Partner - Corporate, London
I joined A&O as a trainee solicitor in 2007 before progressing to associate, then senior associate, and partner in 2017. As a private equity partner based in London, I advise private equity funds and other financial sponsors on a range of cross-border M&A transactions, including buyouts, exits, joint ventures, partial sales, consortium arrangements and co-investments.
In 2018, I became the mental health advocate for the corporate department in London. As a firm, we believe optimising the mental health and wellbeing of those who work at A&O is critical to our business. In order to remain one the global elite law firms, we need to create the environment where people can perform at their best and fulfil their potential, and I felt it was incredibly important to have partners who were clearly advocating for this.
Since becoming an advocate, I have worked on a number of initiatives designed to increase awareness of the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing.
Recently, I also led a pro bono, cross-practice team to advise on the merger of three Welsh mental health charities – CAIS, Hafal and WCADA – creating one of the largest charities in Wales, with 18 trustees, 800 staff and 20,000 service users. The charities already had close links due to the nature of the services provided. The new merged charity, named ‘Adferiad Recovery’ provides support for people struggling with mental health issues and substance misuse, as well as for service veterans and people with learning difficulties. The charity takes people as they are, regardless of their personal or medical struggles, and supports them on their journey to recovery.
The merger presented some complex drafting challenges, as there was limited precedent or sector expertise internally. We were required to go back to first legal principles, ensuring that the vision for the merger and the rationale for bringing the charities together was reflected in the structure created, and the documents were prepared to implement the transaction. As the lead partner, my role was a combination of coordinating the A&O team, identifying where specialist input was required and acting as the principal point of contact at A&O for the client.
It was a privilege to work with the trustees and executive teams of the founding charities to help navigate the merger process. For the A&O team involved, it was hugely rewarding to help ensure that Adferiad Recovery is in a strong and resilient position to continue to provide these vital support services for many years.
Bringing these three charities together has created a special union that will make a huge difference to the charities’ service users across Wales. Clive Wolfendale, the chairman of Adferiad Recovery, was kind enough to provide the following feedback, “A&O’s contribution to the achievement of this incredible union has been nothing short of astonishing. In 46 years of work in the public, third and private sectors, I have never seen advice of this type delivered with such clarity, authority and timeliness. Simply fantastic.”
Being involved in a pro bono project of this nature, and seeing the impact of the advice provided was incredibly rewarding. Not only were we able to help achieve something that will make a real difference, the transaction also provided new and interesting challenges and gave real insight into the drivers of charity mergers. As if often the case, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the transaction was seeing the working relationship and camaraderie develop between the A&O team and our key contacts at the charities. Collaborating with such talented and enthusiastic individuals is what makes the job so much fun, and this was no exception.