CM Solicitors — who act for Oldham as well as sponsoring the club — face down social media backlash
Twitter opprobrium is raining down on the law firm sponsoring Oldham Athletic after the League One football club controversially closed in on — and then pulled out of — signing convicted rapist Ched Evans.
The abuse came against the backdrop of allegations that the CM Solicitors’ relationship to the club is stronger than a simple sponsorship.
Indeed the Manchester firm — which has a sports law department — has admitted that they act for Oldham FC in a professional capacity, although it’s not known if they are directly involved in the deal to take Evans to the club.
The firm’s co-founder and director, Jeremy Moore, heads the CM Solicitors’ sports law practice. He confirmed to Legal Cheek that the firm’s sponsorship position remained unchanged following its statement in the week — in which it said it would stand by Oldham, continuing with its sponsorship if the club signed Evans to turn out at Boundary Park.
Since that statement and the subsequent confirmation that Evans has cut a deal with Oldham, Twitter commentators have slammed the firm.
Comments have ranged from relatively mild criticism — one Twitter user tweeted simply “shame on you”, while another said she was “appalled” that the firm would remain involved with Oldham.
— Till (@iamths1973) January 7, 2015
— Teresa Sinclair (@Treeza11) January 7, 2015
However, other Twitter users have been more aggressive, with several describing the firm as “scumbags”, and one suggesting to “women and families” that the firm “doesn’t represent you”.
— Clare McConnell (@ShakingTheApple) January 7, 2015
— chiller (@chiller) January 7, 2015
The firm failed to respond to Legal Cheek‘s requests for comment yesterday.
The row illustrates the conundrum for law firms and their public associations. Indeed, one Twitter commentator pointed out that CM Solicitors is a criminal law specialist firm, “so you can’t really have a go at them for defending criminals”.
— Andrew Taylor (@Andrew_Taylor) January 7, 2015
Oldham also has form in signing players released from prison. Eight years ago, the club signed Lee Hughes, who was sentenced to a six-year prison term for causing death by dangerous driving.
At the time of conviction, Hughes was on West Bromwich Albion’s books, but on release he was picked up by Oldham with the club calling on supporters not to make a “moral judgement” on the player.
Manchester law firm in front line of debate over possible Ched Evans move to Oldham FC [Legal Cheek]
Solicitor’s dalliance with Ched Evans debate pulled from Internet [Legal Cheek]