Recognition in three national awards in the space of three days shows that Shoosmiths’ corporate team is reaching new heights in the market, with its continued focus on M&A, venture capital (VC), private equity and tax work.
The latest market recognition for Shoosmiths includes:
• Winning the The Legal 500 Corporate & Commercial Firm (Specialism) of the Year Award (Venture Capital);
• Winning the Best EIS/SEIS Tax Adviser 2018 title at the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Association Awards;
• Finalist for the Regional Legal Adviser of the Year category for the 2019 Private Equity Awards.
The awards take place against a steady run of deal activity attracted by the firm, much of it centred on the firm’s busy Thames Valley team.
“We are seeing healthy activity around deals across the region, with exciting new mandates from investor clients keen to invest,” said Nina Smith, corporate partner at Shoosmiths’ Thames Valley office.
Smith is part of one of the largest specialist corporate teams available to Thames Valley businesses, with over 100 legal advisers in total, covering banking and finance, M&A, tax, as well as investment work. The local team operates from agile office space at Apex Plaza, a step away from the train station in the heart of Reading.
‘People buy people’
The sheer size of resource at Shoosmiths is an advantage, however ‘people buy people’ and the Shoosmiths team is seen by its clients as not just being technically excellent, but also a great team to work with.
“It’s always about the people,” says Shoosmiths corporate partner, Sanjeev Sharma, named Lawyer of the Year at the recent Thames Valley Deals Awards.
“We’ve built up an amazing team here in Reading, which combines very experienced lawyers with some excellent fresh talent. We genuinely get along with each other, and clients can sense that, and they feel like part of the team themselves. It’s like a high-performance engine, where everyone is pulling together to get the deal over the line.
“People like working with us, and it’s led to us getting a larger slice of private equity and VC activity in the past year. What we are really noticing is the sheer scale of ambition of investee clients over the past few months, who are increasingly looking to global markets to accelerate their growth plans.”
As examples of this, Shoosmiths’ Sean Wright recently advised nGAGE, one of the country’s biggest privately-owned recruitment groups, on its acquisition of Henlow Recruitment Group, to enable it to grow its presence in international markets. nGAGE is backed by private equity company Graphite Capital.
In addition, Sharma worked with NVM Private Equity on its investment into Mo, a fast-growing London-based employee reward, recognition and ideas platform with clients across 45 countries speaking 12 languages.
Shoosmiths is also unusual in having a key specialism in providing Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trust advice, led by head of the firm’s tax team, Tom Wilde, based in Reading.
Wilde’s work in advising on EIS and Seed EIS (SEIS) – including on more than 80 EIS investments in the past 12 months – makes it one of the most experienced EIS teams in the UK. This was underlined by Shoosmiths winning for the first time the coveted Best EIS / SEIS Tax Adviser 2018 title at the EIS Association Awards.
The EISA remarked on ‘excellent examples’ of work by Shoosmiths that ‘highlighted how this firm are thought leaders in this space’. The association also said ‘it is clear that they engage and provide significant assistance across the board from investee companies to fund providers and advisers’.
Wilde said: “Use of the EIS and SEIS as a way of start-up companies raising investment remains extremely high nationally, and particularly in the Thames Valley. The recent refocusing of the EIS rules on higher-risk companies sits well with the focus on tech in the Thames Valley and therefore this remains an extremely active market.”