One of the UK's leading sports lawyers, Bird & Bird's Max Duthie, has been appointed by the British and Irish Lions as legal officer for their 2013 tour to Australia.
Lions tours are the stuff of rugby legend. They represent a pinnacle for rugby union players in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Lions form every four years to tour one of the southern hemisphere rugby-playing nations, and in June and July 2013 they will play nine matches in Australia, including matches against all five Australian Super Rugby teams and three international test matches against the Wallabies. The Lions will also play an historic match in Hong Kong against the Barbarians on their way to Australia.
Max is a partner in Bird & Bird's market-leading sports group. On the tour, he will be principally responsible for advising and representing the Lions players on rugby disciplinary matters. He has extensive experience in rugby disciplinary work, having worked for, among others, the International Rugby Board, Six Nations, ERC, Celtic Rugby, the RFU, the WRU as well as various clubs and players. Before embarking on a legal career, Max played professional rugby union in England and France, and won two Cambridge Blues.
Speaking about this prestigious appointment, Max said, "It is a great honour for me to have been asked to join the tour as legal officer. I hope that I can do my bit to help make the tour a success, and it will be a real pleasure to work alongside some of the world's best players, coaches, management and support staff. I am looking forward to it."
John Feehan, Chief Executive of British Lions Limited, added: "We're delighted to have Max on board. Few lawyers know the rugby union disciplinary process as well as Max does, and his presence in the tour party will give the players and management considerable confidence. And as an ex-player, I know he will fit in well to the tour party."
Bird & Bird's sports group and its partners are widely acknowledged as among the best in the field. The firm's client base includes many of the world's most important and iconic sporting bodies and Max's appointment demonstrates the depth of sector expertise of the firm. Max has worked in sports law since 1997 and represents governing bodies, event organisers, agents, athletes, broadcasters and sponsors in a variety of sports including football, tennis, cycling, cricket, rugby union and rugby league.