head Chris Gossage and senior consultant Chris Organ. Experienced litigator Henry Priestley joined from RPC in December 2022.

Practice head(s):

Simon Esplen; Gavin Maude; Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:

Chris Organ; Chris Gossage; Jo Brittain; Chloe Forsyth; Ryan Vince; Henry Priestley; Simon Jordan; Ally Horn; Elizabeth Scandrett; Mark Walker; Alex Cole


‘Russells are the best we have worked with – easily contactable and quick to react.’

‘They have a very diverse and strong client base and attract a considerable amount of new talent as their reputation and client roster is compelling.’

‘Jo Brittain is always available and very responsive. Though a very tough and thorough negotiator, he is fair and reasonable. He attracts very compelling clients as he is known as not only an excellent lawyer but as a music lover, who musicians and artists are able to relate to.’

‘Specialised and skillful team that is aware of everything from daily boiler-plate contract issues right the way up to complex corporate affairs and rights management.’

‘We rate them highly for anyone seeking exquisite counsel in the music and entertainment space.’

‘Chris Gossage provides a professional and friendly service that is honest, considerate and strategic.’

‘They’re tough when they need to be, and they’re extremely sharp with what’s going on in the market. The next generation of talent coming through – including Alex Cole.’

‘The team are very up to date with new laws and issues. The associates support the partners incredibly well.’

Key clients

George Michael’s Estate / George Michael Entertainment


Arctic Monkeys

Florence and the Machine

Universal Music Group


Clean Bandit

Roger Waters


Amy Winehouse’s Estate

Kobalt Music

Sam Fender

Michael Ball & Alfie Boe


Wolf Alice

Domino Recording Company Ltd

Sam Fender

BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

Primal Scream

Warner Music Group


Stock Aitken Waterman

Trevor Horn

Work highlights

  • Advising Coldplay on its global touring arrangements for the ‘Music of the Spheres’ tour, including all supplier agreements, sponsorship agreements and arrangements surrounding the group’s related sustainability initiatives.
  • Acted for the owners of Bob Marley’s music copyrights (Blue Mountain / Primary Wave / Blackwell Fuller / Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Limited) in High Court litigation commenced by Cayman Music Ltd.
  • Advising Wolf Alice on its new recording arrangements with Sony.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media: Film & TV Tier 2

Russells Solicitors has developed considerable expertise in the film and television space, acting for production companies, individual actors, presenters and other artists. Typical work involves negotiating presenter agreements, option agreements, production and production services agreements, and other commercial contracts, as well as high-profile corporate transactions. Managing partner Simon Esplen and music head Gavin Maude lead the team alongside Steven Tregear, who handles copyright infringement, contractual, and audit claims on the contentious side. The contentious-focused Henry Priestley joined from RPC in December 2022.

Practice head(s):

Simon Esplen; Gavin Maude; Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Gossage; Henry Priestley; Sebastian Davey; Roger Edwards; Mark Walker


‘Gavin Maude is the best, most holistic and savvy lawyer I have met, but also has strong ethics in the way he goes about his business.’

‘We’ve worked with Chris Gossage for two decades. He and his team provide a professional, friendly service which is honest, considerate and strategic. They’re tough when they need to be, and the\’re extremely sharp with what’s going on in the market.’

The way you can work with any of the partners – Gavin Maude, Chris Gossage, or Simon Esplen – and then they segue to working on the paperwork with the associates such as Roger Edwards is great. Russells work as a team on so many problems, you feel like you have the entire office and their knowledge helping you with any problem.’

Key clients

Curve Media Limited


Up the Game

Stock Aitken Waterman

Portobello Productions

Tyburn Film Productions Ltd

The Estate of George Michael


DJ Target / Rinse FM / DJ Geeneus

Work highlights

  • Acting for Curve Media and its shareholders (including the BBC) on its high-profile sale to Night Train Media.
  • Advising Andrew Ridgeley and the Estate of George Michael on the forthcoming documentary about Wham! This included negotiating contracts and advising on IP licensing issues.
  • Representing Portobello Production in a dispute over its agreement with SunnyMarch Ltd to create a film of the Roald Dahl book Danny the Champion of the World.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media: Theatre, publishing and other media Tier 2

Russells Solicitors has a notable offering in both the theatre and publishing sectors, with a client roster that includes individual writers, celebrities looking to negotiate book deals, household name theatre companies and producers, traditional publishers and talent management agencies. Senior associate and IP expert Sebastian Davey is an essential contact in the team, handling brand partnerships, merchandising and sponsorship matters, and the marketing and exploitation of digital content. Litigation head Steven Tregear comes recommended for defending copyright infringement, contractual and audit claims.

Practice head(s):

Simon Esplen; Gavin Maude; Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:

Chloe Forsyth; Sebastian Davey


‘Russells have a lot of strength in depth. I’ve worked with four of their partners and a similar number of associates and always feel confident that their knowledge, understanding and effort will be first class.’

