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Geoff Dragon - Mishcon de Reya

Cambridge Spotlight: Geoff Dragon

Posted on 21 November 2023

This article is part of our 'Cambridge Spotlight' series, profiling our lawyers based in our Cambridge office. In the series, we find out about their backgrounds, their journey through law and hear why Cambridge is important to them.

Geoff is a Corporate Partner in Mishcon Future specialising in equity fundraisings and equity incentives. His knowledge of the early-stage and venture-capital sectors ensures he can advise and assist clients across a broad range of investment, equity incentives, and commercial work.

I wanted to get into law because … I had no idea what I wanted to do until I spoke to an A-level teacher who said I need to do something that motivated me – they suggested either become a lawyer or doctor. I did some research and figured out I could become a lawyer more quickly!

I came to be in Cambridge because … Having grown up in a small village in Dorset, I knew I didn't want to be in London full time. I studied at the University of East Anglia in Norwich and liked the region, so I applied for training contracts there and got one at Taylor Vinters.

I chose Corporate law because … as soon as I did the seat as a trainee, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be a transactional lawyer and work in emerging technology. We're sector agnostic, when it comes to technology, but so many of our clients do groundbreaking stuff. Generally, in the start-up world, founders are younger-minded, inquisitive, and there there is a more relaxed culture, like a startup, and that suits my style.

The thing that motivates me most is … being part of a part of our clients' journeys, from concept to product. The companies we work with are doing things that can be life changing for many. Many of our life sciences clients, for example, are commercialising new treatments for illnesses and/or creating new MedTech products that will benefit the public.

The work achievement I'm most proud of is … leading on a £250 million fundraising round in late 2021 for Wayve Technologies, an autonomous vehicle company. It was the single biggest venture capital round we had done at Taylor Vinters and for a company that does seriously cool things!

The thing that makes Cambridge such a hub of innovation is … it's a city that understands the value in investing in and nurturing emerging technology companies. Cambridge has been fortunate to have some big companies exit in the past and its tech transfer office is the best in the country. It also has the strongest angel investor community in the country, willing to put money into companies.

You have the university as a research hub, but other ones such as Babraham and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, meaning there are various pockets of innovation, and it isn't all localised in one place. All these organisations run their own accelerators and attend the same events. There are also a number of venture capital funds here, with easy access to even more in London.

One opportunity from the merger is … increased capabilities in terms of what we can offer our clients. We can now offer additional services to our clients as they grow, such as regulatory and private equity advice, that we could never have serviced beforehand. We're now the complete "one-stop shop".

Somebody that has inspired me during my career is … Tom McGuire – he led the 'Growth' team when I joined as a trainee. His relaxed approach, commercial awareness, pragmatism towards getting deals done and strong working relationships with clients are things I learnt from him and try to replicate as best I can!

One thing I wish I knew when I started my career is … Very rarely do I need to pull random cases from my memory or do a deep-dive into technical points of law. Of course, its important to have a solid technical base but more important is how we apply our knowledge and technical ability to our clients' problems based on both our experience of the market and our client's specific needs.

One future trend in my practice area is … Technology is coming for the legal sector and we have to embrace it! Things like drafting and preparation of documents is prime for automation and, to a degree, AI. That means our role will be less about drafting and even more focused on strategy – explaining processes and managing negotiations.

One thing you didn’t know about me is … I'm a Football Manager addict. I clocked over 3000 hours playing time in 2012, taking Tunbridge Angels from Blue Square South to the Premier League. We won 8 back-to-back Premier Leagues and the Champions League. I also had a successful stint as a Mexico manager…

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