Pinewood studios reels in its first counsel

Pinewood Shepperton, the owner of the studios where the James Bond films are made, has hired its first counsel.

Matt Richardson joins Pinewood from broadcasting company ViaSat, where he was part of a seven-strong team headed by former Olympic rower Jonny Searle. Prior to ViaSat, Richardson was an assistant solicitor at Olswang.

Richardson said his hire was designed to give more consistency to Pinewood’s legal offering, which has traditionally been focused on using outside counsel. He joins the company as its only in-house solicitor.

Travers Smith previously handled most of the studio’s legal work. In 2000 it was used by 3i to act for the private equity firm on the £62m buyout of Pinewood from Rank.

Travers then won the mandate to advise Pinewood on its 2001 acquisition of special effects outfit Shepperton, as well as the May 2004 IPO of Pinewood Shepperton, which raised more than £80m.

In April 2005 the company acquired Teddington Studios for £2.7m.

Major film franchises such as James Bond, Harry Potter, Batman and Superman have all been filmed at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios. The studios are also used to film a number of television productions and advertisements.