Career path: Graduated from Reading University; partner at Barlow, Lyde & Gilbert, Edge & Ellison (now Hammonds), and Clifford Turner (now Clifford Chance); joined Alchemy Partners as in-house counsel in 1998; chairman of the British Venture Capital Association’s legal and technical committee.
The Moulton connection: While a lawyer at City law firm Clifford Chance, Woodman advised investment guru Jon Moulton on the launch of Alchemy Partners, the private equity firm he founded in 1997 after his departure from Apax Partners. Woodman had previously advised Moulton on his personal investments and continued to do so for 18 months after Alchemy was up and running, which involved ?frequently popping round to their offices.? Eventually, relates Woodman, Moulton ?thought it would be useful to have someone in-house.? The person he had in mind was trusted adviser Woodman – much to her surprise.
?A bit of everything?: That’s how Woodman describes her role at Alchemy. Key aspects of the role include liaising with external legal teams working on deals; drawing up compliance and confidentiality letters; and implementing anti-money laundering procedures. Liaising with portfolio companies also takes up much of Woodman’s time: ?They ring me up to be pointed in the right direction and be told what they can and cannot do.? Woodman also talks and takes questions at gatherings that Alchemy stages on behalf of its portfolio companies’ finance directors.
Challenges and frustrations: ?The biggest frustration is the amount of regulation, which is stultifying,? says Woodman. ?No one wants to take a risk because litigation is very much to the fore.? The biggest regulatory challenge ahead, she says, will be the European Commission’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), which is due to be implemented in 2007. ?It’s a legislative quagmire that covers a whole range of financial institutions and which private equity gets swept into,? opines Woodman. ?It will cost a large amount to implement and we don’t see much benefit to it.?
Crowded in-house:Woodman is a member of Europe’s PELF, the Private Equity Lawyer’s Forum, which has around 40 members. Its existence, she says, indicates how much in-house lawyers are already in demand. What’s more, it’s a trend she expects to grow. ?There are so many new regulations coming in on a day to day basis. It’s quicker and easier to deal with these things in-house,? she suggests.