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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Deeply embedded in the venture capital ecosystem and regularly instructed by investors and investees across all stages of the funding cycle,¬†Bird & Bird LLP¬†'has in-depth knowledge of venture capital transactions and quickly gets on top of novel or complex issues'.¬†Able to leverage the firm's premier IP expertise, the team is well-equipped to advise on transactions involving cutting-edge technologies, where clients benefit from a 'very commercial and holistic service' across both equity and debt investments, as well as on the initial fund formation front.¬†Geraint Lloyd¬†continues to handle a raft of work for leading institutional investor, Albion Ventures, including advising it on the Series A financing of Quantexa and its ¬£4.6m investment in G.Network. As well as his venture debt expertise, which recently saw him advise Kreos Capital on its provision of a $70m credit line to Sound Cloud,¬†Struan Penwarden¬†also regularly handles equity investment work for investors and investees including recently advising Macquarie Group on its multimillion-pound investment in UK-based Connected Energy as joint investor with Engie New Ventures. 'Exceptional and hardworking' associate¬†Mark Rundall¬†is developing a strong reputation among technology clients¬†including AccsysTechnologies Group which he recently advised on its ‚ā¨68m financing package through a combination of equity investment from BP Technology Ventures, Medite, the UK Business Growth Fund and Volantis Capital, together with a new debt facility from RBS and a simultaneous ‚ā¨14m public market offering. The team is rounded out by the 'incredibly bright, efficient and hardworking'¬†Shing Lo, who excels at advising on deals involving emerging and disruptive technology businesses.¬†¬†Richard Eaton, who had particular expertise advising US clients on venture capital transactions, left in September 2018 to join Darktrace as GC.

Headed by Robert Wood out of the firm's Reading office and able to draw upon the expertise of practitioners spread out across the firm's national network of offices including London and Bristol, Osborne Clarke LLP 's four-partner team excels in handling later stage and growth capital financing rounds for European and US investors including Highland Europe, Notion Capital and Prodigy Finance, as well as investee clients active in the digital business, fintech and renewable energy space. Wood has a particular strength advising on complex transactions involving investor syndicates as exemplified by his recent work for Touchstone Innovations and Draper Esprit on the £18m funding round into Ieso Digital Health, and representation of Highland Europe, Touchstone Innovations and Nesta on the £16.5m funding in FeatureSpace. Mathias Loertscher is particularly accomplished at handling transactions within the digital business sector and recently advised Bizagi Group on a $48m growth equity investment by Invus. Recently promoted partner Simon Jones  is active for investors and investee clients in the digital business sector and recently acted for Prodigy Finance, a London-based fintech start-up, on raising $40 million from venture capital funders Index Ventures and Balderton Capital. Matthew Lewis has a focus on handling investor side work within the cleantech and energy sectors.

The 'superb' practice at Taylor Wessing LLP regularly handles the most noteworthy mandates in the market for a balanced roster of investees and investors including Sky, Index Ventures, Partech Ventures and Sequoia Capital. Able to leverage the firm's superb intellectual property capabilities, as well as having strong corporate credentials, the team is able to provide a holistic service throughout the funding lifecycle, from early stage fundraisings through to later stage investments and exit strategies. Life sciences and the technology sectors are particular strengths of the team and the Cambridge office is particularly important in servicing work emanating as a result of spin-outs from Cambridge University. In this regard, the 'fantastic' Adrian Rainey leads on the firm's work for Cambridge Innovation Capital, the preferred investor for Cambridge University, including advising it on a £40m Series B financing round into Bicycle Therapeutics. Rainey has also handled numerous venture capital mandates in the fintech space, including his ongoing work for 'mobile first' challenger bank - Monzo - on its recent fundraisings including a £71m funding round led by a syndicate of investors including new US investors Goodwater, Stripe and Michael Moritz. Angus Miln is also a 'very well-known figure in the industry' and continues to handle numerous matters for Index Ventures including advising it as the lead investor on a $66m Series B round into Revolut, a digital bank challenger. Mike Turner has significant expertise advising on international transactions including his recent work for online fashion retail platform, Farfetch, on its $397m Series G fundraising by new investor, and e-commerce giant, Other recommended practitioners include the 'vastly experienced' David Mardle; Howard Palmer, who acts for investors and investees engaged in mandates within the  technology, media and life sciences sectors; and Josef Fuss, who excels at handling healthtech-related matters often involving a nexus to the Israeli market.

