When the stakes
are highest

We are Northridge

An independent law firm with a particular focus on the sport sector. Northridge undertakes the most complex and important work for a roster of high profile international clients.

Strength and depth

Northridge is a team. A team which has been immersed in the sector for many years. The result is a firm with unique expertise and the scale to resource the most complex projects, from club takeovers, to global integrity reviews, to establishing new international competitions.

Always aligned

Understanding, applied expertise and candour lie at the heart of our strongest relationships. We achieve the very best results for our clients by ensuring our interests remain aligned.

Beyond Sport

Our core skills and approach allow us to advise when the stakes are highest, regardless of the industry. Our clients outside sport range from disruptive tech businesses to established venture capital firms.

United by culture

In creating our firm, we have encouraged a culture of challenge and innovation; identifying traditional constraints in our industry and removing them. We have an inclusive management structure. Each member of the team shares in the success of the firm.

Our Services

Litigation and arbitration

Our large contentious team at Northridge represents clients in commercial disputes, challenges to rules and regulations, and in disciplinary proceedings. Our experience includes:

  • Resolving sports disputes at domestic tribunals, FIFA DRC, FIFA PSC and CAS.
  • Advising on High Court cases from high stakes commercial litigation to defending challenges to decisions of governing bodies.
  • Representing stakeholders at the highest profile public inquests.

Regulation and governance

We are market leaders in the governance and regulation of sport. Our team has unique depth of experience and is trusted by clients to advise and support them on the most sensitive and high profile issues. Our work includes:

  • The drafting and interpretation of rules and regulations.
  • Advising governing bodies, clubs and business on governance and driving reform.
  • Protecting the integrity of sport.

Corporate and commercial

We provide the full range of corporate and commercial advice. Our abilities as “deal-makers” in sport are widely recognised and we also have a wealth of experience in technology, media, retail and beyond. Our expertise includes:

  • Launching new competitions and businesses (inside and outside of sport).
  • Acquisitions, joint ventures and private fundraising (including SEIS/EIS advice).
  • Sponsorship, merchandising and exploitation of rights.
  • The full suite of commercial contracts for businesses, both digital and bricks and mortar.

Our team

James Eighteen

Founding Partner

James is a commercial litigator who specialises in dispute resolution, governance and regulation.

James has for many years advised major governing bodies such as The FA, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and Premiership Rugby on a range of contentious and regulatory matters. In addition, he advises individuals and teams, regularly appearing before disciplinary panels, the High Court and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

His recent highlights include successfully defending lifetime bans imposed by the IAAF for corruption, working on the Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis and acting for The FA in the Hillsborough Inquests.

Away from sport, James’ experience of the gambling sector includes regulation and licensing of casinos, the Gambling Act 2005 and acting in contentious matters for and against bookmakers.

James is ranked in Chambers and recognised as a Next Generation Lawyer in Legal 500 who describe him as “impressive” and someone who provides “quick, reasoned and sensible advice”. He lectures on the BASL/DMU postgraduate certificate in sports law and is a contributing author to the forthcoming textbook Football and The Law.

James.Eighteen@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8818 M +44 (0)7884 260 755

Jonathan Ellis

Founding Partner

Jonathan is a commercial litigator who specialises in the sports sector. He is a trusted advisor to some of the biggest names in sport, with clients describing him as “technically excellent and extremely responsive” and as being “a superb litigator” and “one of the leading sports regulatory lawyers in the industry”.

Jonathan has acted for The FA for more than 12 years, undertaking a wide range of work from advising on the regulation of intermediaries through to representing The FA at the Hillsborough Inquests. Other highlights have included representing leading Premier League and European football clubs before CAS and successfully defending the WRU in High Court litigation. He is currently acting as the Solicitor and Secretary to the ongoing Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis. Away from sport, Jonathan’s experience includes acting for broadcasters, investors and retailers.

