Our team

James Eighteen

Partner

James is a commercial litigator with a focus on the sports sector. He is described by clients as “an expert in his field”, “impressive” and someone who provides “quick, reasoned and sensible advice”. James is ranked in Chambers for Sport and is listed as a “Next Generation” partner in the Legal 500.

James is a key advisor to many household names in sport, including The FA, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) 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 acting for the BHA on a series of high-profile anti-doping cases, advising Premiership Rugby on the adoption of a new set of Salary Regulations following the well-publicised review conducted by Lord Myners (having previously led on the high-profile salary cap prosecution of Saracens) as well as advising Premiership Rugby on its Project Restart and how to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Away from sport, James’ experience of the gambling sector includes the regulation and licensing of casinos, the Gambling Act 2005 and acting in contentious matters for and against bookmakers.

James lectures on the BASL/DMU postgraduate certificate in sports law and is a contributing author to “Sport: Law and Practice”, “Football and the Law” and the England & Wales chapter of The Sports Law Review.

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 15 years, undertaking a wide range of work from advising on the regulation of intermediaries through to advising on the issues faced by English football as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (including on The FA’s successful defence of the claim by South Shields FC). Other highlights have included representing Chelsea FC in its successful appeal against FIFA before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and successfully defending the WRU in High Court litigation.

Jonathan is ranked as a leading individual by Chambers (Band 1) and is listed in the Legal 500’s “Hall of Fame”. The directories describe him as being “lauded by clients as ‘the absolute go-to person on regulatory matters’” and as being “the football litigator par excellence”. He is also ranked in the International Who’s Who of Sports & Entertainment Lawyers 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 and is a contributing author to “Sport: Law and Practice” and “Football and the Law”.

Melanie Ellis

Partner

Melanie is a gambling regulatory lawyer with 14 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’s recent highlights include acting for Flutter (previously known as Paddy Power Betfair) on regulatory compliance matters, advising NetEnt on its regulatory requirements and change of corporate control following its acquisition by Evolution Gaming and advising on a new e-Sports betting product (Puntt).

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 such as iGaming Business, EGR and Casino & Gaming International and writes a monthly column for Casino 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 the financial regulation of sport (including salary caps and financial fair play), mergers and acquisitions, financing, governance, integrity, rules and regulations, sponsorship agreements, player 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 advising a number of leading investment firms and banks (such as Elliott, Arctos, Redbird and Deutsche Bank) in relation to their activities in European sport, advising Premiership Rugby on the adoption of a new set of Salary Regulations following the high-profile review conducted by Lord Myners and acting as a key advisor to Roc Nation Sports on their continued growth in Europe including their partnership with AC Milan.

Ian is a contributing author to a number of leading textbooks including “Sport: Law and Practice”, “Football and the Law” 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 in the “Hall of Fame” for 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.

Ben Rees

Partner

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 representing Olympiacos Basketball Club in respect of appeal proceedings it brought before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and representing Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR) on a number of high-profile disciplinary proceedings at the Six Nations, Rugby World Cup and Autumn Internationals series.

He is also known for his considerable expertise 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.

Paul Shapiro

Partner

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 and advising on event hosting.

Recent work highlights include advising on: Betway’s global sponsorship programme; restructuring The FA Women’s Super League; a variety of endorsement deals for Dele Alli, Neymar Jr., Cesc Fabregas and Thierry Henry; a range of sports marketing and merchandising matters for Puma; and various transfers and contract negotiations in the 2020 summer window.

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.  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 “an excellent strategist – exactly the sort of lawyer you want on your side” and is praised for his “clear, commercial and thorough advice”.

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 acting for Two Circles on the acquisition of TRM Partners and supporting Betway with its global sponsorship programme. He is also frequently involved with prominent governance mandates, including reforms for The FA, World Rugby and the RFL..

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 participants in the sports and entertainment industry.

He is ranked as a “Next Generation” partner in Legal 500 for Sport, who describe him as having a “vast amount of industry knowledge and expertise” and “stands out for his work in sports governance reforms”. Jon is also ranked in Chambers, who describe him as “incredibly knowledgeable on all things sport-sponsorship”. 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.  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 Hollingsworth

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 all aspects of The FA’s legal and governance work. In particular, Sarah was 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.

