A former long-time legal consultant to ABBAS, Jan has moved to a part-time ambassadorial role within the firm, which includes liaising with clients and promoting the interests of ABBAS within the industry sectors in which it practises. Jan assists CEO Nigel Abbas with the firm’s strategic aims and acts as a touchstone for the Content Legal and Compliance team.
Jan is acknowledged to be one of the most experienced, trusted and talented media lawyers in the industry. Prior to stepping back from legal practice at the end of 2021, she had a stellar career advising on an enormous number of television programmes, across all genres, working collaboratively and creatively with the country’s leading broadcasters and content producers to achieve and defend their editorial ambitions.
After qualifying as a solicitor and working in private practice, Jan joined a nascent Channel 4 in 1988, rising through the ranks before becoming Controller of Legal & Compliance in 1998.
During her time at Channel 4, Jan was instrumental in getting to air and defending some of the most innovative and challenging programmes ever to have been screened on British television, from ground-breaking investigations to the first forays into reality TV.
Jan left Channel 4 in 2008 to set up her own very successful media law practice, advising many leading independent production companies on all legal and regulatory issues affecting their output.
In 2018 Jan joined ABBAS so she could collaborate with and have support from a group of talented media lawyers, including her former colleague and long-time close friend Nigel Abbas.
Jan’s unique contribution to the television industry was recognised at the 2016 Sheffield Documentary Festival with a special award, the ‘Unsung Hero in Factual Television’ award. The judges said:
“Jan has helped and advised almost all of the UK’s top documentary makers, companies and broadcasters on the trickiest editorial matters imaginable – and won the day. Quite simply, many of the most challenging and important programmes of the last 20 years would never have got on air were it not for Jan’s creativity, tenacity, awesome legal knowledge – and nerve. The UK’s best producers simply love her and trust her. She’s a one-off.”
When not working…
When not plotting the crime novel she aims to write, Jan is to be found walking on the beach near her home in East Sussex with her three miniature schnauzers, Dexter, Dolly and Wilf. Jan is a campaigner against puppy farming and a passionate supporter of dog rescue and adoption. Jan also sits on the Donmar Warehouse Theatre’s Ethics and Reputation Committee.