The interview – Q & A with Nick Bitel of Kerman & Co

editor

Kerman & Co. LLP merged with Max Bitel Greene on January 1st 2012, with the combined firm operating under the Kerman and Co. name out of offices in the Strand. Nick Bitel is regarded as one of Britain’s best sports lawyers.

What is the rationale behind the recent merger Kerman & Co. and Max Bitel Greene LLP?

The firms share similar values and we firmly believe our clients can benefit from being served by the wider, deeper bench of experience created by the merger of our two firms. The merger will allow increased involvement in the corporate side of sport. Sport represents over 2% of European GDP. We now have the firepower to truly target this market, and clearly we will be keen to take advantage of our increased market presence.

What are the specialist subjects and sectors you operate in?

Our expertise covers all areas of law, as well as more specialised subjects such as employment, property, sports, media and entertainment law. Sectors we operate in include construction, estate planning, insurance, intellectual property, natural resources, retail and leisure, sport and IT.

How did you come to specialise in Sports law?

I’ve always been interested in Sport. I support West Ham, but I used to be Vice Chairman of Wigan Athletic, which we sold to David Whelan in 1995. But it’s not all football. I am Chief Executive of the London Marathon and am a Board Member of the Olympic Park Legacy Company. Some of the work we do includes having law offices on site during tournaments, to deal with anti-infringement offences, copyright breaches and “guerrilla” branding and marketing.

Clients include?

Our first sports clients were George Graham and Frank McLintock, both veterans of Arsenal’s 1971 double-winning team. Now we’re better known for acting for sports events and governing bodies. We’ve represented the Ryder Cup since 1989 and the Wimbledon Championships since 1991. We also act for the PGA European Tour, UEFA, ECB and the RFU. We still do act in football and we advised Emmanuel Adebayor when he went to Manchester City and Harry Redknapp when he went to Spurs.

Interesting moments on the pitch?

Being outmarked by prolific goalscorer, England, Arsenal and West Ham’s John Radford.

Interesting moments off the pitch?

Helping the AIM flotation of the world’s biggest football agents, Wembley-based First Artists. Working with Harry Redknapp is always interesting and being called round to Alan Sugar’s house to advise George Graham was a moment to savour!

What’s the future hold for Sports law?

Sports law is now seen as a distinct branch of the law and we have been at the forefront of the development of this discipline, particularly in relation to doping, ticketing and brand protection work. I wouldn’t suggest that Sports law is recession-proof, but there is still plenty of opportunity out there.

Do you have any further expansion plans?

Our Dublin office was opened at the end of 2011 and is now led by Sean Nolan, a senior lawyer with over 11 years’ experience, gained at one of the leading international firms with offices in Dublin. Kerman delivers Irish Legal Services and covers a wide range of sectors serving both clients based in Ireland and those located outside wanting to establish, invest or do business in Ireland.

Which team should inherit the Olympic Stadium as their homeground?

I have a view, but I can’t possibly share it with you!

Kerman & Co. LLP

Tel: 020 7539 7272

Email: info@kermanco.com

www.mbg.co.uk

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