How often have you heard the words, ‘where there’s blame, there’s a claim’? The tennis industry certainly isn’t immune from the risk of litigation – from injuries to athletes resulting from the use of defective equipment to employment issues such as bullying, harassment and stress.
Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP (BLM) is the UK and Ireland’s leading risk and insurance law business, specialising in reducing risk, resolving disputes and managing claims. The Tennis Industry Association has recently selected BLM as its preferred legal partner, based on the firm’s vast experience dealing with a range of issues relevant to the tennis industry, such as product liability and recall, health and safety, employment, construction, reputation management and legal risk management.
“The recent multi-million dollar settlement agreement involving concussion-related claims against the NFL has caused many sporting organisations and governing bodies to question their risk management policies” says Chris Wiggin, partner at BLM. “Understanding the relevant regulations and implementing thorough risk prevention strategies is a key way for the UK sports and leisure industry to avoid litigation”.
Whilst injury to athletes and spectators is an obvious cause for concern for the tennis industry, BLM clients, which include major health clubs, sports manufacturers and suppliers, also rely on BLM for advice on commercial and reputational matters.
Issues involving directors and officers’ liability, libel, slander and cyber risk, for example, can be costly and difficult to deal with. Chris continues: “Cyber incidents are more than just a security risk – they can be potentially very damaging to commercial relationships. Customers and business partners are seeking evidence that cyber-security is taken seriously and that information assets are properly protected by the businesses they work with.”
It is often the case that businesses only think to contact lawyers once an incident has occurred. However Chris is keen to point out the benefits of preventative measures:
“In relation to cyber risk, for example, there are a number of simple steps that we encourage our clients to consider, including assessing cyber vulnerabilities, using simple encryption tools (for example on laptops and tablets) and staff training. We can assist with short, online assessments and e-learning tools for these purposes.
“Other risks can be reduced through audits, claims reviews, crisis management, regulatory advice and reputation management expertise.
“Our overall objective is to protect the reputation of our clients and reduce the time and money spent managing risk, resolving disputes and defending claims. Improved practices and procedures can really help to reduce the frequency of accidents and consequent claims.
“The geographical reach of BLM means we can assist throughout the UK and Ireland. We also provide 24 hour emergency helplines for our health and safety, product liability and cyber risk services so that our clients can receive assistance at any time, seven days a week.”