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In-house team for major events 'face challenges'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 25/01/13

It might be thought that the in-house legal team for a major sporting event would have a relatively easy time of it. After all, professional sports people are known for their easy-going, placid nature, and high-profile controversies centred around events such as the Olympics are extremely rare. On the other hand, that's nonsense, and in-house lawyers preparing for the Games and events of that ilk have a huge amount to deal with.

Pieter de Waal, head of legal for the Olympic Delivery Authority, told the Laywer that "unique challenges" face professionals trying to cope with the constantly-evolving world of a one-off live event.

"The in-house legal function must be positioned central to corporate and operational structures and processes, and be mandated to provide not only legal advice but also participate in decision-making," he added.

While this does ensure that legal teams are given a great deal of sway, it also forces them to deal with issues that might otherwise be left to other parts of an organisation.

Although in-house lawyers won't find themselves firing the starter's pistol or washing shorts, they are under an obligation to pitch in and make sure the event is a success.