Our team

James Eighteen

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.

Jonathan Ellis

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.

Melanie Ellis

Partner

Melanie is a gambling regulatory lawyer with 13 years’ experience in the sector. Melanie advises on all aspects of gambling law including licence applications, compliance, advertising, licence reviews and changes of control. She has acted for a wide range of gambling operators including major online and land-based bookmakers and casinos, B2B game and software suppliers and start-ups. She also frequently advises operators of raffles, prize competitions, free draws and social gaming products.

Melanie has a particular interest in the use of new technology for gambling products and novel product ideas. She is a regular contributor to industry publications including “Online Gambling Lawyer” and “Casino & Gaming International”.

Ian Lynam

Partner

Ian’s practice spans a wide range of transactional and regulatory areas of sports law. 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 the sports industry, has spoken widely on the subject, advises a number of companies in the area and sits on the board of STATSports as a non-executive director.

Ian’s recent work highlights include acting for AC Milan in its successful appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, advising Farhad Moshiri on increasing his shareholding in Everton FC, advising STATSports on its ground-breaking $1.5bn US Soccer deal.

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 (including the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference 2017 & 2019) and lectures on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate university programmes.

Ian is ranked as a “Leading Individual” in UK Sport by Legal 500 and in Band 1 for UK Sport by Chambers and Partners. Ian is also recommended in Who’s Who Legal in the Sports & Entertainment category.

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

Jon Walters

Partner

Jon provides commercial and corporate advice to clients. He is recognised by the directories as a “real go-to adviser” and a “commercial and regulatory expert”, with particular expertise on governance, corporate advice and commercial rights.

Recent work highlights include leading on governance reforms for The FA; the restructure of the Super League for the RFL; advising Betway on its sponsorship of West Ham; the WRU’s reset of regional rugby in Wales; and the sale of digital design agency, W12 Studios, to Tata Consultancy Services.

Jon has a broad client base across the sports, leisure and technology sectors. He leads the innovative Northridge TRACK programme, acting for high growth technology businesses and investors in the sports and entertainment industry.

He is recommended in Legal 500 for Sport, who describe him as “a calm and practical thinker” and “a trusted adviser who works with you to find a solution”. Jon is also recommended for Sport by Chambers and Partners. Jon is an editorial board member of LawInSport, an independent disputes panel member for British Fencing, and a contributing author to the “BASL Sports Law Yearbook” and Chambers “Global Practice Guide for Sports Law”.

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).

Hannah Brunskill

COO & Managing Associate

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.

Tessa Jones

Legal Director

As Legal Director, Tessa is responsible for content and knowledge at Northridge. Her role encompasses the management of the firm’s know how and training programmes (both internal and client), as well as the co-ordination of the firm’s business development activities and events.

Before taking on this role, Tessa was a commercial litigator at a leading UK firm. She is a qualified Solicitor Advocate (Higher Courts Civil Proceedings).

Sarah Boulton

Managing Associate

Sarah is a commercial litigator with a particular focus on the sports sector. Sarah works with governing bodies, clubs, players and other commercial parties in relation to litigation, arbitration, disciplinary and regulatory proceedings. Sarah also has experience in advising competition owners in respect of governance issues, financial regulation and licensing matters.

Before joining Northridge, Sarah worked for The FA where she advised on the drafting and interpretation of The Football Association’s rules and regulations, a range of arbitral and disciplinary cases (before UEFA and FIFA) and The FA’s GDPR compliance programme. Sarah was also heavily involved in the restructure of the women’s game and the establishment of the new FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship.

Sarah has completed the BASL/De Montfort Law School Diploma in Sports Law and Practice and the UEFA/Université de Lausanne Certificate in Football Management, both with distinction.

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 been described in the legal directories as a “stand-out individual” who “deals with complex legal issues efficiently and quickly.”

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 and other contractual terms.

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 was an Executive Trustee of Stonewall Football Club for 9 years and has acted as an advisor to TeamPride and the RainbowLaces campaign. He regularly appears across all media outlets to discuss the topic of discrimination in sports, including, Sky Sports, BBC News, ITV News and Channel 4.

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 UEFA and FIFA bodies) and regulatory matters.

Ben’s recent experience includes acting for AC Milan in its successful appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in relation to FFP matters, acting for the Federation Française de Rugby in a range of disciplinary proceedings, for The FA in a range of arbitral and 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, the British Horseracing Authority, Welsh Rugby Union and Premiership Rugby.

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

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. In addition, Paul has particular experience in establishing new sports tournaments and competitions.

Recent work highlights include advising on: restructuring The FA Women’s Super League; the formation of the Hockey Pro League; a number of endorsement deals for Dele Alli, Neymar Jr., Cesc Fabregas and Thierry Henry; a range of sports marketing and merchandising matters for Puma; and over 20 transfers and contract negotiations in the 2019 summer window including İlkay Gündoğan’s new contract at Manchester City and Alex Iwobi’s deal with Everton.

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 is also a non-executive director of England Handball.

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 (including LawInSport 2019) and on university courses and has appeared as a legal commentator in The Telegraph, The Independent, Sky Sports News and BBC Sport.

Paul is described by clients in Legal 500 as a “stand out individual” and a “very good sports lawyer, with a clear ability to focus on the commercial aspects of contract debates”.

Olivia Amos

Associate

Tom Avis

Associate

Lin Boutong

Associate