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HOW ABOUT A CAREER AS A SPORTS LAWYER IN THE UK? HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

INTRODUCTION 

Business, it’s everywhere. There’re an estimated 195 countries in the world which have some kind of legal tender and plenty of suits eyeing every different coin. And just like in every walk of life, behind every pair of eyes, there are honourable and dishonourable intentions. 

The larger the rainbow, the bigger the pot of gold at the end of it, none coming much greater than that of sport. And you can bet your bottom dollar there’s a few corner cutters wanting more than just their fair share. 

In comes the long arm of justice and its independent legal teams. They’ll ensure behind closed doors business meetings are fair and have everyone’s best interests at heart. Leading the frontlines against any corruption that’s infected our beautiful games. 

In this article you’ll learn all about the legal custodians in a sports environment. Featuring what it takes, how to get there, recent goings on and more. 

SKILLS REQUIRED 

  • Amazing focus and eye for detail when reading/drafting significantly large documents. 
  • Your writing and reading must be exemplary, as when explaining law, you need to alleviate confusion and accurately follow it to the letter. 
  • Being openminded and welcoming when negotiating, as you don’t want difference of opinion to disrupt or potentially end a meeting. 
  • Acute time management as you don’t want bad first impressions being late and also as some huge law matters can take you well into the evening. 
  • An ability to intake huge amounts of information and relay them into much more manageable and easier to stomach pieces.  

RESPONSIBILITIES OF A SPORTS LAWYER 

Although this career path shares similarities with a sports agent, and indeed they both entail helping players with their contract negotiations, a sports lawyer is able to ensure their clients legal protection and act if they feel it’s being infringed. 

In this sector you’ll play a huge part in negotiations, aiding clients in their business deals when it comes to the fine details of the law. Including various agreements in things such as broadcasting rights and contractual obligations displayed. 

If you find there’s a breach in someone’s contracted agreement you can file for legal action, which in many cases leads to the offender being sued. 

Another role you’ll play is the drafting and publication of legal documents to be explained to and signed by your client, which upholds every agreed term previously discussed. 

CAREER PATHWAY FOR SPORTS LAWYER IN THE UK 

For a career in sports law, you’ll have to: 

Have pre-existing experience in either law or the sports sector for a job. 

Have an IELTS score of 6.5 if you’re not an English speaker and are looking to study in university. 

Have an honours degree with 2:2 or an international equivalent in a relevant subject. 

Law firms say it’s best to gain experience in general law first and then see if you can transition towards being involved in their sports branch if they have one. 

10 TOP UK ORGANISATIONS IN SPORT LAW 

  • Pinder Reaux solicitors 
  • 11KBW 
  • 39 Essex Chambers 
  • Mackrell Solicitors 
  • Charles Russel Speechlys 
  • Bird & Bird 
  • Northridge Law LLP 
  • Onside Law 
  • DLA Piper LLP 
  • Level 

ULTIMATE EARNING POTENTIAL FOR SPORTS LAWYERS IN THE UK 

At first, you’ll start off earning a yearly amount of £25,500. 

As you gain experience and hone your craft, you can see your wage rise of £55,000. 

Through a great reputation and vast experience, also depending on your employer, you could earn up to £150,000. 

YOUR SKILL DEVELOPMENT AS A LAWYER 

Throughout your time you’ll come to grips in a sector with lots of grey areas when it comes to law. Each competition/league usually has a different governing body associated with it, thus may have different rules and regulations to adhere to. This means your problem-solving skills will improve massively as many rules might require your own interpretation in order to apply them lawfully.  

You’ll be able to relay large documents to an inexperienced client in ways that make sense to them. They must be aware fully of what they’re signing up for as it can have huge significance on their career or their employers. 

There’ll be a direct contribution to your patience as the night drags on and a deal keeps meandering, having to keep sub-zero levels of cool to see a deal out. This gives you crucial experience on how to remain professional and helpful when tiredness creeps on. 

RECENT TRENDS IN SPORTS LAW 

Like we said before, the financial pie of sport is too appealing. The modern day of sport isn’t as safe as it ought to be. Scoundrels masquerading as business owners threaten the integrity of fairness and fans suffer regularly.  

Sports associations become owned by the dishonourable and because of this there’s a driving change for an independent regulator to be introduced, so they’re not free to dictate how they please and there will be repercussions. These are historical institutions that need protecting or they’ll wither and wilt.  

Image rights are becoming a much bigger part in sports law. Huge sports stars are recognising how valuable their image rights can be. Some footballers are now asking for payment if games like FIFA want to keep using their name and likeness.  

There’s been a shift in legal action over failure to safeguard athletes, especially in contact sport. Physical clashes in sport, most notably head trauma, can be traced to later development of mental conditions such as dementia.  

Sport as a whole has taken huge steps forward including: Safety halos in Formula 1 to protect drivers heads if the car flips over. Concussion protocols have been introduced to football, where a player must complete a few on field medical tests if they’ve taken a blow to the head before continuing. 

CONCLUSION 

Through this piece we hope we’ve been able to cast some light on the extravagant sounding role of a sports lawyer. As nice as it might be, to discuss and sign off on huge sports deals, they are integral to how sports operate under independent scrutiny. 

we couldn’t begin to imagine the relationship that would exist between athletes and businesses without them. The whole landscape would be outlawed and people would be taken advantage of. 

It’s vital to protect those against all kind’s potential exploitation and protect the longevity of their respective careers.  


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