Russells Solicitors > London, England > Firm Profile

Russells Solicitors

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media and entertainment (including media finance) Tier 1

Russells Solicitors' team is praised for its 'expert knowledge of, and advice on, the nuanced way in which the corporate and creative worlds intersect’. With it being particularly active in the music industry, the practice acts for clients such as record companies, publishers, producers and established and up-and-coming musicians. It handles an array of commercial, corporate and contentious matters. Names to note at the firm include 'laser-focused’ managing partner Simon Esplen and Gavin Maude, who co-head the team. Jo Brittain has expertise in advising emerging talent on contractual matters. Chloe Forsyth acts for labels, publishers and talented individuals in the music and entertainment industry. Chris Gossage handles commercial work, and alongside Ryan Vince, advises on high-profile corporate transactions. Steven Tregear and John Reid are key contacts for contentious matters. Senior consultant Chris Organ is also well-respected. Simon Jordan made partner in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Simon Esplen; Gavin Maude


‘Expert knowledge of, and advice on, the nuanced way in which the corporate and creative worlds intersect.’

‘Simon Esplen is a laser-focused, savvy professional who understands his clients’ needs and is able to consistently deliver in what can be a high-pressured and unpredictable situation.’

‘Chris Gossage is a commercially-minded legal brain who is always looking at the bigger picture impact of any intricate element of a deal or point of law.’

‘A very personable and communicative practice that is led by the very best of legal knowledge.’

Key clients

George Michael’s Estate


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


Culture Club / Boy George

Work highlights

  • Acted for Kobalt Music Copyrights on one of the biggest sales in the music industry of recent years – its $322.9m sale of music composition assets to the UK-listed Hipgnosis Songs Fund.
  • Acting for the Estate of Prince, as well as various recording and music publishing companies (including Universal and Sony), in the attempted enforcement by Warner Chappell of an injunction granted in respect of the song “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”.
  • Acted for Mika in drafting all the contracts and negotiating all TV deals in connection with his ‘I Love Beirut’ concert.

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

Russells Solicitors acts predominantly for claimants, representing celebrities and talent across libel, privacy, harassment and data protection. The practice has a stronghold in the music industry which is reflected by its client base of high-profile musicians, including international pop star Dua Lipa. Led by Steven Tregear, the team has considerable expertise in litigation, with John Reid handling a range of media and entertainment disputes and senior associate Dan Hoyle playing a lead role across the firm's phone hacking claims.

Practice head(s):

Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:

John Reid; Dan Hoyle


‘Well-known experts in this field.’

‘Dan Hoyle – excellent attention to detail, great with clients and superb on legal analysis.’

‘Steven Tregear is excellent, highly pragmatic with very good judgement.’

Key clients


Universal Music Group

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

The Estate of Amy Winehouse

Dua Lipa

Carl Barât

Kilimanjaro Live Limited

The Estate of George Michael

Ian Wright

Queensberry Promotions Ltd/Frank Warren

The Specials

Natalie Imbruglia

Nicola Roberts

Work highlights

  • Handling substantial phone hacking claims for a number of well-known celebrities against both NGN and MGN, with cases over the last 12 months for a number of clients including The Estate of Amy Winehouse, Cheryl Tweedy, The Estate of George Michael, Carl Barat, Natalie Imbruglia and Ian Wright.
  • Advising leading boxing promoter, Frank Warren, and his company, Queensberry Promotions, on his appearance in a Panorama programme titled “Boxing and the Mob” investigating the alleged role of boxing promoter Daniel Kinahan.
  • Advising the social media manager of 2 Tone and Ska band, The Specials, with regard to online harassment, including false stories about Terry Hall, as well as on the verification process for profiles on various social media platforms, and liaising with in-house lawyers on various social media platforms.

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

Russells Solicitors acts for sports managements agencies, agents, clubs and major bodies, though predominantly focuses on individual athlete representation, supporting star names on everything from private client advice and employment through to media agreements, sponsorship, regulatory disputes and disciplinary hearings. Practice head Steven Tregear is a litigator with a prominent track record in contentious contractual, copyright, defamation and privacy matters and a principal focus on football and boxing.

Practice head(s):

Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:


‘The individuals I had the chance to work with were very competent and professional.’

