Alastair Cotton is one of Tees’ newest acquisitions and a real asset to our team. Coming to us from a senior legal role at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Alastair’s near 20 years expertise in intellectual property and commercial law, gained both working in the UK and overseas, will help strengthen the firm’s business law services for all our clients.
Alastair was educated at Cambridge University, where he read History. Following a law conversion course at City University and the College of Law, Alastair joined London firm Farrer & Co as a trainee, before qualifying into the Intellectual Property and Commercial team. There, he spent a decade advising intellectual property-rich businesses and organisations in the sports, media, culture and education sectors. Clients included national museums, schools and Universities, news and magazine publishers and sports governing bodies (such as the Rugby Football Union, Lawn Tennis Association and UK Athletics) as well as a range of charitable organisations such as Age UK.
During his time with the firm, Alastair spent time on two long-term secondments. At the Natural History Museum he served as the Museum’s sole in-house legal adviser and helped on some unusual projects, including the sale of animatronic dinosaurs to the Middle East and the repatriation of Aboriginal remains. For the British Olympic Association, he assisted with preparations for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics in addition to other projects such as brand protection and the sale and distribution of the BOA’s global marketing rights.
Before joining Tees, Alastair enjoyed over five years working as an in-house lawyer, first within the Legal and Business Affairs Department at educational publisher Cambridge University Press. His role included managing the legal team of 20 lawyers, overseeing legal and operational issues arising from the Press’s transformation from a traditional print publisher to a digital business. He also worked closely with the University of Cambridge, advising on the protection of the Cambridge brand worldwide and governance issues. During his time at the Press he was appointed as Board Director of the English Language Teaching Division, a global business with a turnover of over £150million and sales and operations in more than 150 countries.
Alastair joins us from the IPC, where he was Senior Commercial Counsel, based in Bonn, Germany. For nearly three years, Alastair supported various IPC teams in negotiating and advising on the legal, commercial and ethical risks arising from digital content, sponsorship and media rights deals, in addition to managing the IPC’s global brand portfolio. He has worked on broadcasting deals with Channel 4 in the UK and NBC in America and sponsorship contracts with multinational companies like Airbnb, Coca Cola, Toyota and Citi Bank.
Now at Tees, Alastair will continue to act for the IPC, providing legal services in the run up to the Tokyo Paralympic Games, including attending the Games in Tokyo next month where he will be part of the IPC team overseeing the delivery of the Games. The firm’s appointment by the IPC will remain in place until September 2022 and will include the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games next year. Alastair will also focus on providing advice on commercial and intellectual property law issues for the firm’s clients across all our offices.
Outside work, Alastair lives in Cambridge, and is mainly pre-occupied with his four children. Whilst – in his words - he did not improve his German significantly, as a family they enjoyed travelling widely in Germany and sampling German culture. As a former hockey player, Alastair is now involved in coaching at Cambridge City Junior Hockey club, where he volunteers on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings coaching children from the age of 5 to 15. He grew up in Bishop’s Stortford and retains strong links to the town.