Maurice Watkins, Head of Sports Brabners Chaffe Street - Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Firstly, where do you work and what is your role?
I am joint senior partner and Head of Sport at Brabners Chaffe Street’s Manchester office.

Why did you choose a career in law?
Following on from a family tradition and an education in the classics.

What attracted you to your particular specialism?
It just evolved. I practised sports law alongside other disciplines. For a long time, I did not consider there was such a thing as sports law, merely a combination of many different aspects of the law applied to sport. Now it is a fully developed discipline in its own right.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Always the clients and the problems and challenges they bring with them.

What particular challenges are you or have you faced in these tougher times?
I am sure they are the same as everyone’s – pressure on fees, pressure on costs and working in a highly competitive market to retain existing clients and secure new ones.

What do you think will be growth opportunities for the legal profession over the next couple of years?
In my particular area, sports’ regulatory and commercial work will continue to grow. There are more and more opportunities for international work as the world seems to get smaller and smaller.

What’s been your most enjoyable or high profile recent piece of work?
Nothing quite like the past with such cases as Eric Cantona and the most famous common assault in the History of the English Legal System but plenty of interesting assignments. In the last year, carrying out the Watkins Review of Rugby League Governance - was both demanding and interesting.

What inspires you when it comes to your work?
Working with good people, having testing cases to solve and winning new clients.

Do you work by a particular mantra or motto in your business life?
Try and solve problems, not create them.

Can you give one piece of professional advice to your peers?
Treat people with respect and don’t “crow” over your successes.