Manchester United FC’s principal legal adviser James Chapman & Co is on tenterhooks as it awaits the appointment of the club’s first in-house lawyer.
Man Utd, which was recently taken over by US sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer, is forging ahead with plans to hire a senior lawyer to launch an in-house legal function. James Chapman senior partner Maurice Watkins was one of the club’s directors before being controversially removed from the board at last November’s annual general meeting.
It is understood that Man Utd decided to launch an in-house legal function before it was taken over. According to well-placed sources, Man Utd started exploring the benefits of hiring an in-house lawyer long before Glazer had tabled a formal bid for the club.
In addition to supporting Man Utd’s commercial interests and venue management, the successful candidate will also manage the club’s relationship with external lawyers.
The appointment may have repercussions for James Chapman, which has advised the club for many years and which is currently its de facto in-house legal adviser, as the club is likely to cut the amount of legal work it outsources in the future. The move may also result in the termination of the secondment programme the firm has in place with Man Utd.