Home » General Interest » A Lawyer at Man Utd: Patrick Stewart on His Career in Football

A Lawyer at Man Utd: Patrick Stewart on His Career in Football

Keltie LLP

K2 IP Limited

About IPcopy

IPcopy is an intellectual property related news site covering a wide variety of IP related news and issues. We will also take the odd lighthearted look at IP. Feel free to contact us via the details on the About Us page.

Disclaimer: Unless stated otherwise, the contributors to IPcopy (the "IPcopy writers") are patent and trade mark attorneys or patent and trade mark assistants at Keltie LLP or are network attorneys at K2 IP Limited. Guest contributors will be identified.

This news site is the personal site of the contributors and is not edited by the authors' employer in any way. From time to time however IPcopy may publish practice notes, legal updates and marketing news from Keltie LLP or K2 IP Limited. Any such posts will be clearly marked.

This news site is for information purposes only. Information posted to this news site is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. If you require IP related legal advice please contact your legal representative.

For the avoidance of doubt Keltie LLP and K2 IP Limited have no liability as to the content of IPcopy and any related tweets or social media posts.

Left to right: Sean Cummings, Patrick Stewart and Colin Carroll

Left to right: Sean Cummings, Patrick Stewart and Colin Carroll

On Tuesday night Keltie hosted and sponsored a presentation by Patrick Stewart, Director of Legal & Business Affairs at Manchester United. The event was organised by LBDC (‘Lawyers Business Development Club) and brilliantly introduced by LBDC’s CEO Colin Carroll and Keltie Partner, Sean Cummings. We had a full house and were sorry that several interested people could not get a place. However, for those who could not attend and as a memo for those who could, here is a brief account of the talk, that leaves out the witty anecdotes (sorry, I know it’s those you are after, but I don’t think it’s fair to publish them on a blog).

Patrick spoke about his career development, his past role with TEAM Marketing in Switzerland until 2006 and his current role at Man Utd, touching briefly on his early steps in the legal sector in private practice. Being a trade mark attorney, I was interested to hear that these included some time in the commercial and non-contentious IP department of a Scottish law firm. During this time, he handled work for a number of football clubs and, as a keen football fan, perceived  the opportunity of making a career out of something he loved.

His role at TEAM Marketing was incredibly varied and not only legal. It involved hands-on tasks such as on site work at football matches, securing best positions for cameras and giving refs the go-ahead for kick-off. To our envy, he admitted that as a football fan, he was like a kid in a candy shop. When he moved to Man Utd in 2006, he was their first in-house lawyer (and one of the first few in-house lawyers at a football club in the UK) and faced the challenges of setting up a new department from scratch (no precedents, no templates, etc.). He now leads a legal team of 11, who handle all legal work, from players deals to sponsorship deals, as well as some managerial appointments. In 8 years he has seen the club go through a time of real commercial growth, being listed on the NY stock exchange and change sponsors (Nike to Adidas), a once in a decade event, and, not least, the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. He described it as an incredibly dynamic environment.

For those who wish to pursue a legal career in sports, Patrick admitted that his was not entirely calculated from the outset, but he had one good piece of advice to offer: be flexible (especially as to geographic location) as this increases the opportunities enormously.

The best bites we have taken away from the Q&A session are his advice on how to manage  heavy workloads in an environment that is subject to constant attention from the press (have a wife and two daughters who are not interested in football and put things into perspective) and what is one of the main challenges faced by football as a sector at present (the need to develop a system to protect rights, such as content, against non-physical (e.g. digital) infringement). As IP lawyers we know it too well.

Thank you Patrick for an extremely enjoyable talk and for being so generous in sharing your experiences and funny stories.

Manuela Macchi, Partner, Keltie LLP – 23 April 2015


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: