I began the first ten years of my career working as a banking lawyer at Clifford Chance, advising banks, private equity funds and companies on a wide range of national and international financings. This included secondments to both Citigroup and the Blackstone Group. I joined Bates Wells in 2016 with a view to applying my professional skills, experience and commitment to support investors, charities, purposeful businesses and others seeking to have a positive impact through their business and other activities.
I now help a wide range of organisations – all of which actively seek to have a positive social and/or environmental impact – by providing legal advice which aims to be pragmatic, equitable and always mindful of their wider goals and mandates. Given my background, I have a particular interest in equitable and innovative funding structures – which seek to apply the “best of all worlds” from the expertise and experience of the private, public and non-profit sectors – on a broad range of international financing and other impact investment and funding transactions, including in the emerging markets.
With respect to my practice as a whole, my key focus areas include:
Impact investment and capital-raising: I have deep experience in structuring and negotiating a wide range of impact investment transactions and other forms of capital-raising – acting for both investors and funding recipients – including LMA (Loan Market Association)-based bank lending, lending by charitable foundations, green loans, sustainability-linked loans, convertible loan notes, crowd-funded investments, development impact bonds, charity retail bonds, equity, quasi-equity (including revenue participation and royalty sharing agreements), SAFEs (simple agreements for future equity), guarantees, repayable grants and blended finance arrangements.
Charities and non-profits: I have a wide-ranging charity law practice and act for household name charities, international NGOs, corporate foundations, non-profits and grassroots organisations. I advise on a broad range of legal and commercial issues including establishment and registration, structuring, governance, mergers, regulatory matters, grant-making and commercial contracts.
EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion): I co-lead Bates Wells’ strategy for our firm-wide EDI client offering and work closely with investors, charities, businesses and other organisations to help them achieve their EDI-related goals. I have a particular interest in supporting investors and other funders to co-design and implement funding terms, processes and legal documentation that address (often inadvertent) power imbalances for their funding recipients – and their ultimate beneficiaries – with the goal of empowering such investors and funders to align their organisational processes with their equity-focused goals and values.
Purposeful business: I work with a broad range of commercial organisations that are looking to embed purpose and mission in their corporate structures and activities, including future and current certified B Corps, steward-owned companies, community interest companies, registered societies and other social enterprises.
- Impact investment and capital-raising: Advising Obviam (a Swiss impact private asset manager) on the creation of its term sheet and loan agreement templates, for use in its direct loan investments in emerging markets.
- Advising the Stone Family Foundation in relation to its Cambodia Rural Sanitation Development Impact Bond, the world’s first DIB in the water and sanitation sector, with USAID as the outcomes funder.
- Advising Energise Africa - a joint initiative between two of Europe’s largest social investment crowdfunding platforms, Lendahand and Ethex - on a number of its secured and unsecured sustainable energy loan investments in Africa.
- Advising the Inter-American Development Bank (via the IDB Lab) on its equity investment into Bankingly, a company enabling financial institutions of all sizes in emerging markets to have their own online and mobile banking platforms.
- Advising Golden Lane Housing, one of the UK’s leading charities focusing on providing supported housing for those with disabilities, on its £15m 2021 retail charity bond issuance (as listed on the London Stock Exchange).
- Advising a UK impact investor with the development of its green loans offering (and related template loan documentation).
- Advising Social Investment Business on the structuring and documentation for its £25m Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund programme, providing emergency funding for charities and social enterprises navigating through the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Advising a number of UK social banks and other social investors on their loan investments, including Big Society Capital, Charity Bank, CAF Bank, Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, Unity Trust Bank and Big Issue Invest.
- Charities and non-profits: Advising Crisis (the UK homelessness charity) in establishing - and negotiating the investment documents for five initial equity investments by - the “Venture Studio from Crisis”. The Venture Studio is a deeply innovative social investment programme created and run by Crisis, which invests in, builds and scales ventures which in each case seeks to end or prevent homelessness for those eat risk of experiencing it.
- Advising on establishing the Grenfell Foundation - set up to provide independent support to the former residents of Grenfell Tower, their families and the local community – as a registered charity.
- Advising on establishing the Croda Foundation – the corporate foundation for Croda International PLC, a FTSE 100-listed consumer care and life sciences global group – as a registered charity, as well as its ongoing governance, grant-making activities and core internal policies.
- Advising a UK human rights charity in relation to a proposed spin-out of certain operations into an independent social enterprise.
- Advising on the merger (by acquisition) between a mental health charity and a mental health-focused social business.
- EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion): Co-leading a UK-wide impact investment initiative with the EIIP (the Equality Impact Investing Project) called the Equalising Deal Terms (EDT) Project, which seeks to address power imbalances between social impact investors and investees in investment terms, processes and legal documentation.
- Advising the LankellyChase Foundation on the preparation of concise, equitable and balanced template grant agreements for use with its grassroots programme partners.
- Advising a national civil rights organisation on amending its charitable purposes to enable it to particularly serve Black communities.
- Advising a group of charitable foundations on a junior loan financing for Micro Rainbow CIC, a social enterprise focusing on providing safe accommodation for LGBT+ refugees and asylum-seekers.
- Advising PwC - in its role as fund manager to DfID (now FCDO) - in relation to a £130 million funding extension to the Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC), which was originally launched in 2012 to reach the most marginalised girls in the world, and is the largest global fund dedicated to girls’ education.
- Purposeful business: Advising the board of directors of the Jamie Oliver Group – and a wide range of other future and current certified B Corps - on the implications of becoming a certified B Corporation on directors’ duties.
- Advising the Purpose Foundation on creating model articles of association for UK steward-owned companies, incorporating a ‘golden share’ structure. Following this instruction, I was invited to be a contributor (from the UK legal perspective) to a guidebook on 'Steward Ownership: A Short Guidebook to Legal Frameworks', as co-created by the Purpose Foundation and the NYU School of Law.
- Advising on the creation of concise, equitable, balanced and accessible commercial contracts which are “B Corp friendly” and reflect the ethos and values of B Corp organisations.
- Advising on the structuring, establishment and registration of a number of community interest companies (CICs) and other asset-locked organisations.