The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Ltd. is a private company created to mount the 2012 Olympics Games and Paralympics. Accommodating 14,700 athletes, 21,000 media workers and nearly 11 million ticket holders required a work force of 200,000 people, including 6,000 staff, 70,000 volunteers and 100,000 contractors, and a £2 billion budget. Construction of the venues was handled by a sister organization, the Olympics Delivery Authority. Organizers raised the money mostly through sales of tickets, sponsorships and merchandise.
General Counsel Terry Miller supervised about 32 lawyers — “17 were my core team and the rest were seconded from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in what was a first for the Olympics — a law firm appointed as an official Olympics provider,” she said. “As a sponsor, it provided people with special skills, especially property law, on secondment; plus others did hourly work, as well. They handled all our venue use agreements. It was a huge advantage for us.”
When Miller arrived at the Olympics in 2006, the wheels were already in motion. “It was full-on right from the start,” she said. “There is a master schedule of things to be done at certain times; it’s a model for the International Olympics Committee. There were already eight people on the legal team and a ton of work. The big push at the beginning was to develop a sponsorship model because most of the spend comes from private contributions. We helped negotiate and sign sponsorship deals. But much of the work was contracts.”
About those contracts: “Every volunteer — and there were 70,000 of them — had a contract, as did each torch bearer, every city, town, village, harbor, pier and community [the torch bearers] passed through,” she said. “Every single employee had a contract, as did all the venues and facilities. And contracts for massive purchases, such as a million tennis balls, sand (some 2,200 tons) for beach volleyball and temporary toilets (estimated at 14,000).”
Then there was the massive urban redevelopment project to prepare for the games. “We worked closely, especially on how we would manage the park, when we would take it over and give it back, simple things like cutting the grass and turning off the lights,” Miller said. “There was a master plan on what we needed and what could be used after the games. For example, the athletes’ village was constructed so it could be sold after the games as sustainable housing. We’re doing that now. Regeneration and legacy is an effort involving the government and the city of London, but we worked closely with them.”
“Security was always a concern,” Miller said. “Ever since the July 7, [2005,] bombings in London, it was front and center. From a legal perspective, we assisted with negotiation and verification with security providers. The government had overall responsibility for security, and we had responsibility for private-sector providers.”
There was a major hitch when, with two weeks to go, private security contractor G4S PLC announced that it would not be able to provide 10,400 private security guards.
“We worked closely with the government to deploy more army personnel to fill the gap,” Miller said. “G4S accepted responsibility for paying the additional costs. We withheld all remaining payments since games time, and are in the process of negotiating a settlement with them to make sure we don’t pay for anything we didn’t get.”
After the Olympic Games concluded, the Paralympic Games began. Miller — an accomplished horsewoman — presented awards to British equestriennes in those games.
“I’ve been involved with a group of disabled riders for years, and I was also part of the Greenwich venue team, which is the amazing place where the equestrian events took place,” she said. “The winner, Sophie, has serious cerebral palsy and I got to give her flowers. It was a hugely emotional moment for me. I knew all the work she had done to get there.”
ROUTE TO THE TOP
The Detroit native holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan (1973). She started out as a journalist but the law beckoned. “After working for The Michigan Daily I was a reporter for The Kentucky Post and covered some court cases — watching the lawyers made me decide I would like to do that,” Miller said. She earned a J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law (summa cum laude 1977); and an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center (1982).
“I worked in enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., for six years, took a year off with two small children, and then joined Kirkpatrick & Lockhart [now K&L Gates] in private practice,” she said.
“When [husband] Jonathan was offered a good job in London in 1988, the law firm worked out an arrangement with a group of solicitors in England so that I could do K&L work from those offices. In 1989, Goldman Sachs hired me in-house and I worked there 17 years, becoming partner, group deputy general counsel and international general counsel overseeing legal teams across Europe and Asia.” The timing was lucky, she said, “because England was just going through this new securities regulatory structure, and much of it was based on the U.S. model.”
By 2005, she planned to go part-time at Goldman and work on her equestrian skills, “trying to raise my competitive level.” That’s when Goldman colleague Paul Deighton became chief executive officer of the London committee, “and he asked if I would be the general counsel.”
Miller’s full-time Olympics post ends in December and she will work part-time until June. She plans to continue her involvement in equestrian competition — although not as a competitor. “I think that time has passed,” she said. “I haven’t done as much eventing as I wanted. I love all three parts — dressage, show jumping and going cross-country over obstacles. It is so much fun, and there’s a great partnership with the horse. I am soon to finish a course for being a qualified instructor. I have one more test to take in the spring. Now that’s more of what I want to do — breeding and have other people ride my horses.”
She has “five-and-a-half” of those — counting a foal born in July. “Two horses still compete, and one never did. Two others I regularly competed but now are quite elderly, like 21 and 19, and we mainly just hack out and remember our past glories. And then Jonathan has two Percherons we use for the carriage.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
“Oh, this is a job you would never pass up. I love sports; there are few I won’t watch. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and it will give me memories forever.”