The 'very efficient' team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP is 'extremely good at what it does', which primarily involves acting for investee technology clients as they execute their growth strategies. Under the leadership of the 'excellent' Christopher Grew, the team is also able to leverage the firm's market-leading Silicon Valley office, of particular benefit for clients seeking an exit strategy. Grew is noted for his expertise advising hi-tech companies from early stage funding rounds through to later stage investment cycles. Throughout his career he has also handled numerous mandates for "unicorn" tech companies, most recently advising personal money cloud Revolut on its $250m Series C financing round. The team also continues to grow the investor side of its practice, with Ylan Steiner regularly handling work for fund clients including Vitruvian Partners which he has recently advised on numerous investments generated out of its £2.4bn fund III, including on its $65m primary and secondary Series G financing of German online lending platform Smava. Shawn Atkinson has 'extensive knowledge of the venture capital world' and applies this to good effect to provide 'efficient and commercial advice' in late stage venture transactions and in early stage private equity transactions throughout Europe and the emerging markets. Atkinson assisted Vostok with a number of investments including acting for its emerging finance arm on a $15m Series C round investment into Turkey-based payments company Iyzico. The team was further strengthened by the arrival of Ali Ramadan from Bird & Bird LLP in January 2018.

Headed by Mark Dorff, Brown Rudnick LLP 's 'excellent' venture capital team handles work across the investment lifecycle for investors and investees in the life sciences, technology and impact investment sectors. Leveraging its significant US presence, the firm excels at advising on cross-border mandates, be it on behalf of foreign investors investing into a UK structure or where UK or European companies are looking to raise funds, commercialise or exit abroad. Led out of London by Sophie McGrath and also including significant corporate and tax input out of New York, the team recently advised big data tech start-up, Knowhere Limited, on its successful move to the West Coast of the US to further expand its company (having previously raised funds in the UK). McGrath has also developed a particular niche in relation to impact investment matters including her recent work for   LGT Venture Philanthropy on its Series F-2 investment into M-KOPA, a renewables energy company providing solar energy in Kenya as an alternative to kerosene. Nicholas Vasquez also regularly handles venture capital work as part of his broader corporate and private equity offering; he recently acted for Gilo Industries Group and its founder on the issue of shares and investment into the company by Kuang-Chi Group, a Chinese disruptive technology group and secondary purchases of shares by Kuang-Chi and current shareholder, Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Advanced Investments Group. Other clients include FLOWERBX, Gilde Healthcare Partners, Impact Ventures and VideoDoc.

Afforded greater bench-strength by the recent combination with Olswang and Nabarro, CMS has the critical mass to advise on a significant volume of deals for investee companies at seed, Series A and follow-on investment rounds. Benefiting from a broad-ranging international and national network, the firm is equally adept at handling purely domestic matters as it is on ones involving an international component. John Finnemore has a strong track record acting on behalf of investors and investees in growth and venture capital funding; he recently acted for payment provider, GoCardless, on a $22.5m Series D funding into the company by a syndicate of investors led by Notion Capital. Technology sector head Anthony Waller recently advised medication management app, Echo, on its £7m Series A funding round. Chris Mackie is also recommended and regularly handles venture capital matters as part of his broader private equity offering.

Leveraging the expertise of the firm's IP and technology teams, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is well-placed to provide an excellent service to entrepreneurial media and technology businesses throughout their investment lifecycle. 'Very impressive' team head Tony Littner is regularly at the forefront of the most significant matters handled by the team including the recent work for fintech company, Smart Pension, on its £15m Series B round of investment and his representation of RSRCHXchange, a cloud-based marketplace and MiFID ii workflow solution for accessing institutional research, on its strategic investment from Euclid Opportunities, NEX Group’s financial technology investment business. Although the firm is better known for its work on behalf of investees, it does handle a not insignificant flow of investor mandates, as exemplified by Charles Lévêque's recent work for Kairos Ventures on its Series A investment in Neuro-Bio, a biotechnology company developing innovative treatments for neurodegenerative disorders.

Headed by the 'experienced and commercial' James Shaw and UK and US-qualified Tina Baker, JAG Shaw Baker 'is extraordinarily accomplished' at handling early stage investment work for investees in the life sciences, clean-tech and digital technologies sectors.

