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, 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

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

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

Evan Jones

Associate (New Zealand)

Evan.Jones@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8800

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

Eleni Antoniou

Paralegal

Eleni.Antoniou@northridgelaw.com T +44 (0)20 3957 8830

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

01.12.2017

Legal Update: CMA Threatens Enforcement Action Against Secondary Ticketing Websites

Following a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the online secondary ticketing market, the CMA has announced that it will be taking enforcement action against sites suspected of breaching consumer protection law. Read more. Separately, the CMA has announced plans to provide additional guidance for event organisers who sell tickets with resale restrictions, which may be open to challenge as unfair terms. Read more.
“Secondary ticketing websites can offer an important service – by allowing people the chance to buy tickets at the last minute or giving them a chance to resell tickets they can no longer use. But our investigation has identified concerns that the law protecting consumers is being broken. […] We will use the full range of our powers to get the right outcome for these sites’ customers – including taking action through the courts if needed.” Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive
Sports clubs and governing bodies selling tickets to consumers should take the following steps to minimise the risk of restrictions on resale being interpreted as unfair:
  • put in place arrangements for consumers to exchange, return and/or resell tickets (e.g. an official resale marketplace);
  • put in place arrangements to fully compensate consumers who bought resold tickets without being fully and clearly informed about restrictions on the use of those tickets;
  • full and clear disclosure to consumers of any resale restrictions upfront; and
  • ensure ticket terms and conditions are fair and reflect the above.
Secondary ticketing platforms, clubs or governing bodies that affiliate with or white label platforms need to be aware of the rules on reselling tickets and enforcement measures available to the CMA:
  • resale platforms must inform consumers exactly where in a venue they will be seated;
  • resale platforms must make it clear to buyers who the ultimate seller of the ticket is;
  • resale platforms must make it clear to consumers if there are restrictions on using resold tickets that could prevent buyers from gaining entry to an event; and
  • the CMA can enforce consumer rights legislation through the courts.
During its year-long review, the CMA has identified the following new issues for investigation:
  • pressure selling – whether sites are pressuring consumers into buying tickets by making misleading claims about the availability and popularity of tickets;
  • difficulties for customers in getting their money back under a website’s guarantee;
  • speculative selling – ticketing platforms advertising tickets that they do not yet own; and
  • whether organisers of some sporting events have sold tickets as a primary seller directly through a secondary ticketing site.
If you want to learn more, please contact Jon Walters on jon.walters@northridgelaw.com