Fast-paced role no sticky wicket for lawyer

by Hannah Norton08 Jul 2015
Nick Hansen was working as a corporate solicitor in a top tier firm three years ago when he came across an opportunity he couldn’t refuse – a chance to work for the ICC Cricket World Cup.

“I was at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts three years ago, and I wasn’t looking for a change, but someone flicked the Seek ad across my desk, because they thought I would probably be interested – and I was,” he told NZLawyer.

“It wasn’t something that I couldn’t pursue, so I did. And I was fortunate enough to get the role.”
As senior legal counsel for the event, Hansen got involved “with the entire business”.

Based in Wellington, Hansen was part of a Melbourne-headquartered team that also included his superior and another senior legal counsel, with additional support during busy periods.

“We got through lots of contracting with the venues, host cities and all of the Tournament suppliers. In New Zealand that involved the likes of Ticketek, Air New Zealand, Mainfreight, Spark Digital and a whole range of caterers, hotels and local providers - there was a lot of procurement,” he said.

“We were also responsible for all the legal aspects of the ticketing programme. So the advertising, terms and conditions, refund policy, privacy policy – all of the policy and documentation that goes with selling a million tickets. We also played a big role in helping to prevent ticket scalping.”

Another area the team put a lot of time and effort into was around health and safety.

“There were a large number of different parties operating at the venues for the first time – many of whom had never operated in New Zealand before. We made some pretty dramatic temporary changes to the venues and their infrastructure so there were a lot of health and safety steps being taken to ensure everything and everyone was safe.”

Hansen’s role also involved managing the commercial rights protection program - working with the Ministry of Business, the Councils and the Police to put in place a program to protect the ICC’s - and their commercial partner’s - commercial rights.

“After the tournament the focus was on helping to wind down the New Zealand business.  We were fortunate not to have many legal issues to deal with but there was still a lot of work to close out all the contracts. The company that organised the event is set to be closed down fully towards the end of the year, so it was a case of dealing with the New Zealand aspects of that.”

So what’s next?

A few weeks ago, Hansen returned to Minter Ellison Rudd Watts as a senior solicitor in the corporate practice.

“It was kind of a process of the right people knowing I was finishing, and knowing what I was looking to do. I knew who to talk to.

“I had conversations with a few other firms, and I was open to trying somewhere new; but nothing convinced me that there was a better place for me right now.

“Having worked on the Cricket World Cup, where everything was really fast paced, I wanted to go back somewhere where I could get into it straight away, and I’ve been able to do that already – so that’s been great.”

But, he’s keeping fingers in the sports law pie, and is currently involved with Australia New Zealand Sports Law Association and speaking at a New Zealand Symposium on Friday, as well as chairing the organising committee for next year’s annual conference in Wellington.