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Stephen OFlaherty

Stephen O'FlahertyPartner

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I am a Partner working in the sport, fashion & entertainment and technology sectors.

I joined Lewis Silkin in 2012 as an Associate and became a Senior Associate in April 2018. Before joining the firm I gained experience working in Legal Procurement and Cost Consultancy. I worked as a Business Development and Account Manager for an Irish Telecoms group prior to qualification as a solicitor.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts (2003) and a Bachelor of Laws (2008) awarded by National University of Ireland, Galway. I qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2012 after completing the Legal Practice Course.

I also hold a Post-Graduate Certificate in Sports Law awarded by De Montfort University in 2016 and am a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association.

Immigration & Global Mobility

My work is divided between the transfer of players and coaches in the sports industry and transfer of talent in the fashion and entertainment industry. I advise sports clubs, international federations, agencies and brands on the transfer of their talent globally and their compliance and regulatory responsibilities. Due to the fast pace of these industries the challenge is obtaining a successful outcome whilst ensuring compliance within tight timeframes.

I also provide commercial immigration advice for professional services firms and companies in the tech sector where there is a strong focus on compliance. I advise on the HR and recruitment process, visa applications and ensure record keeping and reporting are in place.

Sports Business

I advise sports clubs and agencies on the international transfer of players and coaches with a focus on football. I work closely with recruitment and analysis teams to review player’s eligibility for Governing Body Endorsements and advise on appeals where they do not meet the automatic criteria. I also advise on visa applications under the International Sportsperson route for players, coaches and their families.

I also have experience in assisting clubs and international federations with preparations for international travel for Champions League and Europa League, pre- and post-season tours, international tournaments and exhibitions games.

My recent work includes:

  • Advising a football club on the recruitment and hire of a management team
  • Acting for clubs on 8 GBE appeals in summer 2018, all successful
  • Acting on the transfer of 12 players in Premier League and Championship during summer 2018
  • Advising clubs on issues relating to the definition of ‘Professional Sportsperson’ and their recruitment at Academy level

Fashion & Entertainment

I advise a number of top model agencies and retailers on the mobility and transfer of their talent.


Awards and Recognition

  • Legal 500 2022 (Sport) - ‘Stephen O’Flaherty has a positive approach to every challenge and is meticulous in his work and knowledgeable in his field. No matter how many clients Stephen and his team may be working with, he always make you feel like you are his priority’
  • Legal 500 2022 (Immigration) - ‘Stephen O’Flaherty explains complex areas in plain language and makes sure that the stress of immigration law is taken off the client. He is always available for advice and support’
  • Legal 500 2021 (Immigration) - ‘Stephen O’Flaherty is the best immigration lawyer I have worked with in my years dealing with global mobility. He goes above and beyond to help with quirky or difficult situations, is very responsive and incredibly personable. He is highly is trusted by my company – even those who don’t work directly with him are aware of both the good working relationship we have and also his expert knowledge’
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