I wake up each morning at 6 am. Our office is in Liverpool but I live in Spinningfields in central Manchester so I need to get up and on the motorway to beat the traffic. A lot of my day is spent on the phone in any event so time in the car is generally useful to make some calls but I can’t call many people that early – not without receiving some choice words in response! I have a smoothie and yoghurt for breakfast at home and then head to the office. During the transfer window, I listen to Talksport in the car to catch up on what outlandish speculation has appeared on the morning’s back pages.
I arrive at work at 7am. Our offices are at the Albert Dock so in the summer it is lovely to pull into the Dock with the sun shining – it never fails to put an early morning smile on your face. We prefer to maintain an open plan office at Cassell Moore so that the whole team is together sharing thoughts and ideas and there are no internal barriers whatsoever between the team. As we are all sat open plan, I can speak to all of the team in the morning when they come in and catch up informally on what’s going on that day.
I will usually ring our partners on the sports side in Madrid first thing to find out what has gone on overnight. Our guys in Spain spend most of the evening liaising with the offices over in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador, and then we’ll speak early morning UK time to catch up on how it might affect our opportunities and relationships with UK football clubs. The transfer window is unsurprisingly our busiest time on the sports side, and during those weeks we’ll then catch up with clubs throughout the day via phone and whatsapp on where we’re up to with various deals. Premier League clubs are spread out across the country so a visit to meet with a club will usually take out most of the day. However, we have a number of local clubs so if we are tied up in the office we can still pop to Finch Farm to meet our contacts at Everton Football Club or likewise at Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, etc.
I tend to just grab lunch from anywhere. We have a really good coffee shop in our building – Teddy’s – which I’ll usually nip into to grab a sandwich and then get on with the day. Outside of transfer issues, we do a lot of work with ex-professional footballers around historic issues that may have led them into financial hot water such as film tax schemes gone wrong, bad investment advice and the like; this is headed up by my colleague, Gareth Farrelly (ex Everton, Bolton Wanderers and Republic of Ireland international). Gaz and I will usually chat over lunch to see where everything is up to on various matters.
A big part of what I do is look for opportunities and new work for the various departments that we have at Cassell Moore (Litigation, Real Estate, Corporate, Family, Employment, Wills, Trusts & Probate and Sports). I find that these opportunities often present themselves through working in the sports industry. MDs, CEOs, senior staff at intermediaries and the like spend their lives talking shop and they are often at their happiest talking about their passions, which is frequently sporting related. I will often meet a contact through sports and once we get to know each other and I get the opportunity to present our first class team to them (whether it be Family, Corporate, Real Estate, etc.) the relationship will lead on to us dealing with their legal issues. Also, sports people require a lot of varied legal assistance themselves throughout their career (buying and developing property assets, protecting themselves through pre nuptial agreements, preparing their wills and trusts, litigation around poor advice on investments) so I will commonly find that I will meet a contact around a sporting matter and it will lead to legal work for one of our other teams at Cassell Moore.
I will usually leave the office sometime between 6.30pm and 7.00pm. The drive back to Manchester is a very useful time for me as I can make a lot of phone calls on the way home. With partners of mine from the legal and sporting world, we are producing a feature film that I wrote called The Boy With The Thorn In His Side (@TheBWTTIHSFilm), which is due to start shooting in September 2014 and has a very exciting cast. I will generally call the lead producer of the film on the way home and catch up with him on where he is up to with cast, locations, and what the latest news is with the film. Again, the film world is full of weird and wonderful interesting people so contacts made in that world will often merge into legal work for our teams as it tends to be the case that if you can survive in the film industry you are of an entrepreneurial, get up and go bent. Our clients are frequently SMEs and self made owner managers of businesses and you often find these types of individuals at film related events.
My phone tends to never ever stop. During the transfer window, I need to have it constantly plugged in to charge. I will be busy with phone calls, text messages, whatsapp messages, etc. throughout the evening as you just never know when the deal may be secured. During the last transfer window, a premier league deal that I brokered was dead in the water when I left the office the evening before the window closed and by 9pm that evening I was on the way to the player’s home to collect him to take him down for this medical at his new club. As with the legal industry and most other industries in 2014, the sports industry never stops and your clients and contacts need to know that they can reach you whenever anything urgent crops up!
Stephen Morris is managing partner of Cassell Moore. Cassell Moore specialises in real estate, sports, corporate, employment, commercial litigation, family and wills, trusts and probate law.
Stephen is an FA and FIFA Registered Lawyer representing high profile sportspeople such as Hector Cuper (twice Champions League finalist), Borja Valero (Fiorentina), Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) and over ninety other elite footballers across the EPL, La Liga, Serie A and Premier Leagues in South America. You can watch Stephen leaving Crystal Palace’s training ground on Deadline Day: http://www1.skysports.com/watch/video/9145636/scott-dann-signs-for-