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Q&A with Jane Clemetson

A versatile, business focused lawyer with extensive experience in media, IP, technology and data protection, at General Counsel level, Jane Clemetson is, as her profile states, not afraid of telling it like it is.

Name:   Jane Clemetson 

Current role and Company: Founder/CEO/whatever at Jane Clemetson Limited 

Tell us about your background: I qualified as a barrister and went to work in the City for a “Magic Circle” firm.  Very useful but not where I envisaged spending the rest of my career. Worked for Sony Music and then set up my own consultancy – originally music focussed but then started doing more and more digital and media work, which expanded. Then I went to work in-house for Reach plc (publishers of The Mirror, Express and numerous regional papers). I was made redundant last year, so am consulting again. 

 What made you interested in going into this type of work (when you first started out in your career)? When I first started my career, “sports law” didn’t really exist. To the extent that there were any in-house lawyers, which I kind of doubt, they would have been at e.g. the IOC, FIFA etc, as that’s where I first came across them in the 90s. It’s only quite recently that in-house lawyers and sports lawyers have become common, no doubt because the amount of money and complexity of rights has increased exponentially since the 90s.  I’ve always loved football (Spurs, for my sins) and racing. My career has involved rights issues as much as drafting contracts. 

What have been the highlights so far: Working on policy issues and lobbying when I was Reach’s representative on the Board of the News Media Coalition and on its Public Policy Committee. The News Media Coalition is an international media industry organisation comprising news publishers and news agency content suppliers, which engages with sports bodies (eg FIFA, the IOC), seeking to negotiate best practice arrangements for its members’ news operations. 

2021 was the year that… I got made redundant and met the amazing Sean Cottrell 

What do you find are the down sides to the job (travel/long hours / missing family events/etc)?  As for any lawyer, long hours can be a problem, but when I worked for myself, it was always possible to arrange things so that there wasn’t too much of a problem. Also, I somehow forgot to have any children, so I didn’t have to worry about attending nativity plays, arranging childcare etc. 

What advice would you give women wanting to do what you do?  Do your research and ask everyone who might be in any way helpful – in my experience, people love to help. Write on spec to anyone you might want to work for. 

What advice would you like to give the 25-year-old you?  Keep going and don’t worry if you can’t immediately see a way to navigate from where you are to where you want to be. Don’t get drunk at work-related social events. 

What hopes do you have for the women working in the sport business industry in the future? That their rise will continue unstoppably 

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