Key clients

Various Premier League clubs: Arsenal, Burnley, Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Tottenham and Wolverhampton Wanderers

Frank Warren/Queensbury Promotions

Tyrannic LLC, for the services of Mike Tyson

Frank Lampard

Ian Wright

Mark Sampson

David Haye / Hayemaker Ltd

Modest! Golf Ltd

Lee McGregor and Chantelle Cameron

TaP Sports & Entertainment Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing nine Premier League football clubs in making an intervention to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in connection with Manchester City’s ban from the Champions League by UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) – for alleged serious breaches of its financial regulations.
  • Acting successfully for Mark Sampson, Stevenage FC’s assistant manager and first-team coach, in a two-day FA misconduct hearing before an independent commission concerning alleged racist comments attributed to him by Stevenage FC’s former manager Dino Maamria and goalkeeping coach Ali Uzunhasanoglu.
  • Advising talent management agency TaP Sports & Entertainment Limited on the establishment of a new joint venture athlete and sports management business.

Private client > Family Tier 5

Russells Solicitors acts for various celebrities particularly those in the music and arts industry as well as wealthy individuals working in the financial services sector and other UHNW professionals. The team has built up a reputation for its discreet advice and is also dedicated proponents of collaborative law in settling family matters when advising on pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Carol Ellinas heads the department.

Practice head(s):

Carol Ellinas

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Hoare; Andrew Miles


The firm is a huge resource to high profile clients going through family breakdown – this is a media savvy business that understands its clients’ needs for low impact, confidential, solutions away from the eyes of the press. Carol Ellinas brings unrivalled experience and a wealth of business good sense. She gets to the heart of issues straight away and is ingenious at finding the solutions. She is no nonsense and forthright with her opponents and her clients know that she will fight their corner fearlessly. Lucy Hoare is a growing talent. Under the careful tutelage of Carol Ellinas, Lucy has become a formidable lawyer. She is fast, efficient and effective. One to watch‘.

Personal service as well as obviously legal knowledge. Old fashioned service but in a good way! Carol Ellinas for family law‘.

‘A really hardworking team who puts the hours in for clients. Carol Ellinas – fantastic way with clients. Lucy Hoare- former young solicitor of the year proves that her accolade was not a flash in the pan.  Dedicated and talented with a phenomenal work ethic. Andrew Miles – young and bright with loads of potential’.

‘Have only done one case recently for this firm.  Dealt with Carol Ellinas who did a valiant job with a hugely difficult client’.

‘I have always found Russells to be very warm and approachable‘.

‘The whole team is knowledgeable, approachable & gives you the feeling that it is engaged and wants the best possible outcome.  The advice is realistic but driven by achieving the end goal. Carol Ellinas is sympathetic, empathetic, driven and engaged.  She is always available for even the smallest issues and ensures that her and her team around her have the same values‘.

‘I have only worked with Lucy Hoare from this team. I understand that the family team within Russells, has an exceptional reputation. Lucy Hoare is clear sighted and a very tough but very polite opponent, well respected, sensible, intelligent and diligent. Her case preparation is exceptional; she knows her cases inside and out’. 

‘Great service to clients. Strong, commercial advice, very competent , able and commercial in its opinions‘.

Work highlights

  • Continued to act during 2020 for the long-term partner of a UHNWI, the former partner is currently resident in another country for tax purposes, in a complex Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 matter.

Russells is widely regarded as a market leader in the music industry. The firm is, however, 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, 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 14 partners, 8 senior associates and 13 solicitors. In addition, there is 1 senior consultant (Chris Organ), 2 consultants (James Wyllie and Mark Sinnott), 5 trainee solicitors, 3 paralegals and a professional and disciplined support staff.

Principal areas of work:

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, employment and immigration advice; 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 to ever-changing industry landscapes.

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.


Senior consultant Chris Organ
Managing partner Simon Esplen
Music Gavin Maude
Corporate Chris Gossage
Litigation Steven Tregear
Employment John Reid
Family Carol Ellinas
Private client Peter Smith
Digital media and technology Mark Ashelford
New Artist Jo Brittain
Conveyancing/Real Estate Angela Fong
Number of UK Partners : 14
Number of Senior Consultants : 1
Number of Consultants : 2
Number of Senior Associates : 8
Number of Solicitors : 13
Number of Trainee Solicitors : 5
Number of Paralegals : 2