I began the first ten years of my career working as a banking lawyer, advising banks, private equity funds and companies on a wide range of local and international financings. During this stage, I came across the inspiring work of charities and social enterprises through my pro bono legal work, which led me to Bates Wells as I wanted to apply my professional skills, experience and commitment to support charities, social enterprises 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 or environmental impact – by providing legal advice which aims to be pragmatic and always mindful of their wider goals. This includes advice relating to formation and registration, governance, capital-raising and general charity and commercial law issues. Given my background, I have a particular interest in innovative impact investment and capital-raising structures, which seek to apply the “best of all worlds” from the expertise and experience of the private, public and non-profit sectors.
The Growth Fund is a partnership between Access, the National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital. It provides flexible finance for growing charities and social enterprises by offering blended grants and unsecured loans of up to £150,000. We created the model template grant and loan documents for the Growth Fund; these are now published on Access’s website as a free, publicly available resource, particularly for the benefit of smaller impact organisations which may not always have easy access to full legal services.
The Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) was launched by the UK Department for International Development (DfID) in 2012 to reach the most marginalised girls in the world, and is the largest global fund dedicated to girls’ education. I advised PwC - in its role as fund manager to DfID - in relation to a £130 million funding extension to the GEC. This involved preparing the key GEC funding extension documents, and negotiating these on behalf of PwC with a number of commercial and not-for-profit GEC funding recipients.
Obviam is the fund manager for SIFEM (the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets) and seeks to contribute to sustainable economic growth by investing in high impact investments in emerging and frontier markets. I advised Obviam in relation to a £12 million loan investment to a Costa Rican bank, and also supported Obviam by creating their term sheet and loan agreement templates, which they now use for their direct loan investments in frontier markets.