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Tim Copplestone


Home office: Bristol
Also works in: London
Tim Copplestone photo

Tim is an employment lawyer within the firm’s sport sector and has himself represented Great Britain in kayaking. He is identified as a Leading Individual in the Legal 500 2023.

Tim advises a wide range of commercial employers, professional players, clubs, and senior employees on contractual matters (including football manager contracts, bonus structures, and tailoring restrictive covenants), Employment Tribunal litigation, and employment issues arising in corporate transactions.

Tim frequently acts for high-profile professional sports players, coaches, and managers. Tim has represented Premier League football managers, Premier League players and international sport stars (such as England footballers and New Zealand All Blacks). Tim has acted for professional sports players and managers in regulatory employment disputes including in the Premier League Tribunal, Premier League Managers Arbitration Tribunal, and in RFU disciplinary hearings.

Tim joined Clarke Willmott in 2007 after studying at Exeter University, and the Bristol Institute of Legal Practice.


  • Advising Premier League football and Premiership rugby players on contractual matters, bonus disputes, settlement agreement terms, injury and incapacity terminations, and disciplinary and grievance matters. Tim provides player protection legal support to the Rugby Players Association.
  • Drafting senior executive employment contracts, including by example; director service agreements, senior agent agreements, Director of Cricket contracts, football manager contracts, Director of Rugby contracts, and bespoke bonus structures.
  • Advising on employment issues arising in corporate acquisitions, advising on business reorganisations, harmonisation projects, collective redundancy consultation, and TUPE compliance. Tim has acted on international corporate acquisitions, providing employment input, including acquisitions in the sport and media industry. Advising on commercial employer compliance issues for their workforce, right to work in the UK checks, and business immigration projects.
  • Defending commercial employers and clubs in unfair dismissal, discrimination, whistleblowing, breach of contract and other Employment Tribunal claims. Acting on sport sector regulatory matters and employment investigations. Tim advises on equal opportunities matters, and provides managers and HR Directors with training on employment law compliance.
  • Tim has also acted on behalf of senior employee Claimants in high value discrimination Employment Tribunal claims, including claims arising from discrimination due to sexual orientation, disability, and age. Tim teaches post-graduate Masters students at the University of Bath and is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.


Tim Copplestone is a real gem, unflappable and wears his intelligence lightly.

The Legal 500

Tim Copplestone – an absolute superstar in the sporting space, being able to deliver results for clients, be they individual athlete or clubs

The Legal 500 2024

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