Jonathan is ranked as a leading individual by Chambers (Band 1), Legal 500 and in the International Who’s Who of Sports & Entertainment Lawyers. He was included in Leaders Under 40 Class of 2017 and has featured in profiles written by The Lawyer, the Times and Sport Business. Jonathan is a lecturer on the BASL/DMU Postgraduate Certificate in Sports Law, is an editor of World Sports Law Report and is a contributing author to “Sport: Law and Practice”, “Football and the Law” and the England & Wales chapter of The Sports Law Review.

Jon.Ellis@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8808 M +44 (0)7904 103 867

Ian Lynam

Founding Partner

Ian has wide expertise across corporate, commercial and regulatory matters.  He is recognised by the legal directories as a leading “commercial dealmaker” “who has become a clear leader in the UK” and “an excellent lawyer, whose knowledge of the sports industry is unparalleled”.  His expertise includes financial regulation of sport (including salary caps and financial fair play), mergers and acquisitions in sport, financing, governance, integrity, rules and regulations, sponsorship agreements, transfers, player contracts and image rights. He has a particular expertise in the use of data in sport, has spoken widely on the subject and sits on the board of STATSports as a non-executive director.

Ian is a contributing author to a number of leading textbooks including “Sport: Law and Practice”, “Football and the Law”, “The Sports Law Review” and “The Negotiator’s Desk Reference”. He regularly speaks at conferences (domestic and international, including Web Summit and the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference) and lectures on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate university programmes.

Ian is ranked as a “Leading Individual” in Sport by Chambers and Legal 500 and as a “Thought Leader” in European Sports Law by Who’s Who Legal.

Ian is admitted to practise in England & Wales, Ireland and New York.

Ian.Lynam@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8809 M +44 (0)7904 042 632

Jon Walters

Founding Partner

Jon provides commercial and corporate advice to clients. He has led on governance reforms for The FA, the launch of the Hockey Pro League for the FIH, Premier League kit sponsorships for Nike, and the WRU’s deal with its regional teams. With experience through secondments as Acting Head of Legal at IMG for Rugby World Cup matters and at Brawn GP F1 team, he balances legal expertise with first-hand understanding of the way in which clients’ businesses work.

Jon’s experience beyond sport is wide and varied. He has acted for technology businesses, consumer retail brands, telecoms infrastructure providers and private equity houses on corporate and commercial matters. A particular passion is supporting emerging businesses utilising technology to disrupt their marketplace.

He is recommended in Legal 500 in three categories: sport (“commercial and regulatory expert”), commercial contracts and media and entertainment (“particular expertise in advertising and marketing matters”). Jon is also an editorial board member of LawInSport, a contributing author to the BASL Sports Law Yearbook and has appeared on Sky News, CNBC and in The Times as a legal commentator.

Jon.Walters@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8810 M +44 (0)7977 060 881

Benoit Keane

Consultant

Benoît is recognised as an “expert” on the application of EU and competition law in the sports sector.  He regularly acts in cases before the European Commission, European courts and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.  He has acted on some of the most significant European cases of the last decade concerning both the regulatory and commercial side of sport.

Chambers Global notes that he is “extremely knowledgeable, experienced and a pleasure to work with” while Who’s Who Legal has cited him as “the best sports lawyer in competition law”.

Originally from Ireland, Benoît read law at University College Cork.  He obtained a master’s degree in EU law at the College of Europe (Bruges) and undertook a traineeship at the European Commission (DG Competition).  He practised as a lawyer for a number of international law firms in Brussels before establishing his own practice in 2012.  His Brussels-based practice is independent of Northridge.

Benoît is admitted to practice as a solicitor (England & Wales) and avocat (Barreau de Bruxelles, Belgium).

Benoit.Keane@northridgelaw.com T +32 2 280 68 80

Hannah Brunskill

Managing Associate & COO

Hannah is a commercial litigator, specialising in large scale multi-party litigation and inquisitorial proceedings.   She has acted for a diverse range of clients in the sports, media and financial services sectors, often managing large teams working on complex and high profile matters. Hannah has particular experience in advising on fraud and corruption matters, as well as the conduct of internal investigations.

