US firm Altheimer & Gray is set to team up with accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward to launch a new sports practice group

The two professional services firms are already close: BDO audits Altheimer's books and Altheimer provides corporate advice to the accountancy firm.

“It's taking the concept of cooperation one step further. We're not going to merge. We'll continue to work separately but will work together on marketing,” said Patricia Martin, Altheimer's head of dispute resolution, who is spearheading the effort.

Martin explained that both firms are building on contacts that they already have in the sporting industry. Altheimer has excellent contacts at the country's racecourses and the corporate department has advised on many licensing issues for the gaming industry.

Six Altheimer lawyers and six staff from BDO will meet this week to discuss the project. The Altheimer delegation consists of corporate and employment lawyers and dispute resolution partners.

Martin is hoping to challenge the belief that firms either work for sportspeople or for their clubs, citing acting for buyers and sellers in international trade work. The firms will target players' agents to assist their clients during and after their careers.

“Most sportspeople aren't lucky enough to have a post-sports career like Gary Lineker,” said Martin. “They need careful advice from lawyers and accountants.”

Martin believes litigators could assist with drugs cases and mediate between sportsperson and club.