London Employee Benefits & Compensation Associate

Sunset image of london showing illuminated tower bridge and the shard skyscraper
Location:
Eden House
8 Spital Square
London
E1 6DU
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Wilson Sonsini is the premier legal advisor to technology, life sciences, and other growth enterprises worldwide.  We represent companies at every stage of development, from entrepreneurial start-ups to multibillion-dollar global corporations, as well as the venture firms, private equity firms, and investment banks that finance and advise them.  The London office, since opening in 2018 is focused on offering Silicon Valley-style business and legal advice to UK and European tech companies.  The team offers international experience to support the growth of such companies, from launching, scaling, and raising capital to exiting via M&A, IPO or otherwise, with a particular focus on UK and European tech companies exploring US expansion, fundraising or exit.

We are looking for a UK qualified Share Incentive lawyer to join the London office to work with the existing UK Share Incentive partner. The candidate would provide advice to the firm’s clients on share option and employee incentive arrangements while supporting the London corporate team in relation to investments, M&A and IPOs.  There is a focus on UK/US advisory work and the candidate will work regularly with members of the firm’s wider U.S. Employee Benefits and Compensation (EB&C) team on mutual clients as well as working with the corporate teams across the firm on both advisory work and cross border financings, M&As and other exits.  Requiring technical knowledge in respect of incentive arrangements for private company with particular emphasis on EMI arrangements, non-qualified plans, CSOP and growth shares, the ideal candidate will be commercially minded and solution driven with the ability to clearly explain and advise on complex issues.

Given the current small size of the team, the candidate will work closely with the partner to gain excellent experience and exposure to clients, with the role offering excellent progression opportunities.

The role includes:

  • Designing, drafting and implementing formal shares plans including EMI, CSOP and non-qualified plans.
  • Advising on non-qualified arrangements such as growth shares and flowering shares and the financing of such arrangements through loans or deferred payment arrangements.
  • Advising on tax implications for employee and employer of all forms of UK employee incentive arrangements.
  • Advising on share valuation considerations and preparing valuations based on benchmarking valuations.
  • Working with the US EB&C team on UK and European/US cross border issues, advising both UK outbound and US inbound companies on incentive arrangement issues.
  • Advising on non-employee grants.
  • Working closely with corporate teams on share incentive issues arising on financings and M&A deals including drafting relevant aspects of the investment documents/SPA and any option holder communications.
  • Involvement in business development activities such as attending client facing events and drafting articles and alerts as relevant.
  • Assist in development of the London Incentive team’s precedent bank.

Requirements:

  • UK qualified, holding or being eligible for a valid Solicitors Practicing Certificate.
  • 2-5 years PQE specialising in or with a majority of time spent on employee share incentives.
  • Strong technical understanding and knowledge of EMI, CSOP, growth shares and non-qualified options.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Commercially minded and solution driven with knowledge of market practice in tech and VC sectors a particular benefit but not a requirement.
  • Knowledge of US incentive arrangements and issues a plus but not a requirement.
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