‘Russells contains an extremely specialised and skilful senior team that is aware of everything from daily boiler-plate contract issues right the way up to complex corporate affairs and rights management. We’ve been working with Russells for over 20 years and would rate them highly for anyone seeking exquisite counsel in the music and entertainment space.’

‘Russells are the best lawyers we have worked with, they are easily contactable and quick to react. The team are very up to date with new laws/issues etc and the associates support the partners incredibly well.

‘They have a very diverse and strong client base and attract a considerable amount of new talent as their reputation and client roster is compelling. In recent years they have been very early on new deals, they have researchers that scour the internet for potential talent, I am not aware of other firms that do this.’

‘They keep very much abreast and ahead of innovations and challenges that the music industry faces, and give up to date and constructive advice.’

Key clients

The Estate of Wilbur Smith

Trevor Horn

Petronella Ravenshear

Work highlights

  • Advising the estate of novelist Wilbur Smith on all literary publishing matters, including ongoing arrangements with his publisher Zaffre.
  • Representing Trevor Horn on his book deal with Nine Eight Books for the publication of his memoire “Adventures in Modern Recording: From ABC to ZTT”.
  • Acting for Petronella Ravenshear on her book deal with HarperCollins for “The HBD Cookbook”, which was released in January 2023.

Private client > Family Tier 4

Carol Ellinas leads the practice at Russells Solicitors, which has ‘the feel of a boutique firm with the heft of a major player’. It is known for its work with a substantial number of celebrity clients, particularly those in the media industry and the arts. In addition, it works with numerous wealthy individuals who are working in the financial services industry. Through Louise Barretto, it is also enhancing its reputation in handling mandates involving narcissistic behaviour and coercive control.

Practice head(s):

Carol Ellinas

Other key lawyers:


‘Louise Barretto and Carol Ellinas head up a power house family department which punches well above its weight. Louise delivers penetrating analysis, empathetic advice and the rapier dissection of the opposing case.’

‘The team have a particular specialism for, and are experts at, representing high-net-worth clients, particularly those involved in the creative arts.’

‘The personalised service is a key distinction in an industry that is gradually trending towards the generic. The manner in which clients are looked after is above and beyond, in moving towards a desired outcome.’

‘Carol Ellinas is a leading light in the highly personalised delivery of Family Law, driven by her deep empathy of client situations in conjunction with her proactive legal practice.’

‘I have found this firm very professional in dealing with my matters and all staff respond quickly and effectively.’

‘Louise Barretto stands out as an excellent solicitor who has helped me to navigate a challenging set of circumstances with expert clarity and advice, along with an empathetic approach which I very much value.’

‘Louise Barretto is a truly amazing, empowering, caring, and knowledgeable person. Nothing is too much trouble, and nothing is seen as a waste of time or silly. There are not enough words to describe what a difference she makes or how much recognition she deserves.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for the long-term partner of an ultra-high-net-worth individual in a complex Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 matter involving significant international aspects.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Reputation management Tier 4

Russells Solicitors is best known for acting on behalf of claimants in matters concerning libel, privacy, harassment and data protection; this work is typically done on behalf of high-profile and high-net-worth individuals in the entertainment industry, with phone hacking matters standing out as a particular area of expertise. Steven Tregear leads the team, specialising in litigation within the entertainment, media and sports sectors. Henry Priestley joined the team from RPC in December 2022, with experience in dispute resolution for labels and publishers.

Practice head(s):

Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:

Henry Priestley; Dan Hoyle; Jay Joshi; Eliot Leggo


‘Combine experienced litigators with expertise in the entertainment industry more widely.’

‘Eliot Leggo has it all: an eye for detail, commercial nous and great legal skills.’

‘Steven Tregear’s clients are loyal and with great reason, he considers all aspects of their interests from the immediate to the very long term.’

‘A good practice in media law, including defamation and phone hacking disputes. An extremely personable team.’

‘Jay Joshi is extremely personable and client-friendly, offering a good knowledge of the area and management of claims.’

‘A niche firm that has acted for a range of clients in privacy and reputation-related cases, particularly phone hacking ones. Efficient and excellent communication.’

‘Dan Hoyle – a very effective and gifted lawyer and negotiator. Knows when to press on with cases and when to seek settlement.’

Key clients

Cheryl Tweedy

The Estate of George Michael

The Estate of Amy Winehouse

Jarvis Cocker

Andrew Neil

Ian Wright

Gerry McCann and Kate Healy, the parents of Madeleine McCann

Natalie Imbruglia

Nicola Roberts

Kimberley Walsh

Tulisa Contostavlos

Alexandra Burke

Mitchell Winehouse

Work highlights

  • Acting for numerous well-known actors, singers, models, music professionals and others in phone hacking litigation against NGN and MGN.
  • Representing Mitchell Winehouse, father of Amy Winehouse, in defamation litigation against Macmillan Publishers, Tyler James and ghost writer Sylvia Patterson over what he believes are defamatory statements made in My Amy: The Life We Shared.
  • Representing journalist and broadcaster, Andrew Neil, in his defamation action against Jennifer Arcuri, the businesswoman and alleged former lover of Boris Johnson, over tweets claiming that the client had been involved with Jeffrey Epstein.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Sport Tier 4

Russells Solicitors‘ sports team is chaired by the firm’s litigation head Steven Tregear, whose sport-specific expertise includes handling bout agreements for box office fights. Tregear also works on intersecting media and sports-related reputation management matters, as well as contractual and copyright instructions. Arriving from RPC in December 2022, Henry Priestley‘s capabilities encompass IP, breach of contract and reputational management issues. Corporate and commercial lawyer Sam Willmott is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:


‘They have an excellent client base in terms of sports and media clients.’

