Firm Profile > Russells Solicitors > London, England

Russells Solicitors

Media and entertainment (including media finance) Tier 1

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


Employment: senior executives Tier 4

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

Reputation management Tier 4

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:


‘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)

Family Tier 5

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’.

Sport Tier 5

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:


“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

Russells is widely regarded as a market leader in the music industry and was the inaugural winner of the Music Week Awards law firm of the year 2017. 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 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 13 partners, 4 senior associates and 13 solicitors. In addition, there are 4 consultants (Brian Howard, James Wyllie, Mark Sinnott and Marine Cabour), 4 trainee solicitors and a professional and disciplined support staff.

Types of work undertaken: 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, 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 over the years, 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 over the years 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 partner Chris Organ
Managing partner Simon Esplen
Music Gavin Maude
Corporate Chris Gossage
Litigation Steven Tregear
Employment John Reid
Family Carol Ellinas
Private client/conveyancing Peter Smith
Digital media and technology Mark Ashelford
New Artist Jo Brittain
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Jo Brittain  photo Mr Jo Brittain
Ms Carol Ellinas  photo Ms Carol Ellinas
Mr Simon Esplen  photo Mr Simon Esplen
Mr Chris Gossage  photo Mr Chris Gossage
Mr Gavin Maude  photo Mr Gavin Maude
Mr Chris Organ  photo Mr Chris Organ
Mr John Reid  photo Mr John Reid
Mr Mark Sinnott  photo Mr Mark Sinnott
Mr Steven Tregear  photo Mr Steven Tregear
Mr Ryan Vince  photo Mr Ryan Vince
Number of UK Partners : 13
Number of Consultants : 4
Number of Senior Associates : 4
Number of Solicitors : 13
Number of Trainee Solicitors : 4