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Good sports: lawyers, athletes, a winning team

Lycra and running shoes will replace law books and gavels as teams of lawyers gear up for sporting events. And then there are the lawyers who just love working sport._x000D_

user iconThe New Lawyer 01 October 2010 The Bar
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LYCRA and running shoes will replace law books and gavels as teams of lawyers gear up for sporting events.

Law firm DibbsBarker is sending one of its lawyers off for 20 to 30 hours every week so he can train in order to compete in the Ford ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The lawyer, Bryn Hannan, flies today to compete on 9 October.

Hannan, a property and projects solicitor, will compete in three legs, a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km cycle, and a full marathon, a 42.2km run, to finish. He will do this in 35 degree heat.


Tens of thousands of triathletes globally try to secure one of the coveted Ironman spots every year, but only 1800 make it.

In other sporting, lawyering news, top sports law barristers and lawyers will be among the world’s top road cycling champions as they converge in Geelong this week for the 2010 UCI World Road Championships in Geelong from 29 September to 3 October.

Rather than donning lycra, however, the pro bono team are on call to represent athletes and team officials if disputes arise – and to provide advice and mediate outcomes as required.

“All kinds of issues can crop up at these important sporting events – such as criminal matters, disciplinary hearings or even hearings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” said Tony Nolan SC, a leading sports law barrister who’s track record includes AFL, NBL, soccer, cricket, equestrian, shooting and motor sports.

“These athletes are the best in the world and they are here putting everything they’ve got into getting the best result they can. The stakes are high, and so are passions; inevitably disputes arise,” he said.

“We hope providing this level of experience will be of great assistance to athletes and officials in efficiently resolving any disputes.”

Barristers, with members of the Law Institute of Victoria, have provided a range of pro bono legal services to sport in recent years. This included assistance to athletes and officials at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth

Games and the 2007 World Swimming Championships, also held in Melbourne.

During both events, members of the Bar were called upon to assist athletes and officials who required representation in sporting disputes before The Court of Arbitration for Sport, or in criminal proceedings.

“Fifty-one barristers are on call for this event. We are all keen sports enthusiasts and very pleased at the opportunity to give our time and expertise to such an exciting event,” Nolan said.

Since 2005 more than 80 barristers have volunteered to act as members of domestic tribunals for community sport including soccer, football, cricket, basketball, hockey and netball. The Victorian Bar has also provided a pro bono dispute resolution service for sporting associations where the dispute involves an athlete.

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