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Elsa Mikaelian - Mishcon de Reya

Elsa Mikaelian


Personal Profile

Elsa is an Associate in our Innovation Department, working with charities and other impact-driven organisations.

Drawing on her experience as a former corporate and private capital investments lawyer, Elsa specialises in advising charities, impact funders and impact ventures involved in innovative and complex intra- or cross-sector partnerships, projects and impact finance transactions.

She has a particular focus on clients and projects in the climate, nature and biodiversity space.

Aside from her day-to-day role, Elsa is actively engaged in the impact ecosystem to which she contributes in a variety of ways, including:

  • through our "Virtual Pop-Up" sessions, speaking with impact-driven entrepreneurs to explore their ideas and bring them to life;
  • building relationships across the impact ecosystem and expanding clients' networks by making introductions;
  • delivering training and workshops for communities and networks in the impact ecosystem; and
  • convening and hosting in-person events, to provide a platform for the ecosystem to network and discuss hot topics such as the rise of alternative finance for impact ventures.  

Elsa is a member of the Global Alliance of Impact Lawyers (GAIL) and the Charity Law Association. She is a native French speaker and speaks English and Russian fluently.

Key Experience

  • Advising the commercial arm of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on the implementation of its programme of research spin-outs with Greensphere Capital's nature-based solutions venture capital fund and climate incubator, aimed at commercialising and scaling the impact of Kew's world-leading research in biodiversity, botanical and fungal science.
  • Advising on the design and structuring of an innovative place-based impact investment vehicle aimed at reinvigorating local areas suffering disadvantage by increasing the access of independent local businesses to fair and patient finance.
  • Advising Founders Pledge, a global charity working to improve entrepreneurs' charitable giving, on the legal set-up and launch of Pledge Ventures, a value-aligned venture fund designed to build up a long-term capital endowment for Founders Pledge and operate as a "flywheel" for impact by investing in high-growth companies whose founders have committed to philanthropy via Founders Pledge.
  • Advising an international wildlife conversation charity on its strategy in, and the charity law implications of, a complex dispute relating to a high-value legacy to the charity.
  • Advising several UK charities on their innovative grant-making programmes and the framing of such programmes within their charitable purposes.
  • Advising several UK charities and not-for-profits on their corporate sponsorship arrangements with private sector actors.
  • Advising a health tech innovation venture on its options for restructuring to increase its funding options and boost its attractiveness to private capital investors. 
  • Advising a UK charity on the preparation and implementation of bespoke terms and conditions for its UK donor-advised fund (DAF) programme.
  • Advising a UK charity on legal implications of, and risk assessment for, receiving donations of shares in private limited companies.
  • Advising an award-winning impact venture collecting, treating, and converting waste streams into regenerative agricultural and energy products on an upcoming funding round and on its people, operations and impact.

Career History

Associate, Mishcon de Reya LLP
Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Trainee Solicitor, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
BPP Law School, Legal Practice Course and Graduate Diploma in Law
University College London (UCL), BA (Hons), Politics and East European Studies

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