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

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Guest Blog:  Manuela Macchi, Partner, Keltie LLP – 23 April 2015 

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


On Tuesday night Keltie LLP hosted and sponsored a presentation by Patrick Stewart, Director of Legal & Business Affairs at Manchester United.

The event was organised by the 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


You may be interested to see some photos from our event with Patrick Stewart.

About Manuela Macchi 

Manuela2Manuela is a partner and trade mark attorney at Keltie LLP, a firm of patent and trade mark attorneys.

Manuela’s substantial trade mark practice ranges from clearance searches and prosecution, to due diligence projects, oppositions and other contentious matters, negotiations and IP focussed contracts. She manages a number of worldwide trade mark portfolios being responsible for their overall strategy. In 2013 Manuela founded Keltie’s Sports Trade Mark Practice. The practice has gone from strength to strength, with Manuela working for some high profile sports clients.

Manuela also co-heads the Keltie design team responsible for design clearance. Manuela is also experienced in domain name, copyright and design matters.

Manuela edits Keltie’s case commentaries published in the ITMA Review and writes and edits blog pieces for IPCopy. She is involved in professional development as the curator, speaker and moderator of workshops for In-house Trade Mark Counsel held at Keltie every quarter.

The Legal 500 2015 describes Manuela as “highly knowledgeable and skilled”.


You can also find Manuela’s blog post here: IPCOPY


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