Since joining Northridge Sarah has continued to act for The FA, having recently advised The FA in respect of the termination of the 2019/20 football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sarah has also become a trusted adviser to some of Northridge’s biggest clients. Her recent work highlights include acting for a high profile European football club before FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport in respect of a claim under Article 17 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players as well as acting in respect of claims for training compensation before the FIFA bodies.

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 in the sports and entertainment sectors. Jamie is recommended in The Legal 500 and recognised as a “stand-out individual” that is “highly capable, strategic and commercially minded”.

Jamie has considerable experience advising on complex discrimination issues, managing employees and advising on employee aspects of corporate transactions. He also advises on the drafting and negotiation of restraint of trade clauses and other contractual terms.

Much of Jamie’s work is confidential, but his recent disclosable work highlights include advising a number of football clubs on their managerial contracts; advising Premier League football players on variations to their employment contracts arising from the COVID-19 pandemic; representing a team of backroom staff of a Premier League football team following the termination of their employment and advising on the employment aspects of the much-publicised acquisition by Two Circles of TRM Partners.

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 has appeared across all media outlets to discuss the topic of discrimination in sports, including, Sky Sports, BBC News, ITV News and Channel 4.

Oliver Harland

Managing Associate

Oliver specialises in litigation and contentious regulatory matters, in particular for sports governing bodies.  Oliver’s experience includes acting for the governing bodies of tennis (ITF, ATP, WTA and Grand Slams) in relation to an independent review of integrity in tennis and The FA in relation to an independent review of alleged non-recent child sexual abuse in football and concurrent civil claims.

Oliver also has experience of working in house, having been on secondment at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) as a Regulatory Legal Adviser where he was responsible for preparing and presenting the BHA’s case in respect of alleged breaches of the Rules of Racing.  Oliver previously advised the BHA on a major re-write of the Rules of Racing (effective September 2019).

Oliver’s recent work highlights include acting for the BHA on its most high-profile disciplinary proceedings before its independent judicial panel and acting for Sussex County Cricket Club in successfully reducing a sanction imposed on Sussex by the disciplinary body for the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) following an allegation of ball-tampering.

Oliver is a qualified Solicitor Advocate (Higher Courts Civil Proceedings) and has a Master’s Degree (LLM) in Sports Law and Practice and takes a particular interest in issues related to sporting integrity.  He has written a 15,000 word dissertation on the subject of competition manipulation (match-fixing) and has also written for LawInSport on the subject of how sports governing bodies and event organisers should regulate against competition manipulation.

 

Mike Herbert

Managing Associate

Mike advises clients on a wide range of corporate, commercial and financing matters in the sports and entertainment sectors. He has a particular focus on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, investment transactions and receivables financing. Mike also acts for clients in the sports industry on corporate governance issues and sponsorship arrangements.

Recent work highlights include advising Two Circles on the acquisition of TRM Partners; the RFL on the restructure of the Super League; Farhad Moshiri on increasing his stake in Everton FC; and The FA on governance matters.

Mike regularly advises both clubs and lenders on financing work including on a range of receivables transactions in football. He also works with high-growth technology companies as part of the Northridge TRACK initiative and has particular experience acting for athlete investors participating in early stage fundraising rounds.

Mike has completed the BASL/De Montfort Law School Diploma in Sports Law and Practice.

Will Moir

Managing Associate

Will is a commercial litigator, with a particular focus on disputes, investigations, safeguarding and regulatory matters in sport.

He has represented clients in proceedings at all levels of the English civil judicial system, as well as before FIFA’s disciplinary bodies and at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.  In addition, Will regularly advises clients (sporting and non-sporting) in contractual, employment, and competition law disputes.

He has advised on a number of high-profile safeguarding and investigatory matters (including the independent football inquiry led by Clive Sheldon QC), and is experienced in drafting and advising on the interpretation of regulations and policies of major sports governing bodies.

George Willis

Managing Associate

George is a commercial lawyer, specialising in contract and data privacy matters in the sport and technology sectors. He advises a range of clients, from high-growth companies (including as part of the Northridge TRACK initiative) or established technology providers, to rights holders and other institutional clients. He also has particular experience advising athletes, agencies, brands and rights holders on sponsorship and endorsement related agreements.

George has recently spent time on secondment at The FA and at a prominent Premier League football club, each spanning the period surrounding the suspension and restarting of football in light of COVID-19.

George has completed the BASL/De Montfort Law School Diploma in Sports Law and Practice with distinction.

Olivia Amos

Associate

Olivia specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration, particularly in the sports sector. Olivia has acted on cases before the English High Court and international arbitral bodies such as the SCC, the HKIAC and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Olivia also has experience of football-specific dispute forums, such as FIFA’s Player Status Committee and Dispute Resolution Committee. She has worked on a range of matters involving sports bodies’ rules and regulations – including intermediaries regulations, player transfer regulations, third party interest regulations, and competition rules – and also general commercial disputes.

Olivia has completed the BASL/De Montfort Law School Diploma in Sports Law and Practice with distinction.  Olivia has also authored articles on sports law issues for publications such as LawInSport.

Tom Avis

Associate

Tom is a commercial litigator, specialising in contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters in the sports sector.

Tom’s experience includes acting for clients in relation to a wide variety of High Court, arbitral and disciplinary proceedings in a number of forums including the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Rule K arbitration and the disciplinary bodies of FIFA and UEFA.

His regulatory experience includes drafting and advising on the interpretation of sporting rules and regulations (including competition, disciplinary and financial rules and regulations) as well as advising clients on the operation of and compliance with various systems of financial regulation in sport (e.g. Financial Fair Play and salary caps) and acting for clients in bringing and defending related contentious regulatory proceedings.

Tom also has experience of managing and assisting with independent reviews of integrity in sport and has a particular focus on youth football, having advised football clubs, intermediaries and individual players in relation to the operation of international and domestic rules and regulations relating to youth football and acting for clubs in relation to training compensation claims before the PFCC and FIFA’s DRC.

Tom has spent time on secondment at The FA both as a trainee and as a qualified solicitor.

Kingsley Boateng

Associate

Kingsley specialises in corporate and commercial advice to clients in the sports and entertainment sectors. He has experience advising on a wide range of corporate transactions and commercial matters including mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts, joint ventures and investment transactions. He also works with high-growth companies and investors as part of the Northridge TRACK initiative.

Kingsley has spent time on secondment at a prominent media and telecommunications company and at a FTSE 100 company.

Tom Edmonds

Associate

Tom advises on commercial matters and gambling regulatory matters.

Tom qualified at a leading UK firm and during his training spent time on secondment at The Mill (an Oscar winning visual effects company).  He then moved in-house to Betgenius, a leading sports betting odds/data supplier, before taking a role at a law firm which advises clients in the leisure sector (including sports betting operators and casinos).

He advises on a wide range of commercial matters and has advised gambling operators, sports governing bodies, sports clubs and TV production companies.  Tom has a particular expertise in areas where there is a cross over between sports and gambling, including licensing of data by sports governing bodies for use in the betting sector and sponsorship of sports events by gambling operators.

Ben Foster

Associate

Ben is an associate focussing on disputes work in the sports industry.  His experience includes advising on arbitrations pursuant to Rule K, the EFL Regulations and under the rules of the Premier League before the Managers’ Arbitration Tribunal. He also has considerable experience in investigations and High Court work. Ben frequently advises intermediaries in respect of issues of contractual interpretation and has advised a number of stakeholders in respect of the way in which their rights were affected in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ben has also advised on a matter before the European Commission in respect of a competition complaint brought by an international governing body.

Ben has authored articles on sports law issues for publications such as LawInSport.

James Norrey

Associate

James is a commercial litigation Associate, specialising in disputes, investigations and regulatory matters in the sports sector. He has represented sports governing bodies, clubs, players, brands and rights holders, acting on cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the disciplinary judicial bodies of The FA, Premier League and FIFA.

His regulatory experience includes advising The FA in respect of the club licensing arrangements for The FA Women’s Super League and Championship.

James has spent time on secondment with clients, including The FA and CSM, and has experience in dealing with competition law issues in sport having worked in Brussels with Northridge’s competition law consultant, Benoît Keane.

Scott Treleaven

Associate

Scott specialises in corporate and commercial advice to clients in the sports and media sectors. He is active in the Northridge TRACK initiative advising high-growth clients and investors on corporate and contractual matters, as well as in respect of fundraises for early stage businesses. Scott has experience advising in private M&A transactions and investments in sport. He has also advised both clubs and lenders in respect of the sale and purchase of future receivables under football transfer agreements.

Scott has spent time on secondment at a prominent Premier League football club.