Libby Payne

Partner | London

Libby is a partner in the employment team.

A former competitive fencer, she is now an equally enthusiastic employment and sports lawyer. She acts for both employers and senior executives and also for sports clubs’ agents and athletes.

Having a real passion for the law, she enjoys coming up with creative and practical solutions to even the most novel issues. She has been praised by barristers for her ‘cogent and coherent counter arguments’.

Whether acting for employer or employee, or on either side of a commercial transaction, she is able to establish quickly the client’s ideal outcome and formulate an appropriate strategy.

Complementary to her employment practice, she is also instructed on a range of sports law matters involving both employment and regulatory advice. Her clients include a professional football club, motorsport brand and several top level sports coaches, agents and managers. She has previously been a board director of British Fencing, with a particular responsibility for equality issues.

She is a member of Withers’ dedicated luxury brands team and a number of her clients (both employee and employer) are from the design or fashion sectors.

Libby enjoys writing articles on novel or developing areas of law and practice and has been published on a number of occasions covering both employment and sports law matters. A confident public speaker, Libby enjoys delivering engaging and practical training on a variety of employment and sports law topics.

Secretary Elise Jenkins


Libby has valuable sector savvy expertise; who knows her respective fields not just from a legal perspective but also has detailed know-how of the business itself.

Legal 500 UK, 2020

Track record



High court litigation to recover unpaid bonuses for employees.

Advising on the transfer of Ilkay Gündogan to Manchester City Football Club.

Providing strategic and reactive employment law advice to a designer fashion retailer.

England and Wales, 2009

Employment Lawyers Association

British Association of Sport and the Law

Me in a minute

I feel very lucky to combine so much of what I love with my work and feel this energy is reflected in what I achieve every day

My practice has allowed me to combine many things I am passionate about and for that I am very grateful.

As an avid cyclist, a former competitive fencer and general all-round sports fan, I have always wanted to work with sports clients. I have recently completed a sports law qualification, alongside my work in practice, to deepen my knowledge in this exciting and rapidly developing area. My time at Withers has given me the opportunity to advise an ever expanding array of clients including Renault F1, Jurgen Klopp and Ilkay Gundogan.

I also work closely with designers and fashion brands, often alongside our corporate team, to assist with a wide spectrum of employment law issues. I love the challenge of understanding the creative side of the business and matching this with logical and commercial solutions.

I very much enjoy the variety of my practice and take the same competitive spirit into my work for clients in other sectors, whether individuals or employers. The skills and knowledge I have gained in relation to the highly bespoke areas of sport and fashion can be deployed to better understand and address my client’s needs.

I feel very lucky to combine so much of what I love with my work and feel this energy is reflected in what I achieve every day.



  • English





20 Old Bailey,



View Office

Regularly works with...