Spotlight on our solicitors – meet Samantha Lenox

Spotlight on our solicitors – meet Samantha Lenox

Our Spotlight on our solicitors series allows us to shine a light on the talent of our legal professionals. With these interviews, we get to learn more about the people behind the expert legal advice. In this edition, we caught up with Head of Employee Incentives, Samantha Lenox. Samantha is the latest member of our Employee Incentives team, having joined the Harper James team in October 2023.

'My legal career began when I accepted a training contract with Simmons & Simmons.’ says Samantha. ‘During that time, I had seats within the employment, corporate, property, and private client departments. I’ve always been interested in a career within the legal industry because of its relevance to people and their everyday lives. The legal industry is such an interesting landscape to work in. The goal posts are always shifting; there is always something new happening.’

‘Once qualified, I went onto work at K&L Gates in their private client department. The team also worked on employee incentives arrangements, so this was my first taste of incentives work. I enjoyed incentives work as it provided an opportunity to work alongside our clients’ c-suite members and that was very exciting to do early on in my career. I also enjoyed incentives work because it’s about how you reward and incentivise people in your business.’

‘The legal industry can be a tough world. As a trainee or even as a junior solicitor, there’s a lot expected of you.’ Samantha explains. ‘There was plenty of interesting work to get stuck into, but this was at the expense of working long hours to deliver the work. But a lot has changed since then! Law firms are slowly adopting flexibility, and this was in part why I chose Harper James. The flexibility and work-life balance we have to offer is unmatched.’

What are your main areas of employee incentives expertise? Do you cover any niche areas?

‘Aside from designing, implementing, and helping clients manage UK-based employee share arrangements, I also specialise in cross-border incentives for businesses with global mobility programmes and global share plans. I have a particular interest in advising US taxpayers working in the UK and UK taxpayers working for US businesses on their incentive arrangements. I also advise management teams on the tax implications for their equity on transactions including sales to PE’

Can you recall any key moments of your career so far? 

‘The first EOT I worked on from start to finish about four years ago is a key highlight. Working very closely with the business owners through a huge milestone for them is always rewarding. It’s a privilege to work with clients who have built their businesses and legacies from the ground up, helping guide them as they step away from the helm.’ says Samantha. ‘Working on the fundamentals is good, but the human element of communicating and guiding clients through the process step-by-step is always the greatest reward.’

What do you think your clients value most about the way you work with them?

‘For me, it’s about being commercial and practical as well as technical.’ Samantha says. ‘I always try to put myself in my clients' shoes, and this helps me to provide them with the best advice in a clear and digestible manner. I’m also not afraid to offer my own recommendations as clients need a full view of the matter and need to understand both the benefits and risks of their situation.’

Do you have any hobbies? What do you do unwind? 

‘I love fashion. Before turning to law, I wanted to be a fashion journalist,’ Samantha says. ‘And whenever I’m not at work, I really enjoy travelling. I’m trying to work my way towards a goal of visiting fifty countries and I’m at forty-two so far! I really enjoy visiting new places and experiencing new cultures.’

‘I’m also a longstanding Arsenal fan, and I’ve recently brought my daughter in as a fan too, so we’ve started to see the women’s football at the Emirates Stadium. Aside from football, I play tennis at the local tennis club,’ Samantha is a mum to two teenagers. ‘My children are very active, so a lot of time revolves around what they enjoy!’

‘My best piece of advice to businesses is seek out the legal advice you can afford from the outset. Time and time again in my work, I see problems arising on transactions because good legal advice wasn’t sought from the beginning. Don’t cut corners, make sure you get high quality advice as this will save you both time and money!’

‘I think employee ownership as a whole is becoming a huge trend. On average, one business transaction converts into an employee ownership trust every day. There’s been a lot of government support for it over the last few years and in my experience, business owners are starting to realise that employee ownership benefits both them and their employees. We’re in the decade of employee ownership!’

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