What people say about us


The directories

Offers an impressive national and international network to clients, including a wide range of early-stage growth and start-up companies, along with significant expertise in venture capital investment matters. 

Strong sector expertise in the tech and life sciences spheres among other areas.

Impressive IP practice acting for life sciences and tech sector businesses, universities and their spin-offs. Comes recommended for litigation, as well as licence and research agreements.

Strong team well versed in both contentious and non-contentious IT work, standing out in particular for complex and high-value transactions. Noted for expertise on hi-tech manufacturing agreements.

Notable practitioners
William Axtell advises corporate clients on transactional matters, often with an international element. 'He is very easy to work with and is superbly professional.'

Chris Shelley is commended for his expertise in spin-out, collaboration and licensing transactions in the university, life sciences and technology sectors. 'Chris is well respected, experienced and a very good lawyer.'

Joanne Vengadesan advises tech companies and corporate customers on development and licence agreements of all kinds, often concerning products at the very frontiers of computer science and machine learning. 'Joanne is smart and always responsive, so teaming up with her is always a pleasant experience.'

Chambers UK - 2021 edition

The 'outstanding' team acts for both buyers and sellers in mid-market M&A transactions, particularly in the technology and life science sectors. Will Axtell and James Went operate from the Oxford office; the former leads on large technology transactions, while the latter specialises in M&A and venture capital financing.

The 'brilliant' team 'knows what needs to be done for early-stage companies without over-complicating'. It is also noted for its 'outstanding' technology transfer expertise and is involved in a raft of spin-out work. Clients benefit from the group's seamless integration with the tax team, particularly as it relates to EIS transactions.

Anna Frankum [in London] and Chris Shelley [in Oxford] head the IP practice. A solid list of technology clients retains the team for IP advice relating to software, data and algorithms.

Anna Frankum is calm, authoritative and sound in her advice.

Data protection specialist Joanne Vengadesan, who leads the IT & telecoms team, is also co-chair of the data protection committee at international tech law association iTech Law. The wider practice's expertise includes structuring and negotiating transactions, data protection for new technologies, international manufacturing agreements, blockchain and artificial intelligence projects. Oliver Kidd is a specialist in IT, technology and outsourcing while Dan Lovett is renowned for his work in complex data protection matters.

Joanne Vengadesan is smart, focused, with a wide international background that allows her to liaise and connect easily with clients and peers.

The firm has a cross-office biotechnology practice with a significant presence in Cambridge, where commercial IP specialist Rachel Bradley is the lead partner. The firm frequently acts for funders and universities in spinouts from academic research groups. Employment partner Hilary Aldred also plays a key role.

Rachel Bradley was very helpful and attentive and ensured her team met our needs.

The Legal 500 - 2021 edition

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a strong track record in international M&A and venture capital transactions and offers 'very practical and helpful advice' to major clients in the life sciences, technology and renewable energy sectors. Oxford-based partners Will Axtell and James Went specialise in M&A, fundraisings and AIM capital markets. In Reading Rob Hayes acts on behalf of investors and investee companies in mid-market M&A and venture capital transactions.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's IP team has strong sector experience in life sciences and technology, handling a range of contentious and non-contentious cases for clients including patent and know-how licensing. The team is also noted for its work on software licensing and data protection where Joanne Vengadesan is the key contact. Practice head Chris Shelley is notable for his work with universities and their spin-out companies, while senior associate Holly Strube is also a key team member.

Biotechnology is a key industry sector across the national network of offices of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, and the key lawyers in Cambridge advise start-ups and established life sciences companies on corporate, IP, IT, property and finance matters. Among its clients are numerous biotechnology, medical device, diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies, as well as research institutes. The team has a dedicated IP, IT and commercial lawyer in partner Rachel Bradley and an experienced employment partner in Hilary Aldred.

The Legal 500 - 2020 edition

The 'outstanding' team at Penningtons Manches LLP provides 'prompt, thorough and commercial' advice to investees and investors across a range of fundraising transactions from start-up and pre-seed funding through seed and angel funding to large institutional syndicate investments. Justin Starling has an excellent reputation in the technology and life sciences sectors (including university spin-out work); he recently advised DiffBlue, an artificial intelligence start-up spun out of Oxford University, on its £17m Series A funding round. David Tighe and James Went provide 'clear and actionable advice' with both recently acting for leading equity crowd funding platform Seedrs on its new funding round with a follow on investment of £4m by Woodford Investment Management. Rob Hayes handles a significant volume of deals across the South East and London including on behalf of Business Growth Fund and Touchstone Innovations plc.

