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a year of talent and skills

Sponsor spotlight: Shakespeare Martineau

Shakespeare Martineau is a relatively new name to Sheffield. However, in a short space of time the full-service law firm has become well integrated in the city’s digital space. In this Sponsor spotlight, we hear from three key Solicitors and Partners of the firm in Sheffield: Carys Thompson, Kerry Russell and Ryan Fitzpatrick. They explain why they’re not like traditional lawyers, what excites them about Sheffield’s tech scene and the ‘lifecycle’ of support Shakespeare Martineau delivers to tech companies, from startup through to exit, and beyond.

Joining Sheffield

Shakespeare Martineau is a full service law firm, with offices across the UK. With a well-established sister brand in Sheffield – Lime – Shakespeare Martineau decided to join them and started to grow its presence here in 2021. The firm saw a city full of potential and wanted to be part of that.

Carys Thompson, Solicitor and Partner specialising in Commercial Contracts explains,

“Sheffield has a vibe that is not replicated in many other cities. The city is home to many inspiring individuals and companies who are dedicated to helping digital services and tech products succeed both on a national and international stage. If we can be even a small part of that, we’re very excited.”

To date, being a ‘part of that’ has seen Shakespeare Martineau immersing themselves in several different parts of the tech ecosystem including the AMRC, where the firm has delivered seminars focusing on the importance of protecting and exploiting intangible assets like software and data.

Kerry Russell, a Solicitor and Partner who specialises in Intellectual Property, offers regular drop-in sessions for young and more established businesses at Sheffield Technology Parks. She says,

“We are passionate about Sheffield and the digital and tech businesses which make the city thrive. We are proud supporters of the Sheffield Technology Park, and the city’s new Innovation Spine project, dedicated to ensuring Sheffield is the best place in the UK to start a new tech business.”

A ‘full lifecycle’ of services

The Corporate, Commercial and Intellectual Property (IP) specialists deliver services to support tech companies and tech-enabled companies at every stage. 

Carys explains,

“Our Sheffield lawyers have specific expertise in technology law, including the intellectual property underpinning digital services, as well as the protection of data and the governance of large-scale IT projects.

“Our commercial and IP offering is perfect for start-up tech companies. It is in these early stages that we can offer advice which can help protect the long-term interests of the company, its assets and its founders.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick, a Solicitor and Partner specialising in Corporate and Healthcare, adds,

“When it comes to scaling, including attracting external investment and collaborators, we can work on the terms of any proposed deal, as well as connecting a tech-business with the right advisors for tech-focused tax advice (e.g. R&D tax credits). As a full service law firm, when it comes to exit, we can advise both the company and the founders on how best to protect their long-term endeavours.”

Playing a part in the ecosystem

Shakespeare Martineau understands the importance of a strong tech ecosystem in underpinning the growth of individual companies. They recognise their own role in this and the many other contributing parts, as Kerry explains:

“Sheffield is in the early stages of an upward trajectory, with the ambition of being one of the best places in the UK to start a digital business. We have the foundations of an amazing ecosystem, where the universities connect with the likes of the Sheffield Tech Park, AMRC, professional services and corporates, and it will only continue to grow.

“To do this fully we need more access to funding and space in the region for co-working and collaboration, and this is why we are keen supporters of the Sheffield Innovation Spine project.”

Carys, Kerry and Ryan are already familiar and friendly faces in the Sheffield Digital community. In addition to Kerry’s drop-in at the Tech Parks, you might have seen Carys and Ryan at Sheffield Digital events including our AGM and Senior Leaders Dinner.

We are so pleased to welcome Shakespeare Martineau formally to Sheffield Digital as Associate Sponsors and we can already feel the benefit of their knowledge and their genuine interest and enthusiasm for our sector. Ryan and the team are keen to meet with our members, find out what you are up to, and where possible, offer services to help. He says,

“Come and talk to us. We are not like traditional lawyers. We love talking to local tech businesses about the exciting projects they are working on. We are friendly, award-winning, local experts, with the support of a national top-55 law firm behind us. We want Sheffield tech to do well, and we want to be a part of that.”

What are the legal matters keeping you awake at night?

Whilst you’ll continue to see them at local events, as well as hearing from them on the Sheffield Digital blog whenever we need the input of legal experts, Shakespeare Martineau is also keen to hold training and/or live Q&A sessions. So, what do you need to know? Tell us so that we can help the team to shape useful resources for our community.