Hannah was part of the team representing The FA at the Hillsborough Inquests and is currently assisting The FA in connection with various reviews and investigations into allegations of historic abuse within football.  She recently acted on the defence of a multi-billion dollar fraud claim in the Cayman Islands and claims relating to LIBOR manipulation.  Hannah has spent time on secondment in an investment bank, a global defence and aerospace company and a multinational energy company.

Hannah is also the COO of Northridge.

Hannah.Brunskill@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8821 M +44 (0)7584 752 381

Ben Rees

Managing Associate

Ben is a commercial litigator, with a particular focus on the sports sector. He works closely with sports governing bodies, teams, broadcasters and other commercial parties in relation to High Court litigation, arbitral proceedings (including before the Court of Arbitration for Sport), disciplinary cases (including before FIFA bodies) and regulatory matters.

Ben’s recent experience includes acting for The FA in a range of arbitral and disciplinary proceedings, for the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in High Court proceedings, for the Federation Française de Rugby in disciplinary proceedings and for the tennis governing bodies (the ITF, ATP, WTA and Grand Slams) in relation to an independent review of integrity in tennis. He also has considerable experience in drafting and advising on the interpretation of rules and regulations, including for The FA, WRU and Premiership Rugby.

Ben has spent time on secondment with both The FA and Nike, and is a contributing author to the England & Wales chapter of “The Sports Law Review”.

Ben.Rees@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8820 M +44 (0)7867 538 725

Paul Shapiro

Managing Associate

Paul specialises in commercial and regulatory advice to clients in the sports and media sectors.  Paul’s experience includes acting for athletes, brands and rights holders on sponsorship, licensing and merchandising programmes.  He also regularly advises on governance issues and financial regulation in the sport and on player contracts, football transfers and image rights structures.

Paul has a wide range of in house experience having been on secondment to The FA, where he advised on their commercial rights programme, and Nike, where he advised on the merchandising programme for Nike’s key football assets.

Paul has completed the BASL/ De Montfort Law School Diploma in Sports Law and Practice with distinction and has returned to lecture on the course. Paul is a regular contributor to various legal publications and is a contributing author to the England & Wales chapter of the industry leading text book “The Sports Law Review”. He speaks at conferences and on university courses and has appeared as a legal commentator in The Telegraph, The Independent, Sky Sports News and BBC Sport.

Paul.Shapiro@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8824 M +44 (0)7789 106 377

Jamie Feldman

Managing Associate

Jamie is an employment specialist, advising individuals and employers on the full spectrum of both contentious and non-contentious matters. Jamie has considerable experience advising on complex discrimination issues, managing employees and advising on employee aspects of corporate and property transactions. He also advises on the drafting and negotiation of restraint of trade clauses.

Jamie’s clients include both business and individuals within the sports, media, entertainment and financial services sectors. He also advises start-up businesses and individuals engaging in start-up ventures.

Jamie is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and is Executive Trustee of Stonewall Football Club. He is also an advisor to TeamPride and the RainbowLaces campaign and regularly appears across all media outlets to discuss the topic of discrimination in sports, including on Sky Sports, BBC News, ITV News and Channel 4.

Jamie.Feldman@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8813 M +44 (0)7763 013 201

Tom Avis

Associate

Tom.Avis@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8826 M +44 (0)7584 763 119

Lin Boutong

Associate

Lin.Boutong@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8822 M +44 (0)7585 074 283

Oliver Harland

Associate

Oliver.Harland@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8823 M +44 (0)7760 710 289

Ben Foster

Associate

ben.foster@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8825

Olivia Amos

Associate

olivia.amos@northridgelaw.com T 020 3957 8807 M 07741 625411

Mike Herbert

Associate

Mike.Herbert@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8812 M +44 (0)7741 660 895