The Legal 500 - 2019 edition

National firm able to draw on an increasing global presence when acting for a national and international client base. Notable expertise in acting for local high-growth and technology companies in overseas investment matters.

Solid capabilities on venture capital work in the technology and life sciences sectors. Strong track record in advising investees, with a growing investor-side practice.

Chambers UK - 2017 edition

They recommend proportionate, focused and cost-effective solutions … The work is always timely, thorough and well reasoned.

Chambers UK - 2014 edition

This 'formidable player in licensing' is a number one choice for licensors and licensees in the innovative high-technology industries of the Thames Valley region; clients originate from both public and private sectors. Chris Shelley advises on a wide range of IP matters, including patent and technology licensing and collaboration agreements in an array of fields, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and media. He is regarded as 'a super lawyer who is highly competent in IP and technology contracts'. Sources also praise the firm's practice in IT and telecommunications matters, including outsourcing and software licensing.

IAM Licensing 250 – the World's Leading Patent and Technology Lawyers

Our clients

Penningtons Manches plays a strategic role in our UK acquisitions team. Their ability to think outside the box and their attention to detail have made them a valued partner. I would strongly recommend them to any organisation seeking to make acquisitions in the mid tier software space.

Tony Walls, CEO, Objective Corporation

Led by James Klein and his team, I have been impressed by Penningtons Manches' professionalism and attention to detail. Their work has been prompt and delivered on budget, but without sacrificing quality of service. They were able to provide the full range of services that we needed for this complex transaction which demanded not only an ability to work with lawyers in two other jurisdictions, but also to meet the intellectual property challenges of working in the cutting edge area of LTE wireless technology.

Jan Schnitzer, General counsel, u-blox

Being in-house, I outsourced a piece of technical work but needed someone with expert knowledge that could speak to my engineers at their level of experience. Sam De Silva not only understood and talked through the various concepts with my engineers (who found him very personable and easy to discuss matters with) but Sam also produced a detailed yet accessible contract that my engineers could confidently discuss any commercial issues with the other party as they saw fit. I highly recommend Sam particularly in technology and is brilliant value for money.

Jennifer Howard-Dobson, Legal Counsel at Sportingbet

We are taking a further step in the steady expansion of our BRITA Ionox Division. This partnership is a key milestone in our plan to tap the North American market with the world's greatest potential for water dispensers. Throughout the formation of the alliance, we have appreciated Penningtons' commitment to providing swift, commercial solutions and their comprehensive grasp of our requirements.

Markus Hankammer, CEO, BRITA Group

We have engaged Joanne Vengadesan and her team to advise us on commercial contract issues in the telecoms sector in which we operate. She understands our product offerings and solutions, and has helped us negotiate contracts for the supply of voice and connectivity (including for VOIP, WAN, and managed services), as well as strategic partnering agreements. We trust her to stand firm on issues that are important to our business. Joanne has a pragmatic, solutions-focused approach, which has served us well.

Andrew Terry, Joint managing director, Switch Communications

James Klein and the Penningtons team provide a fantastic service. They are highly responsive and available at all times.

General counsel of K3 Business Technology Group Plc

I have worked with Sam De Silva on several occasions this year to create both bespoke and template agreements. We can always rely on his expert work to protect our interests and most importantly he always ensures that he works to our timescales, which are always demanding.

Simon Bates, Director, Product development, SaaS at Citrix

Penningtons Manches has helped guide We7 through its various rounds of funding with expertise, professionalism and promptness as you would expect but, additionally, with the right level of the 'human touch'. The team makes these things seamless and understandable and has been a great asset.

Stephen Purdham, Managing Director, We7

When deciding on advisors for the most important transaction of my career, the trust built up over time was the most important factor in my choice. Everything was done efficiently, issues were kept in perspective and more complex points were explained clearly. Throughout I was kept in touch with legal discussions without being bothered by every detail. When it came to completion, I felt confident that we had a good deal for all parties. I can recommend Pennington Manches wholeheartedly.

Kevin Gell, Founder, Tessella

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP