Will Axtell > Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP > Oxford, England > Lawyer Profile

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Work Department



Will is a partner in the corporate team, specialising in M&A, fundraisings, spin-outs and other corporate law matters. He is based in the Oxford office and has particular expertise in the technology and life sciences sectors. Will has a strong track record in complex and high value transactions, often with a cross-border element. He has advised on many US-UK international transactions and has acted on some of the largest Oxford University spin-outs to date. Will is also co-head of the firm’s digital business group.

His clients range from start-ups and high growth companies to larger listed companies, as well as high net worth individuals and successful entrepreneurs. Will has a Magic Circle (Clifford Chance) and blue-chip in-house (Vodafone) background.


Trained Clifford Chance; qualified 2000; solicitor Clifford Chance 1998-2003; solicitor Vodafone 2003-06; partner Charles Russell 2006-14; partner Penningtons Manches 2014 to date.


Durham University (1996 History 2(1)); College of Law, Guildford (1998).

Lawyer Rankings

South East > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40

(Leading individuals)

Will AxtellPenningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has particular nous in the technology and life sciences sectors, excelling on high-end cross-border M&A work and venture capital transactions. Representing Oxford university spin-outs and growth companies are another core pillar of the team’s work in the space – M&A and private equity specialist Will Axtell, in addition to VC financing expert and ‘outstanding corporate lawyer’ James Went, are the names to note for such matters. Global head of corporate Matthew Martin is based in London. At associate level, Dominique Sabatini is another key contact for spin-out and venture capital work. Partner David Tighe retired in 2022.