Life for most two-year qualified solicitors revolves around photo-copying, filing and tea-making.
However, when you’ve joined the profession late, bringing with you valuable experience from a previous high profile career, you get to intersperse the dogsbody work with a few treats.
Not so long ago, Stuart Ripley was a marauding Premier League and England winger, most famous for supplying the crosses that helped Alan Shearer shoot Blackburn Rovers to title glory in 1995.
These days, while Shearer wows Match of the Day viewers with his perceptiveness and wit, Ripley, 44, practises law at Manchester firm Brabners Chaffe Street.
Despite being at a relatively early point of his career, sports law specialist Ripley is a member of the FA’s Judicial Panel – through which he has netted a spot on the disciplinary panel that today is considering the racial abuse claim against former England captain John Terry. Ripley will sit alongside one member of the FA and several other independent individuals, after the make-up of the panel was repeatedly challenged by Terry’s lawyers.
Ripley commenced his journey to becoming a solicitor after he hung up his football boots in 2002, enrolling on a degree in law and French at the University of Central Lancashire. Having graduated from the course with a first in 2007, and then completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC), Ripley went on to secure a training contract with sports law specialists Brabners Chaffe Street, which he commenced in 2010.
When I interviewed Ripley a couple of years ago, he told me: “It wasn’t a conscious decision to become a lawyer. I went back to university after retiring from football in order to do a modern languages degree, but due to family commitments I was unable to spend enough time abroad and switched to study law. After completing my degree I went on to law school and after that I was fortunate enough to land a training contract with Brabners, a law firm with a fantastic sport department where my background in football was an asset.”