Close search
James Earl

James Earl


I lead the Fladgate’s Commercial, Sports & IP team. I have extensive experience in working with the full spectrum of stakeholders across an array of issues in the broad sports field, including national and international governing bodies, funders/investors, teams and clubs alongside rights holders, brands and agencies.


I originally trained in South Australia and qualified as a tax lawyer, before moving into work in the sports sector which was cemented by moving to a UK sports law practice in 2005. This was my attempt to mix something I loved with a day job and, some two decades later, it has been a very exciting ride and is a decision I never regret.

Working in sport as a lawyer means that your horizon is unlimited in terms of opportunity and work types and it must be one of the fastest changing industries I know of. Probably the greatest part is that my clients are extremely passionate about what they do and why they do it and this genuinely makes concluding deals and solving problems for them all the more satisfying. Sports law is also very multifaceted, meaning that there many legal disciplines involved. To that end, I’ve only ever been able to achieve success by having a lot of talented people around me and that is a key reason why Fladgate has been a great home for me from day one.

My family also has quite a few ties to the wine industry and through that, I continue a great love of collecting wine (and of course drinking it). My absolute favourite thing is helping friends to discover new wines and from some of the farther flung parts of the world. I otherwise like anything that involves being outside but skiing would probably be the top of the pick when I am lucky enough to do it.


Our sector experience spans a wide range of sports including motor racing, where we have advised teams and drivers in Formula 1, A1 GP, World Rally, Cart, Indy Car and Moto GP, and cricket, football, golf and cycling. We have supported clients on a range of a matters including: intellectual property, sponsorship, broadcasting & web rights, fundraising, events, and regulatory issues.


The leisure sector is experiencing a period of accelerated change and expansion in response to new technologies and changing consumer behaviours. Drawing on the expertise of our diverse firm, our team provides advice on a wide range of legal and business challenges.


Our expert team advise on all aspects of commercial law, including commercial agency, contracts, competition, data protection and cyber security, digital business and consumer, intellectual property, outsourcing and technology.


Advising on venture capital and growth capital investments, the team offers extensive experience of market practice enabling the delivery of VC fundraisings in a timely and efficient manner. Clients trust the team to work on unusual and complex matters and guide them through difficult investments which are frequently first-of-a-kind.


Our technology team covers the full range of advisory and transactional work, from day-to-day commercial advice, such as software licensing and channel arrangements, through to negotiating major systems procurement, systems integration and outsourcing transactions.


Outsourcing and offshoring advice from a team who can help clients with every stage of the outsourcing process, from drafting the legal and contractual elements of tender documentation and evaluating supplier responses to service level agreements and scheduling.


We act across a broad swathe of corporate matters in the UK and internationally on both public and private deals.



  • Advised on LimeLight Sports’ acquisition of Virgin Sports. Virgin Sport is a mass participation business and Limelight’s sports marketing group will take over the three major events which were run by Virgin Sport - the Asics London 10k, the Oxford Half Marathon, and the Hackney Half Marathon.
  • Advised Surrey County Cricket Club on a number of matters, including the planning and hosting of significant tournament, ‘The Hundred’.
  • Advising leading energy drink brand Monster Energy in relation to Monster Energy’s largest-ever football sponsorship program.
  • Advised 23 Capital on over 20 transactions with a total deal value in excess of £500 million.
  • lvaro Morata on his transfer from Real Madrid to Chelsea Football Club in a record value deal.


Contact us
Partner bg