The 'responsive and cost-effective' team at¬†Marriott Harrison LLP¬†is 'extremely knowledgeable and commercial' and handles a significant volume of repeat work in the venture capital space by dint of its entrenched relationships with several leading investors including Mobeus Equity Partners, Balderton Capital and Accel Partners. Headed by the 'supportive and very intelligent'¬†Andrew Wigfall, the team is particularly strong at handling deals throughout the funding lifecycle within the technology sector. Praised for his 'willingness to go above and beyond by connecting us to others in the industry, both on the investor and investee perspective', clients appreciate Wigfall's 'ability to add real value on transactions'. He recently advised Accel Partners on the ¬£82m Series F fundraising by leading peer-to-peer lending platform, Funding Circle. The 'responsive and very commercial'¬†Jonathan Leigh-Hunt¬†recently advised Mobeus Equity Partners on its ¬£2.9m investment into Buster + Punch and also on its¬†¬£5m investment into Wetsuit Outlet, a leading online water sports retailer.¬†Daniel Jacob¬†regularly acts for entrepreneurs and investee companies on fundraisings and exits and recently represented fintech start-up, AxeTrading, on its ‚ā¨2m fundraising from Illuminate Financial Management.¬†Ben Devons¬†is also recommended.

Shoosmiths LLP provides an 'excellent service' to an investor-focused client base, from early stage investment through to late stage funding. Praised for its 'customer focus and sound advice', the team, headed by the 'very approachable' Alistair Peet, handles a raft of work for Octopus Ventures, including advising it on a $26m investment into cyber security firm Digital Shadows. Steve Barnett 's arrival from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP has enhanced the firm's capability in relation to investee-side work; he recently acted for Winnow Holdings on its recent $7.4m funding round. Reading-based tax partner Tom Wilde  provides tax structuring advice on VCT and Enterprise Initiative Scheme (EIS) investments.

Primarily led out of its Bristol headquarters, Ashfords LLP's practice has significant market visibility and handles a 'significant flow of work' for an impressive roster of investor clients including Notion Capital, Touchstone Innovations and MMC Ventures. Although the firm is active across the funding lifecycle, it has recently handled numerous later-stage mandates on behalf of investor syndicates. In this regard, Chris Dyson recently acted for an international investor syndicate including Sapphire Ventures and Notion Capital on a £20m Series D investment in CurrencyCloud. The firm is also increasingly active on the company side and led by Rory Suggett recently advised online estate agent Emoov on a £9m investment round by various investors. Other recommended partners include Andrew Betteridge and London-based Giles Hawkins .

The 'very strong and knowledgeable' one-partner team at Baker Botts (UK) LLP has developed niche expertise advising the venture capital arms of major corporates, including Aviva and Statoil, on their investments. Team head Neil Foster is praised for his ability to 'combine legal and general business acumen to provide realistic advice'. In an illustration of the team's ability to collaborate with its colleagues in the US, Foster recently advised Statoil Energy Ventures on its $50m Series B investment in New York-managed Convergent Energy and Power. Foster also recently closed several deals for Aviva Ventures including advising it (alongside the firm's Palo Alto office) on its $10.4m Series B funding round with Roost for a strategic funding investment in the US. Outside of the firm's corporate venture expertise, the team also regularly advises investees, and is able to add particular value on deals within core areas of sector focus for the firm as a whole including energy and technology. For example, Foster and 'reliable and detail-oriented' senior associate Sarah Melaney acted for Bio Bean on its £2.5m Series A fundraising round. Special counsel Tim Davison is also recommended.

Cooley (UK) LLP 's relatively new London office continues to gain market visibility and excels in deals which involve a transatlantic component. 'Excellent' US-qualified team head Ryan Naftulin represents companies and investors who are forming and financing disruptive high-growth companies, particularly in the technology and life sciences sectors. He recently advised SoftBank as the lead investor on London-based virtual reality company Improbable’s $502m Series B funding round. Although he is better known for his midmarket private equity prowess, Stephen Rosen also has experience in the venture capital market and in a deal which involved significant input out of the US, recently acted for Orchard Therapeutics on its $110m Series B financing. David Bresnick is also recommended. Other clients include Business Growth Fund, Draper Esprit and Sapphire Ventures.

