11/12 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU

Mel Stephens


Mel Stephens is the founder of the firm. He is a US-qualified attorney and has doctorates from both Oxford University and the University of California. He is the co-author of International Business and National Jurisdiction (Oxford University Press, 1988) with the late Sir Alan Neale.

Mel has practiced in the UK since 1983, when he founded Stephens & Associates. He acted as a Director and International Counsel to Reebok International Limited for many years. He has also served as a director on the boards of a number of other companies. Mel acts for a range of clients in the sports and fashion sectors to whom he provides a broad spectrum of international legal and business advice.

He can fairly be described as one of the world’s leading experts on international distribution and licensing arrangements. He has acted as an expert witness in terms of custom and practice in the sports fashion industry in a number of major cases, including in one dispute in which our client was awarded US$52 million in damages.

Expert Witness/Non-Executive Director Profile

Education and Professional Qualifications

BA Economics (University of Southern California, 1967)

Juris Doctor (University of California, 1974)

Admitted to the practice of law in California and the District of Columbia (1974)

Authorized to practice in England and Wales by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Doctor of Philosophy (Oxford University, 1984)

Author, International Business and National Jurisdiction (Oxford University Press, 1988)

Core Expertise

In depth legal and commercial expertise in all areas of international distribution and licensing.


  • A U.S.-qualified attorney with doctorates from Oxford University and the University of California.
  • Founder (1983) of Stephens & Associates Ltd., a London based international legal firm (www.stephensandassociates.com).
  • Co-author of International Business and National Jurisdiction with the late Sir Alan Neale (Oxford University Press – 1988).
  • Until June 2016, Managing Director (Non-Exec) of Reebok International Limited, the principle holding company of the Reebok Group.
  • Negotiated and drafted literally hundreds of international distribution and licensing agreements over the past 30 years.
  • Managed more than 20 terminations which is perhaps where his expert witness services can be most helpful.
  • Although Mel provides legal advice to his clients he is also a key business advisor and as such generally renders his expert witness services in terms of custom and practice in the sports and fashion industries rather than as a technical legal expert.
  • Instructed as an expert and key witness in a number of significant cases over the past fifteen years. The first was in connection with the termination of the Latin American licensing rights for a major U.S. based sports brand. Another involved the termination of a European license for one of the largest UK-based sports brands. Instructed in 2014 on behalf of the terminated European licensee of another U.S. based sports fashion brand. Most recently retained in relation to the termination of the Middle Eastern licensee of a major Italian footwear brand. Each case involved detailed written submissions as well as extensive cross examination by opposing counsel.


Mel is based in London but travels extensively. He can be reached by email at mel@stephens.law and by telephone at + (44) (0)20 7930 2500.

Our Clients

Harley Davidson logo
Radley London logo
Reiss logo
Ugg logo
Orlebar Brown logo
Silver Cross logo
Sunspel logo
Aspinal of London logo
Hiplok logo
Futerra logo
Repetto logo
Osprey London logo
Oliver Sweeney logo
Hoka one one logo
Teva logo
Zoggs logo

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