Legal ace has eye on Rio

The official law firm for Australia’s Olympic team has one of its own vying for a spot at Rio.

In a landmark partnership, consumer law firm Slater and Gordon were this year announced as the official law firm for Australia’s Olympic team.

Under the long-term partnership, Slater and Gordon will support the team in the lead up to the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 through to Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020, as well as the Australian Youth Olympic Teams as they prepare for events in Lillehammer 2016, Buenos Aires 2018 and on to 2020.

But they will also be offering support to one of their own.

“We’re lucky enough to have one of our employees, Melbourne based analytics and customer strategy manager, William Henzell, looking to qualify as a table tennis player for the 2016 Australian Olympic Team, for what would be his fourth consecutive Olympic Games,” Slater and Gordon national supervising lawyer Rhiannon Harrison told Australasian Lawyer.

Henzell has been playing since he was six years old and his career highlights include wining the silver medal at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

“He is well-regarded as one of the best table tennis players Australia has ever produced and balances training with his full-time role at Slater and Gordon and part-time study for his MBA at Melbourne Business School,” Harrison said.

The firm’s partnership with the Olympic team was announced in March and includes assistance with the preparation of legal documents and with the giving of statutory declarations by all team members to the effect that they have not participated in doping, as required under the Australian Olympic Team membership agreement.

“In preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, every Australian athlete and official is required to sign an Australian Olympic Team membership agreement, which requires each team member to sign a statutory declaration to the effect that they have never participated in doping,” Harrison said.
“Slater and Gordon has made its lawyers available to attend outfitting events for the Team members to explain the background and importance of anti-doping statutory declarations and to witness the execution of those declarations.”

The firm is looking forward to supporting Australian athletes from all backgrounds, Harrison said.

“We are proud to participate in an initiative that seeks to safeguard both the health and well-being of our athletes and the integrity of Australian sport.

“As a company, we believe in a fair go for everyone and fair play – values which go to the heart of the Australian Olympic team.”

Geography will be one of the biggest challenges when working with the team, Harrison said.

“Our athletes and officials are from a wide range of backgrounds and are spread right across the country.

“This partnership is the first of its kind between a law firm and the Australian Olympic Committee, but Slater and Gordon is well prepared to meet these geographical hurdles.”


By Samantha Woodhill and Hannah Norton

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