Gowling WLG acts for a balanced mix of investee companies, funds and corporate venturers. As part of his broader private equity practice, the 'excellent' Ian Piggin is regularly involved in venture capital transactions, particularly within the technology and life sciences sectors. Piggin recently advised Neyber Holdings on its Series C fundraising activity and also acted for Epidarex Capital on its investment into IGEM Therapeutics to progress a pipeline of IgE antibody drug candidates to treat cancer. Banking and finance head Kirsty Barnes specialises in venture debt finance and recently acted for Battery Ventures on a debt finance package provided by Silicon Valley Bank following Battery's acquisition of AED-SICAD. Gareth Baker is recommended for venture capital-related energy deals and principal associate Neil Hendron is developing a strong reputation on life sciences venture capital work. Other clients include Draper Esprit plc, BGF Ventures and Pfizer Ventures.

Mills & Reeve LLP provides 'timely, professional and cost-effective' advice to an impressive array of investors and investees including IQ Capital Partners, UCL Technology Fund and Grapeshot. Under the leadership of the 'excellent' Zickie Lim, the team excels at handling university spin-out work and recently represented PredictImmune on its syndicated seed financing round involving Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds and The University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund IV, amongst others. Lim also continues to handle a significant amount of work for Mercia Technologies on its direct portfolio investments including on recent investments in Aston Eyetech, Faradion and Soccer Manager. Principal associate Pippa Pearce is also recommended.

The 'outstanding' team at Penningtons Manches Cooper 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.

Praised for its ability to 'bring in colleagues from other practice areas in a very efficient, productive and collaborative way', Reed Smith LLP 's venture capital team provides a 'thoughtful and efficient service' to start-ups and entrepreneurs within the media and technology sectors across the funding lifecycle through to a potential IPO or trade sale, where it also benefits from the ability to leverage its international network, particularly the US offices. 'Very hardworking and responsive' team head Michael Young has a strong reputation among start-ups and as well as his 'strength when considering long-term planning for the company and its structure', is also 'very calm, rational and extremely thorough'. Senior associate Stephen Mooney is  'excellent at negotiating terms with potential investors'.

While it is recognised for its 'excellence at working with start-ups out of Cambridge', Taylor Vinters has successfully broadened the scope of its practice to include an increased volume of national and international work for both investors and investees. Charles Fletcher handles work for many institutional investors and recently acted for Grafton Capital and Highland Europe on their $40m investment into leading cloud-based platform for enterprise video conferencing and calling service, StarLeaf. Chris Keen handles a balanced array of investor and company side work; he recently advised Secret Escapes on its $111m Series D debt and equity fundraising from Temasek and Silicon Valley Bank. Tom McGuire is also recommended for his work on behalf of start-ups and emerging technology businesses. Clients include Featurespace, Sky Futures Partners and Oxcitas.

Strengthened in London by the arrival of the 'very knowledgeable and service-oriented' Jon Snade from Irwin Mitchell in February 2017 and also benefiting from a strong Midlands presence which is spearheaded by Mike Jackson, Browne Jacobson LLP's venture capital team is gaining increased market visibility and is picking up a considerable amount of high-quality work from investees and investors in the technology sector. The team has nurtured a sizeable client base as a result of its innovative "Grow" programme which is tailored for companies at any stage of the start-up journey, from protecting an idea or brand through to a successful exit. Snade recently acted for insurtech start-up Digital Fineprint (a Grow client) on its $2.7m second fundraising round. Other clients include Cloud Castle, Foresight, Mobeus and Transformative AI.

Headed from the firm's Bristol headquarters by Mark Shepherd, Burges Salmon LLP handles a significant amount of venture capital work for both investors and investees as a function of its broader private equity offering. Particularly strong in sectoral areas of focus for the firm including renewable energy, the team covers investments across the life cycle of the funding process and also benefits from the ability to leverage the firm's private client pedigree, of particular use in relation to early stage investment on behalf of ultra-high-net-worth angel investors and their family offices. Recent highlights include advised German semiconductor manufacturer Infineon on its Series E investment in XMOS, a leading supplier of voice and audio solutions to the consumer market.  Richard Spink is also recommended. Other clients include Ingenious Investments, Octopus Investments and Play Sports Network.

