Clyde & Co has the edge in race for sports lawyer

Clyde & Co has beaten Edge Ellison in the race to sign former Edward Lewis partner and leading sports lawyer Michael Breen.

The signing is a coup for Clyde & Co which currently only has a one-partner sports practice.

Breen, one of the last partners to leave Edward Lewis, had been in talks with Birmingham giant and leading sports practice Edge Ellison. But he is joining Clyde & Co as partner in charge of sports law. He brings with him three staff, including an assistant.

Clyde & Co's corporate and commercial partner Tim Matthews confirms that the firm had been chasing Breen.

He says: “We pursued him. The break-up of Edward Lewis became public news and we were keen to improve our sports law department.

“We had negotiations since before Christmas and they have reached him making a decision to join us. I know that he was talking to another firm but from the start he said he liked us. He chose the firm he would fit in with.”

Edge Ellison senior partner James Retallack says that although his firm had been talking to Breen, the “conversations had not got that far down the line”.

Clyde & Co's three-lawyer sports law group was established 18 months ago by Matthews. He says: “Sports law is an area that we are interested in. I have managed to achieve a lot on my own but the thing I did not have was critical mass.”

The firm recently acted for the Bank of Scotland on its Scottish Premier League sponsorship contract.

Breen, who specialises in commercial, sponsorship, IP and merchandising agreements, will bring a range of clients with him, including Formula One champion Damon Hill. He has also acted for fellow racing drivers Stirling Moss and Martin Brundle and top athletes Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Colin Jackson.

Breen says: “I wanted to work with people I liked. The firm has a fantastic international client base and is moving up a gear in this area of business law.”

Davenport Lyons is advising 110 Edward Lewis employees on the terms of their departure. Some litigation is anticipated.