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Ten years ago, Frank Presland was approached by Reg Presley of 1960s band The Troggs, who wanted to sell the copyright to his back catalogue of songs. The singer had been offered �65,000 ($98,100) and wanted to use the money to finance an extension to his bungalow. Presland drew on his vast experience in the music industry and told him that such a deal would be bitterly regretted by his client. Two years later The Trogg’s record “Love is All Around Me” was covered by Wet Wet Wet and used in the blockbuster movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” The film and the record became a worldwide success and netted Presley, not �65,000, but around �2 million ($3.2 million)– enough for him to build 30 bungalow extensions. According to Presland, the key to being a good lawyer is the ability to communicate. “People communicate in different ways. I count myself fortunate to have spent a large part of my career advising creative people as opposed to investment bankers,” he says. He recalls a meeting between Jimmy Paige of Led Zeppelin and an eminent immigration lawyer. “It was quite extraordinary. They were both speaking English yet neither of them had the faintest idea what the other one was talking about,” he says. Indeed, Presland’s ability to connect with such figures has led to an impressive career in which stars such as John Lennon and Dusty Springfield counted on him for legal advice. Last year he became the full-time lawyer and manager to his long-standing client, Elton John. Presland is smart, savvy and engaging. His glass-fronted office in Hammersmith, London is lined with modern art and is noticeably uncluttered. He is passionate about Chelsea Football Club and loves to sail when he can find the time. His life is divided between London and the United States, where he oversees the business and legal affairs of his famous client. Born in London during the Second World War, Presland attended The London School of Economics for three weeks in 1962 before winning a scholarship to The University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. AFRICA After graduating he returned to London, undertaking a variety of jobs before deciding to return to Africa which he loved. Many of his student friends had been caught up in the political struggle in Rhodesia and faced life imprisonment and, in one case, the death penalty. It was during this period that he decided to become a lawyer. “It dawned on me that law was rather important. I was very idealistic and I had no doubt that it was the right thing to do”, he says. He studied as an external law student in Africa before returning to London in 1970 to train with a small East End London firm. After qualification he joined Frere Cholmley as a litigator and became involved in some high profile work for The Beatles and other stars. He started working with Elton John in the 1980s, winning �1 million ($1.5 million) in libel damages from The Sun newspaper. He remained with the firm (now Eversheds) until last year, and is still retained as a consultant. Presland is relishing his new role as head of Elton John’s business empire. He is anxious to re-acquire some of the rights which were sold under John’s previous management, but acknowledges that he has set himself a huge task. He feels very fortunate to have led a rich and varied life and to have had the opportunity in his 50s to undertake a completely new challenge. “I feel sorry for many law graduates these days. Their lives are mapped out for them from seventeen onwards and they never really get to experience much outside the law. I could not have done that”, he says.

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