Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has ‘deep experience in understanding the requirements of both investors and investees’, particularly in the context of tech and life sciences matters. ‘Exceptional’ team head James Went is regularly at the forefront of the highest-profile mandates handled by the team, including a significant amount of university spin-out work. Corporate tax expert Kathy Hills is also a key resource in relation to investments made through tax efficient schemes, including the government-backed EIS and SEIS initiatives.
‘Previously firms I’ve worked with have engaged in point-scoring at the clients’ expense, here a laser-like focus on the desired outcome left me feeling like we got tremendous value.’
‘They have a knack for understanding the commercial considerations behind the legal implications, something that is not always the case in a law practice!’
‘James Went was exceptional, adroitly guiding us through a complex deal structure with a trade buyer whose revenue was three orders of magnitude higher than ours.’
The Legal 500 - 2023 edition
Solid capabilities on venture capital work in the technology and life sciences sectors. Strong track record in advising investees, with additional focus on investor-side matters. Maintains close links with a number of leading UK universities and frequently advises on spin-out work.
Strengths: Sources report: ‘They're very responsive and deliver high-quality work. They're very good.’
Simon Bickerdike, Matthew Martin and James Went are key contacts.
Chambers UK - 2022 edition
Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP maintains a significant offering for investees, as well as handling university spin-outs from its Oxford office. James Went is one of the main contacts for this work and is appreciated for his ‘responsiveness and clarity of thought‘, acting for venture-backed companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. Corporate tax expert Kathy Hills is also a key resource in relation to investments made through tax efficient schemes, including the government-backed EIS and SEIS initiatives.
‘Excellent understanding of the client, nuanced yet clear language, broad consideration of circumstances.’
‘James Went is responsive and displays a great clarity of thought.’
The Legal 500 - 2022 edition
Strengths: One source says: 'They give pragmatic and commercial advice, and offer a reliable and professional service.'
Rob Hayes advises clients on a range of corporate transactions and has particular experience with private equity and venture capital clients. 'He has a really commercial, get-it-done attitude and he thinks around the problems and always has potential solutions.'
Justin Starling concentrates his practice on acting for venture capital investment funds and companies in the technology space on a range of matters. He is experienced in deals from seed funding to exit transactions. 'Justin always delivers reliable, practical and commercial advice.'
Chambers UK - 2021 edition
Co-headed by the 'exceptional' Rob Hayes and Justin Starling from Reading and also able to draw on resources in London, Oxford and Cambridge, the 'brilliant' team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP '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. Reading-based associate Elizabeth Yell is a 'definite rising star' in the team for high growth technology businesses and numerous institutional investors.
Attilio Leccisotti is a very talented senior associate and one to watch for the future.
The Legal 500 - 2021 edition
With three partners devoted exclusively to handling venture capital work, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's 'knowledgeable and responsive' team has the critical mass to handle an impressive and growing volume of mandates for a primarily investee-focused client base. With offices in London, Thames Valley, Cambridge and Oxford, the team has deep exposure to the venture capital ecosystem; benefiting from close links to a number of leading UK universities, it frequently advises on life sciences spin-out work. The 'exceptional' Justin Starling jointly heads the team alongside Rob Hayes, and is particularly noted for his university-related technology transfer prowess.
The Legal 500 - 2020 edition
Strengths: Clients praise the ‘quality of resources and breadth of expertise to advise on a wide range of issues efficiently.’
Another source comments: ‘It's a strong team that responds quickly and is good at delving deeply into knock-on issues rather than just focusing on a narrow issue.’
Clients praise Justin Starling's ability to ‘get to the issue quickly and always focus on the commercial importance rather than getting bogged down in legal arguments.’ He is well versed in the representation of investors and investees in the venture capital space, and is particularly active in the technology sector.
Chambers UK - 2019 edition