In search of a legal olympian

The race to be general counsel of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog) is on, so The Lawyer thought it would steal headhunter Elizabeth Wall’s thunder and put together a quick shortlist.

Locog is after a real heavyweight from the corporate world or private practice. The money will be good but not in the millions, so hopefully the successful candidate’s kids will be clear of school.

There are a few notable CVs on the market from private practice. Peter Cornell, the outgoing managing partner of Clifford Chance, has had enough experience dealing with a tricky political environment to cope with a role that will involve managing relationships with both Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone.

Recently ‘retired’ Freshfields senior partner Anthony Salz is seeking gainful employment following an extended holiday but he is understood to be seeking a non-legal role. The clever money is on him re-emerging at an investment bank.

From the world of sport, Denton Wilde Sapte’s head of media and sport Adrian Barr-Smith was involved with the early stages of the bid – and he should have time on his hands since the majority of his team quit for DLA Piper in 2004.

Maurice Watkins handled the politics inside Old Trafford with style before the Glazers took over at Manchester United. One would hope his new role as joint senior partner of Brabners’ Manchester office would not stop him from taking on this new role.

But Locog should not be looked at solely as a sporting organisation. It will be a huge corporate entity with a complex set of stakeholders.

Former J Sainsbury general counsel David Thurston would fit the bill, but is understood to be happily building furniture somewhere. And another recently departed general counsel probably has a soft spot for Locog’s offices up at the top of Canary Wharf. Canary Wharf Group’s former legal boss Michael Ashley-Brown recently stepped down and would have the clout and the media savvy to carry out a role that is going to be conducted in the spotlight.

However, one name stands out from all the rest. He’s a heavyweight corporate lawyer with bags of managerial experience; he commands respect in the City and in the world of sport. Surely he’s earned enough money by now. Step forward Nigel Boardman. Your country needs you.