Leveraging the firm's private wealth expertise, as well as its sector expertise across TMT, retail and sports,¬†Charles Russell Speechlys LLP¬†'s sweet-spot lies in advising high-net-worth investors and family offices investing in start-ups on their own or in collaboration with traditional venture capital funds.¬†¬†Malcolm MacDougall¬†recently advised¬†KERN Ventures, a syndicate of private investors, on their investment in Gojumpin, a trampoline park operator.¬†Chris Putt¬†is also recommended, and as well as his representation of Bonsai Capital on a series of early-stage life sciences investments, also continues to advise venture debt provider, Kreos Capital, on numerous transactions including on a ‚ā¨15m senior secured loan facility to Kiadis Pharma. Other clients include Bestport Ventures, Shore Capital, Takumi and Shore Capital.

Led by Frances Doherty, Dorsey & Whitney has a focus on representing early stage technology companies on their growth trajectory. Doherty recently advised Limejump Limited on its Series A £3m fundraising led by Statkraft. On the investor front, Dorsey acted for Singapore venture capital firm Vertex Holdings, on the £40m Series B investment in Bicycle Therapeutics Investment. Other clients include Music Glue, Adzuna and Microsaic Systems.

Kemp Little LLP  provides a 'highly commercial and pragmatic service' to investors and investees within the technology space, which benefit from the firm's overarching expertise within the sector. Team head Charles Claisse regularly handles work for investors including McKesson Ventures, which he advised in its role as lead investor for a syndicate on a Series A investment in Unforgettable Trading, an online market place for dementia and memory loss-related products and services. Claisse also regularly handles venture debt work for Norgine Ventures including on its recent provision of financing of up to £4m to Collagen Solutions plc by way of secured private bonds with warrants. Andy Moseby has a strong track record advising investees in the digital advertising space and is a key member of the team that also includes the 'down-to-earth and pragmatic' Glafkos Tombolis.

Able to leverage very strong regulatory and IP support, Simmons & Simmons is becoming more visible within the venture capital space on behalf of investors and investees which are appreciative of its 'excellent industry knowledge' and 'commerciality', particularly in relation to fintech and digital health matters. Patrick Graves recently advised the German retailer Metro Group on its equity investment in Yoyo Wallet, the fast-growing British mobile payments app, as part of a £12m series B funding round. The 'responsive and solutions-oriented' Jocelyn Ormond regularly handles private equity and venture capital work in the life sciences space and recently advised the shareholders of Intelligent Ultrasound (an Oxford University spin-out) on the company's sale to MedaPhor Group plc. Other clients include Augmentum Capital, Oak Investment Partners and Catterton Partners.

Housed within the firm's wider corporate and private equity offering, Arnold & Porter regularly handles work for investors in the biotech sector. Led by Jeremy Willcocks, the firm is best-known in this space for later stage investments and in relation to exit strategies. Clients include Acuity Investments, Bluebird Capital and Bregal Capital.

Appreciated by clients for the 'excellent value for money' that its unique business model engenders, Keystone Law has numerous practitioners that are 'very knowledgeable' within the venture capital space and provides a 'personable and effective' service to clients including Hygea VCT plc, Buckland Capital and Ardent Media. 'Always willing to go the extra mile', Nadim Zaman provides 'genuine commercial insight' to investee companies throughout their funding lifecycle. He advised Decibel Insight on its recent equity investment round which included securing a cash injection from Fidelity’s venture arm Eight Roads with participation from John Simon, via his Ventureforgood investment entity. The 'calm, diligent and pragmatic' Catherine Williams is 'vastly experienced in venture capital transactions' for both investors and investees. Dee Sian is also recommended.

Boutique technology firm Waterfront Solicitors LLP has an 'excellent understanding of what it takes to work with start-ups where agility is required'. Active on behalf the investor side and for the company, the firm benefits from an excellent perspective of the market and is also able to call upon the expertise of lawyers within the firm's broader IP and IT teams. 'First-rate' team head Matthew Cunningham is praised for his 'attentive and thoughtful approach'; he recently acted for software company Plandek on a $2.7m investment round led by Vanneck (Vannek EIS Club). Other clients include Find Invest Grow, New Model Venture Capital and Digital Catapult.

Oxford and London-based corporate and technology boutique White & Black Limited delivers 'well-considered, timely and comprehensive advice' to investors and investees across all stages of the investment continuum. Co-heads Phil Riman and John Allen are praised for their 'sound commercial and technical advice' and are frequently at the forefront of the most significant transactions handled by the team including its recent work on behalf of UK-based venture capital funds including Elderstreet VCT and Panoramic Growth Equity on the divestment of software optimisation expert, Concorde Solutions to US-based, Ivanti. The 'very pragmatic' Stephen Silvester is also recommended.

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