Law firms join London’s battle for Olympic Games

This month’s publication of London’s Olympic venues for the 2012 games finally gave substance to a bid that promises to generate once in a life time legal work for a select group of firms.

London 2012, the bid vehicle created in August, now has its own legal function and has brought an army of external legal advisers on board.

Ashurst Morris Crisp worked on the formation of the company by virtue of its relationship with chairman Barbara Cassani from her days as Go chief executive. But Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Berwin Leigton Paisner are all supporting the bid by agreeing to contribute legal services. All four firms will be recognised in London 2012’s marketing programme and will receive certain rights of association with the bid.

London 2012 commercial director Charlie Wijeratna told The Lawyer: “There is a large amount of legal work to be done if we are to present a credible bid. Their support enhances our chances of winning the games and demonstrates the commitment of London’s business community to the bid.”

The firms have agreed to work together and will send secondees to the bid offices to create a cohesive legal team.

For all concerned, the next key date is 15 January 2004, when the International Olympic Committee must receive the applicant cities’ questionnaires.

Lawyers shaping London’s 2012 Olympic bid
London 2012
The bid vehicle’s in-house team comprises former Clifford Chance lawyer Charlie Wijeratna as commercial director, assistant Alastair Ruxton, who has just joined from Olswang, and Australian-qualified Mitchell Wells. The team’s most pressing objective is to complete London’s applicant questionnaire.
London 2012 has instructed a host of law firms to assist with the bid: Ashurst Morris Crisp (Jan Sanders) will handle infrastructure projects and will also give employment advice; Clifford Chance (Daniel Sandelson) will advise on IT, intellectual property, venue use, sponsorship and marketing agreements; Freshfields (Tim Jones) is general corporate counsel and will advise on commercial agreements; and Berwin Leighton Paisner (Ian Trehearne) will advise on planning.

London 2012 has three key stakeholders:

British Olympic Association
Working with British Olympic Association (BOA) legal director Sara Friend, Farrer & Co (James Thorne, Karena Vleck, Peter Wienand, Robert Datnow) played a key role in establishing the bid company. Going forward, Farrers’ role is likely to include ensuring that the BOA’s interestes are developed and protected. It may also be asked to advise on marketing to raise finance for the bid vehicle. Both the BOA and International Olympic Committee (IOC) have roles in approving certain aspects of the granting of commercial rights by the bid company in line with IOC rules.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Denton Wilde Sapte (Matthew Jones, Adrian Barr-Smith, Charles Reddish) worked with the Treasury Solicitor to advise DCMS on its pivotal role in pushing London’s bid forward. Dentons drafted the London 2012 stakeholder agreements and advised on the funding of the bid vehicle.

The Greater London Authority
Wragge & Co (Peter Keith-Lucas) advised the GLA in relation to the creation of a bid vehicle before winning the beauty parade to advise it on the actual bid as and when issues arise.

London 2012 has a major funding partner in the London Development Agency (LDA):

London Development Agency
Herbert Smith advised the LDA on its funding agreement with London 2012. If the bid is successful, the LDA will provide substantial sums towards delivering the games. Eversheds (Neil Logan-Green) is advising the LDA on the Olympic site assembly and procuring the delivery of all facilities for the Olympics, so the firm is right in the thick of things.