Specialist sports law practice celebrates a stellar first year
LONDON – Northridge has celebrated its one-year anniversary, marking the end of an exceptional twelve months in which the firm has become the largest sports law practice in Europe, won a raft of major clients and been recognised as a Tier 1 market leader by The Legal 500.
Northridge is an independent law firm that focuses on the most complex and important matters in sport. In just one year of business, it has established itself as the firm the sports industry turns to when the stakes are highest.
During Year One, Northridge has advised on industry-shaping work such as the Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis, acted for the RFL on the restructuring of the Super League and worked with The FA on the launch of the Women’s Super League. Football club work has included advising AC Milan on their successful CAS appeal overturning their ban from European football and working with Farhad Moshiri on increasing his stake in Everton FC to 68.6%. Particular highlights of the team’s work for individuals include advising Dele Alli on his new long-term contract at Tottenham Hotspur and advising Thierry Henry on taking charge as manager of AS Monaco.
The firm has attracted a raft of new clients in its first year, including Puma, AC Milan, Kevin de Bruyne, Neymar, Confederation of African Football, World Rugby, Rugby Football League, FFR (France Rugby), Formula E and Betway. These major names join a market-leading client base that includes sporting bodies The Football Association, the British Horseracing Authority, Welsh Rugby Union, Premiership Rugby and the Greyhound Board of Great Britain; teams such as Chelsea FC, Everton FC, and Middlesbrough FC and individuals like Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, and Cesc Fabregas.
The firm has expanded to meet its growing workload, hiring nine new lawyers from firms such as Slaughter and May, Ashurst, Norton Rose and Hogan Lovells. This brings the team to 22 permanent fee earners (plus temporary fee earners and support staff), making it the largest sports law practice in Europe (whether boutique or within a full-service firm). An innovative profit-sharing pool has been introduced for all staff, ensuring that everyone is invested in the firm’s success.
Northridge’s market impact has been noted in the industry. Independent legal directory The Legal 500 UK ranked Northridge in Tier 1 for Sport, with Jonathan Ellis and Ian Lynam listed as Leading Individuals and James Eighteen as a Next Generation Lawyer. Ellis was described as ‘simply the best sports litigator there is’, Lynam was singled out as ‘one of the country’s foremost experts in commercial sports matters and image rights cases’ and Eighteen was highlighted as ‘a really impressive operator’. ‘Real go-to adviser’ Jon Walters and associates Ben Rees and Paul Shapiro were also recommended in the 2018 guide.
Founding partner Ian Lynam said: “It’s been an incredible Year One. The market reaction has been hugely encouraging,validating our decision to launch a firm specifically designed to advise the sports industry when the stakes are highest. The Legal 500 ranking was timed nicely to bookend what has been an exciting first twelve months.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS
Based in London, Northridge launched in October 2017 with founding partners Jonathan Ellis, Ian Lynam, Jon Walters and James Eighteen. Ellis and Lynam had headed up the Sports Group at Charles Russell Speechlys for the last five years, leading the team’s promotion to Tier 1 in both Chambers and Legal 500.
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. An enviable client base of businesses in the digital, gambling and leisure sectors and beyond moved with them alongside the core sports practice.