Liz Ward is the Founder and Principal of Virtuoso Legal, having established the firm in 2007. Liz has operated as a leading international intellectual property solicitor for over 30 years.
Liz has an academic background in science and prior to founding Virtuoso Legal worked for a number of international law firms where she specialised exclusively in IP.
Liz did note, however, that intellectual property was neglected within larger firms and that there was an opportunity for a commercially-focused and technical IP specialist practise to enter the market.
Liz now leads a team of uniquely talented specialists who offer some of the most straight-forward, transparent and impactful intellectual property strategy available today.
- Consecutively ranked as “Leader in their Field” by Chambers and Partners for over a decade
- Recognised by media outlets such as the BBC and Forbes as a “go-to” IP expert
- Owner of Ted, the office dog and Virtuoso Legal official mascot
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Kirsten is Vice Principal and head of the commercial department at Virtuoso Legal. She joined Virtuoso Legal in October 2007 and has over 20 years experience advising on Intellectual Property, IT and commercial matters. She is recognised as an elite expert in her field and is widely sought after for being “highly commercial”.
Kirsten advises clients on the protection, management and enforcement of IP rights as well as licensing and other commercial exploitation. This includes drafting and negotiation of commercial agreements.
Kirsten is particularly valued by clients for her ability to work in partnership with key stakeholders, developing impactful legal strategy, enabling rapid and safe business growth.
- BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology at the University of Manchester
- Dual qualified to practice law in the UK and Australia
- Balances a busy life as a solicitor with two young children and a sausage dog!
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Senior Associate Solicitor
Charlie Bond joined Virtuoso Legal in June 2020 and works as a senior associate solicitor. He is currently based in the Leeds office and assists both the contentious and non-contentious teams. Before arriving at Virtuoso Legal Charlie had worked at a number of firms working mainly on high profile international IP disputes. Charlie's experience bridges the scope of IP rights offering a holistic commercial view with particular expertise in the technology, automotive and food and drink sectors
- Completed the Oxford University Post Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and Practice.
- Extensive experience working with international clients on high profile disputes.
- Enjoys keeping active outside of the office, mostly playing rugby but also willing to give any other activity a go if it sounds fun
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Lauren Waterman LLM
Lauren joined Virtuoso Legal in March 2018 and is noted within the team for exceptionally combining: an academic grasp of the law, practical know-how and highly personable service. Lauren is a friendly face who enjoys helping her clients to meet their commercial aims.
- First Class LLB (Hons) from University of York (2017) and Distinction LLM LPS from BPP University (2020)
- Extensive experience handling trade mark matters and advising on a range of commercial contracts
- Lauren transformed from a tough centre-half to a keen (and slightly competitive) tennis player
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Razvan Popa LLM
Razvan joined Virtuoso Legal in September 2018 after two successful work experience stints in 2016 and 2018. Razvan graduated from Coventry University with a 1st class degree in Law and completed a Masters in European Law (Merit) – writing his dissertation on the likely changes to UK Copyright Law following Brexit.
- Collaborated with the European Commission and the University of Nottingham in research assistance on the implementation of EU Design law in Romania
- Assisted the European Commission in collaboration with a company based in Austria in relation to the protection of databases in Romania
- Razvan has also been a member of the European Youth Parliament – where he fine-tuned his political aspirations. Razvan loves to travel, experience new places and meeting new people.
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James Gilmer LLM
James joined Virtuoso Legal in March 2019 and provides valuable insight and commercial awareness having worked prior both in-house and in private practice. He is an immediate asset to any client seeking IP expertise, with strong logical, analytical and rounded interpersonal skills.
- Graduating with both, an LLB (Hons) in Law (2014) and Master’s degree in Intellectual Property Law and Policy (2016), from the University of Manchester
- Two years of In-House experience at the Miss World Organisation
- Keen interest in music, entertainment and hospitality, having worked in a range of venues over the past 10 years. “Pens at the ready!” James is also a part-time MC and quiz master.
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Ellie Wilson LLM
Ellie combines in-depth legal knowledge of intellectual property law with extensive experience and a personal approach. She read law at the University of Oxford and holds an LLM from the University of Edinburgh.
- Experience in providing legal and consultancy services and in relation to IP
- Background in policy relating to IP and technology [at the Law Commission], and university-level teaching at the University of Edinburgh and Kings College London
- “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing” – in her spare time, Ellie dances the lindy hop!
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Hallam Whitehead LLM
Hallam joined Virtuoso Legal in September 2019, having previously enjoyed two successful work experience placements at the firm. Hallam gained a degree in Law prior to specialising in intellectual property on his Masters, focusing on the regulation of big data in his dissertation.
- Awarded a distinction on Intellectual Property LLM, studying areas such as Cyberlaw and IP management
- Began his training contract along with the Legal Practice Course (LPC) in February 2020
- Is an avid sports fan and long-suffering supporter of Leeds United
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Brand Protection Specialist
Kostas joined Virtuoso Legal in 2020 as IP and Brand Protection specialist. Kostas offers a broad range of competencies, with a background in trade mark watching, as well as online brand protection with some of the largest entities within the space. Kostas assists the legal team in offering a broader commercial view in relation to IP and Brand Protection as well as helping the Virtuoso Legal team continue to innovate and improve its Brand Protection services.
- Background in Linguistics and an MA in Translation from Surrey University, which got him his first job as a multilingual Trademark watcher and his consecutive career in IP.
- Has had the opportunity to work for top Brand Protection & IP services providers and as an in-house Brand Protection Manager for a global Law Firm.
- A Mental Health First Aider in the past which led to his involvement with mental health and his current training in counselling and psychotherapy.
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Melissa is Virtuoso Legal's cheerful receptionist. She looks after our phone calls and is the first point of contact for anyone giving our office a ring. Melissa loves connecting with our clients and makes sure our callers get through to the right member of staff.
- Melissa has over 10 years customer service and receptionist experience
- She's previously supported both small and large businesses (like Bank of America and easyJet)
- Outside of work, Melissa enjoys spending time with her two young children
Chris Thompson joined Virtuoso Legal in 2018 as the firm’s Finance Manager. Chris also assists the team in a range of other ways, in a broader general problem-solving capacity. Chris is beloved by the team for his “can do” attitude and positive outlook.
- Experienced background in printing for the legal sector, handling a range of confidential documents and collateral for law firms with a keen eye for detail.
- Currently undergoing an online degree in Computer Science at the OU.
- Over 6ft tall and currently training in Jiu Jitsu (a gentle giant, not to be messed with!)
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Martin Douglas Hendry
Digital Marketing Manager
Martin devises innovative communication and business development strategies to help businesses in need of IP expertise connect with Virtuoso Legal. He has an academic background in design, media production and psychology. Martin is also a qualified wine expert and tasting enthusiast.
- PhD from University of Leeds (2016), researching how smartphones have changed how people use photography
- Within 3 years at Virtuoso Legal rose to a management role within the firm
- Hobbyist conceptual photographer and long-distance runner
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Client Relationship Manager
Maria is Virtuoso Legal's client relationship manager, engaging with our clients on a day to day basis to make sure that they are looked after to the highest standard. Maria has worked in the legal profession for 39 years and is an associate member of The Institute of Trade Mark Attorney, with a raft of experience in trade mark formalities and maintenance working for large IP firms.
- In her spare time Maria is passionate about charity fund raising, supporting her local community and caring for her family.
- Strong track record in going above and beyond expectations for her clients.
- Powerful communicator with a host of experience working for small and large clients worldwide.
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