Squire Patton Boggs and Women in Sports Law were delighted to co-host a breakfast panel event in London on 9 May 2024, showcasing four esteemed women working in the sports industry. The panellists included Edwina Haddon (Senior Counsel, Chelsea Football Club), Janice Shardlow (Director of Governance, Commonwealth Games Federation), Julia Lowis (Senior Legal Counsel, International Tennis Integrity Agency) and Catherine Ure (Legal Counsel, Red Bull Racing).

The thought-provoking and lively discussion included:

  • What initially attracted each panellist to sports law, and how they ultimately made it into the profession and their current role
  • Tips and tricks for women seeking to move into and upwards in sports law
  • Career challenges they have faced and how these were overcome
  • Current role and their typical working day
  • The dynamics of working in a male-dominated industry

Our panellists highlighted their differing professional backgrounds and career routes, and explained how they overcame various challenges in order to achieve their career goals (both personal and external hurdles). They also highlighted some key skills for success, how perseverance and resilience are vital, and the importance of a strong and intentional professional network. 

Key soundbites from the session included:

On being a successful sports lawyer:

“Problem solving is so important. You need to know what you could add to a sports organisation and demonstrate key qualities, such as being logical, taking on a lot of information and dissecting it, identifying solutions and building connections so that you can influence others and achieve appropriate outcomes.”

Janice Shardlow, Director of Governance for the Commonwealth Games Federation

“Perseverance is vital.  Be a good lawyer first, and then you can go into sports law.”

Edwina Haddon, Senior Counsel for Chelsea Football Club

“Network as much as possible.  Sports law is a small industry; many people are happy to have a call and chat. The more webinars and events you can attend the better.”

Julia Lowis, Senior Legal Counsel for International Tennis Integrity Agency

On working in a traditionally male-dominated industry:

“I’m lucky that in my career I’ve had female champions in my corner.  However, there is still a need for development. More women need to be in senior roles to show young girls it is possible”.

Catherine Ure, Legal Counsel for Red Bull Racing

“I think society in general, largely due to social media, has over the last few years gone backwards in terms of attitudes to women…. and that permeates into sport. Personally I have been fortunate in that I have primarily worked in equestrian sport which is not gendered and this has also fed into its administration – as a result I haven’t faced some of the issues that other women have.”

Janice Shardlow, Director of Governance for the Commonwealth Games Federation

On working in an in-house legal environment:

“Working in-house always attracted me as it is the best way to get a broad range of workstreams and work with a variety of personalities. You have to become indispensable to your colleagues as they are your client. It makes for a really positive, collaborative team environment.”

Catherine Ure, Legal Counsel for Red Bull Racing

 “I love having more interaction with non-lawyers and feeling embedded within an organisation which has goals we’re all working towards. I really enjoy this aspect of being in-house, and it was a key factor in leaving the self-employed Bar.”

Julia Lowis, Senior Legal Counsel for International Tennis Integrity Agency

Catherine Pitre, President of Women in Sports Law, commented:

“There is such a strong pool of female talent working in sports law, and in high level positions. WISLaw is proud to be able to provide them with the network and exposure to develop professionally. We are very grateful to Squire Patton Boggs for co-hosting this breakfast panel discussion, and to our speakers for providing their insights into their inspiring career journeys and roles.”

Lucy Webster, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs and Co-Chair of Women’s Sports, commented:

“We were delighted to co-host this event with WISLaw and to hear from four trailblazing women about their careers in sports law. Taking an active role in elevating women is extremely important to Squire Patton Boggs, and is a key focus of our work in women’s sports.  We are very proud to support WISLaw in this regard.”

About the Squire Patton Boggs Women’s Sport Group

We are committed to supporting and facilitating the development of women’s sport globally to ensure that its full potential is realised, and we believe that the sporting and commercial opportunities are exponential as women’s sport becomes more popular and visible worldwide.

Our dedicated women’s sport group comprises leading lawyers across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions, with unrivalled industry knowledge, connections and experience. We are approachable and proactive, and passionate about the growth and influence of women’s sport, advising our clients across the full spectrum of legal services, including commercial, regulatory and contentious matters impacting the fast-growing women’s sport industry.

Our market-leading team of sports lawyers has a real understanding of the issues that matter and how to make an impact. We are proud to be at the forefront of these critical developments and to support our clients in achieving their aims and aspirations.