‘Steven Tregear is a star solicitor with a great reputation for results and tenacity.’

‘Really excellent sports team with a deep understanding of the sector and an extensive network of client relationships.’

‘Steven Tregear is one of the leading names in sports and entertainment litigation; he has seen it all and knows how the world works. Alice Rudge — a bright, hardworking associate and a pleasure to work with.’

‘The speed of their response and an ability to grasp complicated issues quickly.’

‘An ability to ask probing questions aimed at getting to the heart of the matter as quickly as possible.’

‘Russells really do go above and beyond when it comes to reactive client care, working with them is simple and with great results, which is why they are my go to with spiralling crisis issues.’

Key clients

Frank Warren

Queensberry Promotions Limited

Wasserman Boxing Limited

Ian Wright

Derek Chisora

David Haye

Hayemaker Limited

Modest! Golf Limited

Lord Daniel Finkelstein OBE

Barbara Charone

TaP Sports & Entertainment Limited

Stephen Kutner

Work highlights

  • Advising Queensberry Promotions Limited on negotiations for a Bout Agreement with Dillian Whyte relating to his WBC World Heavyweight Championship fight with Tyson Fury at Wembley Stadium in April 2022.
  • Acting for British heavyweight boxer, Derek Chisora, in negotiating a Bout Agreement for his WBC World Heavyweight Championship fight against Tyson Fury on December 3rd 2022 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
  • Advising sports agency and athlete management business, TaP Sports & Entertainment Limited, which represents a number of leading international footballers, on further aspects of its corporate structure and on employment arrangements.

Russells is widely regarded as a market leader in the music industry. The firm is also now recognised as an all round entertainment and media practice.

The firm: Established in 1974, Russells is based in the West End of London and is known historically as a niche firm specialising in all areas of media, entertainment and leisure including music, sport, e-commerce, digital media and technology, catalogue acquisition and sale, theatre, television and film. Russells is consistently rated amongst the top firms (as well as having leading individuals in its fields) in both professional guides and publications. The firm has grown steadily and today has 18 partners, 7 senior associates and 11 solicitors. In addition, there is 1 senior consultant (Chris Organ), 4 consultants (James Wyllie, Mark Sinnott, Peter Smith and Sebastian Davey), 8 trainee solicitors, 4 paralegals and a professional and disciplined support staff.

Practice areas: Russells offers most of the advice and services that its clients require from a general practice. In addition to its core business of negotiating agreements in the entertainment industry, buying, structuring and selling companies, the sale or acquisition of music publishing or master rights catalogues, litigation, digital media and technology and employment; it also undertakes private client work (such as wills, estate planning and probate), conveyancing and matrimonial advice. Its litigation department enjoys a reputation that is second to none, successfully representing its clients in numerous high profile cases and, more recently, achieving notable successes in privacy and reputation management. The commercial department is highly respected with individuals who have been involved in some of the most significant deals within its industry, representing artists, authors, sport and TV personalities and actors, as well as companies and industry organisations. Well regarded for its negotiating rigor and ability to conclude agreements, the firm’s outlook is always coupled with a sound, pragmatic approach.

The firm has a low profile and is known for the longevity of the relationships it enjoys with its clients, many of whom have been with the firm from the start of their careers, and who now enjoy worldwide fame and success.

Russells has grown organically to accommodate the increase in its client numbers and the breadth of its clientele. The reputation of the firm and word of mouth recommendation are the primary sources of business for Russells as opposed to aggressive advertising and promotion trading on the back of the fame and notoriety of its clients.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior consultant Chris Organ
Managing partner Simon Esplen
Music Gavin Maude
Corporate Chris Gossage
Litigation Steven Tregear
Family & Divorce Carol Ellinas
Private client Peter Smith
Digital media and technology Alex Cole
New Artist Jo Brittain
Conveyancing/Real Estate Angela Fong
Private Wealth Karl Dembicki
Litigation Henry Priestley
Commercial Simon Jordan
Family & Divorce Louise Barretto
Commercial/Corporate Ally Horn
Litigation Dan Hoyle
Employment Nicola Tager
Corporate Ed Williams
Number of UK Partners : 18
Number of Senior Consultants : 1
Number of Consultants : 4
Number of Senior Associates : 7
Number of Solicitors : 11
Number of Trainee Solicitors : 8
Number of Paralegals : 4