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Bar Standards Board scores football specialists as first ABS

Anderson: one of six partners

The Bar Standards Board has licensed its first alternative business structure, a combination of barristers from 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings (2DJB) and football agents.

VII Law – which started life last year as a BSB entity – is working alongside VII Management, a sports, entertainment and media business set up by George Gros, who is one of the partners of the law firm.

Along with four barristers from 2DJB – including head of chambers Mark Love – the sixth partner of VII Law is well-known football agent Jerome Anderson.

Mr Anderson, the first ever FIFA-licensed agent, claims to be the first agent to introduce foreign stars to the English Premier League, such as Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars to Arsenal, and Uwe Rosler to Manchester City.

He was the founder and CEO of Sport Entertainment and Media Group plc from 2001 until 2011, where Mr Gros also worked. There he represented Lennox Lewis among others.

VII Law offers end-to-end commercial, crime, employment, family and sports law advice, in addition to football-related services. One of the barrister partners, Simon Collingham, is also a registered football agent.

Mr Collingham, along with colleague Rossano Cifonelli, set up VII Law last year as a BSB-regulated firm to provide clients with a “bespoke service”, principally in sports, entertainment and media law.

Speaking to Legal Futures at the time [1], he said VII Law would “fit nicely” into the work of the chambers, which was centred on crime and family work, much of which was legally aided.

“The changing legal landscape means that chambers need to broaden their expertise into more commercial work,” he said.

“We will use solicitors if we need to, but why would we want to give work away when we have the potential to build a business? We are hoping to attract high-profile clients who want a five-star service.”

VII Law’s website says: “VII Law is unique. VII Law brings together influential and experienced football agents/intermediaries together with barristers to provide a professional and regulated package of services for modern professional footballers, managers and clubs…

“Our bespoke, holistic approach to providing advice offers a genuinely unique service of excellence that usual licenced Intermediaries/agency services cannot provide.”

Mr Love acts as the liaison with 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings and the firm’s website said “he will also provide assistance and advice in the areas of the risk associated with the development of a legal undertaking”.

Steve Lavell, the senior clerk at 2DJB, is also the senior administrator for VII Law.

Oliver Hanmer, director of regulatory assurance at the BSB, said: “VII Law is the first ABS to be licensed by the BSB. As the regulator of barristers, we are committed to helping the Bar develop new and innovative ways of providing legal services. We look forward to licensing more ABSs in the future.”