Who? Richard Cramer, partner at FrontRow Legal in Leeds.
Why is he in the news? Acted for Lucy Ward, a former academy welfare officer at Leeds United FC. Ward successfully pursued a claim for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination against the club. She argued that the reason she was sacked in 2015 was because she was the partner of Neil Redfearn, who resigned from his position as the club’s manager. The club was ordered to pay £290,000 including costs.
Thoughts on the case: ‘I acted for Neil Redfearn in relation to his exit [from the club] and he recommended Lucy to us. We had previously represented a number of former Leeds United employees. While Lucy was dismissed for gross misconduct, when we started to look at the evidence it was clear to us there was a case for sex discrimination. Having got advice from Matrix Chambers’ Nicholas Randall QC, we were able to piece together a claim for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination in the same set of proceedings.’
Dealing with the media: ‘You very rarely get these sorts of discrimination claims in football. Usually football disputes are dealt with behind closed doors by arbitration under rule K of the Football Association’s rules. Because this was an employment tribunal claim on discrimination it fell outside rule K. The media were very sympathetic to Lucy.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I wanted to become a bookmaker like my late father but my parents in effect drove me into the legal profession.’
Career high: ‘In 2002, when I set up my own business. Within two months I got a phone call from Mohamed Al Fayed to act for Fulham FC in a number of cases.’
Career low: ‘As a newly qualified solicitor on my feet at the Leeds magistrates’ court making a passionate bail application for a defendant who decided to jump over the spiked dock and escape from custody. The defendant ran round the town hall while I tried to complete my submissions.’