Mark, congratulations on your new role. How’s it been so far?
It has been wonderful. The firm has a strong sports and media practice and really understands the area. They are very supportive and are great colleagues to work with.
What prompted the move?
A mixture of personal and professional reaons. For personal reasons I wanted to return to London. This dove-tailed nicely with the direction my career was taking; London is the UK centre for sports law. Once I was approached by Hamlins and met the partners, I knew this was a great move.
What are the main differences between Hamlins and Burgess Salmon?
I think I have referred to them above. Hamlins has a strong sports and media practice. It “gets” the area and wants to achieve what I want to achieve in it.
The Sports market seems strong at the moment. How are you finding things?
It is. Just look at the new Premier League deal – over £5 billion over three years. The economy is improving strongly and the sports sponsorship market has picked up. There is a demand for better governance in sport (see FIFA) and that has already led to their being increased demand for regulatory advice and for the enforcement of existing regulatory norms.
What’s your focus going to be on initially?
My initial focus has been on transferring my existing client base from Burgess Salmon to Hamlins. This I have now done. I’ve aimed to show my clients how the Hamlins offering may be attractive to them in areas outside my direct practice area.
What do you think will be the growth areas and where is your work coming from?
That would be telling! I think that the recent focus on the regulatory arena and achieving appropriate standards of governance in sports will be an area of increased focus. I think the control of finances such as FFP (Financial Fair Play) in football and rearranging the finances of F1 will be areas of growth.
What are your aims and ambitions for the new practice?
To make Hamlins a first tier, full service sports law practice, providing sports governing bodies with the finest quality advice and assistance in all the important areas of their business.
Where would you like it to be in five years’ time?
I would like to have achieved my aims and ambitions.
What’s been your own personal career highlight so far?
Being driven around the Ferrari test track by a Ferrari test driver in a Ferrari! Seriously though, my role in creating the first IAAF Anti-Doping Rules, which were the first to take doping seriously was a career high. Also important have been my victories in high profile cases. Most important has been the friendships I have made with the fascinating people that I know and have known in the sports world. I have been very lucky.