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24 October 2017 at 06:45 BST

Charles Russell sports team departs to set up Northridge

One of the UK's largest sports law practices has suffered a mass defection.

Northridge: Some of Arsenal's top stars were represented by members of the new firm Philip Willcocks

The four partner strong team has departed from Charles Russell Speechlys (CSR)  to set up a new law firm, Northridge Law. Jonathan Ellis and Ian Lynam headed up the sports group at CRS and join Jon Walters and James Eighteen to launch the law firm with a starting headcount of 16 fee earners and a number of top clients including The Football Association, leading Premier League football clubs, the Welsh Rugby Union, Premiership Rugby and a roster of high profile sports stars such as Dele Alli, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Founding partner Ian Lynam stated: 'We have been delighted with the response from all of our clients in following us to Northridge. Our focus and scale will enable us to build on our position as the team to turn to in the sports industry when the stakes are highest.'

Inclusive management structure

Founding partner Jonathan Ellis added: 'The quality and depth of our team is what sets us apart. Our associates have market-leading experience, with many of them being trusted advisors to our core clients. We will start on day one with 16 fee earners and have ambitious recruitment plans for the coming year. We are committed to repaying the confidence that the team has shown in us by operating an inclusive management structure and by having each member of the team share in the success of the firm.'

Broad range of services

Northridge will provide a broad range of services from disputes and regulatory to commercial and corporate. It will advise on  complex disputes and investigations, business critical corporate and commercial deals, governance and regulation for governing bodies, and the most sensitive, high profile issues for professional athletes. Examples of recent work include: acting for Farhad Moshiri on his investment in Everton FC; representing The FA at the Hillsborough inquest; successfully defending the IAAF in appeal proceedings before CAS and acting as the Solicitors and Secretariat on the on-going Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis.  Beyond sport, the Northridge team is recognised by the directories for general commercial advice and in media and entertainment for its expertise in advertising and marketing matters. 

Managing associates

The four partners will be joined by three managing associates: Hannah Brunskill (also Northridge’s COO), Ben Rees and Paul Shapiro. The team also includes four associates, two trainees, three paralegals, an office manager and a PA. Northridge is supported by Kindleworth, a consultancy that has been behind the launch of some of the most high profile law firms in the last few years. 

Football Association

'The FA has had a long standing relationship with Jon Ellis and the rest of the team. I also worked with Jon in my former role at the Rugby Football Union. The team’s advice is commercial, strategic but above all the team knows The FA so well that the advice is always ideally bespoke to The FA. We look forward to continuing to work with the team in the new firm, Northridge, which promises to be a huge success,'  Polly Handford, Director of Legal and Governance, said of the team. 


'I've had the pleasure to work with Ian and his team for many years at Arsenal and on several projects subsequently. Their knowledge on football's regulatory matters is unparalleled and they are forceful and shrewd negotiators. I wish them every success in their new venture and I will certainly be supporting them,' David Dein, former Vice-Chairman of Arsenal FC said. 


'Jon Walters and the team act as an extra arm of the business. They provided invaluable assistance on the Gaga deal guiding us through the complex design, delivery, IP and liability issues,' Nancy Tilbury, Executive Creative Director and Co-Founder of XO, added.


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