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Top-tier sports law team spins off from Charles Russell Speechlys as Wiggin acquires IP boutique Redd

A four-partner, top-ranked  sports law team from Charles Russell Speechlys has spun off to create specialist boutique firm Northridge, while media and brands specialist Wiggin has acquired intellectual property (IP) practice Redd.

Northridge founding partners Jonathan Ellis, Ian Lynam, Jon Walters and James Eighteen, who led Charles Russell’s sports law team to tier 1 in the Legal 500, launch the new firm this morning (23 October) with a starting team comprised of 16 fee earners.

Northridge’s launch has been accelerated by an impressive pre-existing portfolio of clients including The Football Association (FA), leading Premier League football clubs, the Welsh Rugby Union and Premiership Rugby.

In addition to the listed institutions, Northridge can also count football stars Dele Alli, Cesc Fabregas, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on its books.

Lynam told Legal Business that the team ‘saw an opportunity to have a firm with a specialist focus but also with the scale and experience to deal with high-profile matters in sports.’

He added: ‘We felt we had the ability to have that focus which will create a better service for clients.’

The Northridge team’s recent work has seen them act for Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri during his investment in Premier League outfit Everton Football Club, and representing the FA at the Hillsborough inquest.

The team’s loss is a heavy blow to Charles Russell Speechlys, although the firm recorded stable financial results this year with revenues rising by 3% and profit per equity partner jumping 8%. Head of the firm’s sports group, Jason Saiban, commented; ‘We wish Ian, Jon, James and Jon every success in their new endeavour. We remain committed to the sports sector and will continue to build on our 100 year-old heritage. We are excited about the sports opportunities available to us domestically and internationally, as we expand our reach into new markets such as South East Asia.’

Meanwhile, Redd is set to combine with Wiggin on 6 November after the firms announced a deal today. The merged team will combine two strong IP teams, combining 20 IP specialists who will work across Wiggin’s offices.

In a statement, Wiggin chief executive John Banister commented: ‘Wiggin devised an assertive growth strategy a few years ago that was focused on our key markets – delivering innovative IP solutions is a critical component of this. Redd’s specialist approach, excellent lawyers and entrepreneurialism represents a real synergy with Wiggin and will enable us to provide a full IP offering to our clients.’

Redd, which formed in 2004 as a spin-out from legacy Jones Day UK firm Gouldens, has a client base including start-ups and multinationals across a number of sectors.