Scott Treleaven

Trainee

Scott.Treleaven@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8829 M +44 (0)7747 811 324

James Norrey

Trainee

James.Norrey@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8827 M +44 (0)7792 853 815

Laura Highwood

Office Manager

Laura.Highwood@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8802 M +44 (0)7733 946 973

Katie Backhurst

Legal PA

katie.backhurst@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8831

Latest news

28.06.2018

We’re hiring…

Given the continued growth of our practice, we are looking to expand our team. You would be joining the UK's largest sports law practice, a 22 fee earner team advising on the most complex and important matters in the sports industry.

You will be a commercial litigation lawyer with 4+ years PQE (qualified in England & Wales) in a leading disputes practice. Experience in sport is not required but a desire to advise the sports industry when the stakes are highest is essential.

We are an equal opportunity employer and are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. In building the firm, we have encouraged a culture of challenge and innovation; identifying traditional constraints in our industry and removing them. We offer market leading pay, see more on our approach to remuneration here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/pay-smart-law-firm

Please send a CV and covering letter to: careers@northridgelaw.com with “Disputes Associate” in the subject line. All applications should be received by 13th July 2018.

No recruiters, no personal messages to Northridge team.

27.06.2018

Leading European Sports Lawyer Benoît Keane Joins Northridge

LONDON/BRUSSELS – Northridge today announced that it has added leading sports lawyer Benoît Keane as a consultant to its top tier ranked team.  Keane is regarded as one of the leading experts in Europe on the application of competition law to sport.  He regularly acts in cases before the European Commission, the European Courts and CAS.  His landmark cases include Striani v. UEFA concerning financial fair play and the recent European Commission ISU decision concerning the authorisation of independent sports events.  Benoit is dual qualified as a Solicitor (England & Wales) and Avocat (Barreau de Bruxelles).

Keane is recognised as the “the best sports lawyer in competition law” by Who’s Who Legal and as “a standout name for the intersection of sports and competition”.  Alongside acting as a consultant to Northridge, Keane will continue to run his own Brussels based practice.

Founding partner Ian Lynam: We have grown quickly in our first eight months and, in addition to adding strength in depth to our core team of associates, we are looking to bring in recognised experts in areas which can expand our offering.  We are absolutely delighted to be adding to our team such a prominent figure as Benoit; he is rightfully recognised as the leading expert in relation to the application of competition law to sport.  Ben has built a reputation in the sports industry for delivering when the stakes are highest.  He will be a key contributor in continuing the growth and expanding reach of our practice.“

Northridge launched in October 2017 with an impressive and diverse client base including The Football Association, British Horseracing Authority, leading Premier League football clubs, the Welsh Rugby Union, Premiership Rugby, a roster of high profile sports stars such as Dele Alli, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.  The firm also serves as Solicitors and Secretariat to the on-going Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis.

In the eight months since launch, Northridge’s offering has attracted an outstanding list of new clients including Puma, Confederation of African Football (CAF), Rugby Football League (RFL), France Rugby (FFR), Neymar, Kevin de Bruyne, Mohammed Salah, Betway, AEG Worldwide, Roc Nation and Dragoneer Investment Group.

Northridge focuses on the most sensitive and complex matters in sport. It offers a unique combination of scale and expertise. The team comprises four partners and 18 other fee earners, giving the depth required to staff the largest and most demanding projects. The firm provides a broad range of services from disputes and regulatory to commercial and corporate. It advises on the most complex inquiries and investigations, “bet the company” acquisitions, the structuring of new formats and competitions, the highest value sponsorship deals and the most critical issues for superstar athletes.

31.05.2018

Training Contracts 2019 and 2020 – Applications open

Applications are now open for training contracts at Northridge commencing in September 2019 and September 2020.

To apply, please click here.

For further information about training contracts at Northridge please see Chambers Student.

The deadline for applications for both 2019 and 2020 is 31 July 2018.