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We deliver the best recruitment news and advice to the Tax, Legal, Finance, HR and Marketing sectors, including market updates, CV tips, interview advice, and exclusive interviews.


Market Update from Pro-Group: Pat Keogh - Chairman January 2021

Hello, a quick update on the recruitment market from me, Pat Keogh, Chairman of the Pro-Recruitment Group. January 2021 We've been asked recently by a number of candidates "What's the state of the Market like?", and if you know us, we cover the Tax, Legal, Finance, Marketing & HR sectors. All five sectors are really strong, and we've been really pleased with the number of new vacancies registered by the organisations we work with. Surprisingly, 2020 was a very good year for a number of our clients, especially the professional services firms, law firms and accountancy firms. Even a lot of our Not-For-Profit sectors and tax commerce and industry surprisingly had a really good year. And that's been reflected by their levels of recruitment. We have a large number of vacancies we are looking to fill. It's really a character of the market, and that might be a surprise to a lot of people, but candidates and those now looking for new opportunities now have a really good choice of roles out there, clients are really keen to recruit and some have really aggressive growth plans. Many organisations are seeing this time as a good opportunity to grow their business and grow their headcount. If you are looking and considering moving, it's definitely worth exploring the market. Do call us, do explore our website and you will be really surprised to see the number of vacancies out there. Come and speak to us. We will give you good solid advice. We will always give you the best advice as to your career options. Ot's definitely a good market, so definitely give one of our team a call.


900km run for CALM charity

With the impact of the pandemic this year taking a huge toll on people’s mental wellbeing, myself and 8 others at Pro-Recruitment Group have decided to raise money for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) a small but growing charity, to support their campaigns, increase awareness, and offer our support. ​ Sadly, suicide rates have increased dramatically in both male and female in 2020, with Male suicide rate being at the highest for two decades. CALM is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. CALM runs a free and confidential helpline 0800 58 58 58 and webchat 7 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems, as well as help from other organisations.  CALM has experienced a record surge in demand for our helpline recently… 37% more daily calls in the first week of the Spring lockdown, to be precise. That’s why, during this second lockdown, myself, Rebecca English, Jennifer Nelson, Kevin Racher, Ashleigh Polakiewicz, Dominic Watt, Chris Davey, Tom Eagle and George Tatnell are aiming to run 100km each during a 30 day period to raise money and awareness for CALM, and hopefully improving our own mental wellbeing at the same time! With fundraising events being cancelled due to the pandemic, this charity needs our help more than ever - help fund CALM's life-saving helpline and webchat. Just £8 pays for a call that could turn someone’s life around. We understand that times are tough, however if you would like to donate, please visit our JustGiving funding page, where any donation is extremely appreciated. Stay tuned to socials for updates on our progress!               


Pat Keogh - Pro Group - October 2020 Update

Here is a quick update on the markets we cover from Pro-Recruitment Group's Managing Director, Pat Keogh. It's no surprise that all five of our markets, tax, legal, finance, marketing and HR slowed down earlier this year, but we were really encouraged when we brought everyone back fully in September, there were clear signs and green shoots across all five divisions. It was slightly stunted when we had to go back to a work-from-home strategy, but we are hoping that will lift soon. That said, all markets are still responding well. A lot of organisations are taking the opportunity to obnboard remotely. There are a few clients who are more gung-ho than others, and some a recruiting in serious numbers, which is pleasing to see. On the candidate side, unfortunately there are a lot who are now immediately available, through no fault of thier own, but due to current market conditions. There are plenty of skilled professionals who are immediately available, so its a great time to recruit if that is your strategy. We are producing a monthly market-tracker which will allow us to keep you informed of recruiting trends, covering professionals seeking new roles and opportunities available on the market. Do sign up to receive our newsletters. We haven't seen a single market without an increase, understandably it has been relatively flat market since March, but more recently we are seeing monthly increases in jobs being registered with us, which is very encouraging. The approach we have taken as a business is that we are looking to help kick-start the economy. Of course, whilst balancing the safety of our teams and those around us. We are currently working remotely, whilst allowing those who prefer to safely come into the office the opportunity to do so. This is paramount in us ensuring we are servicing all of our clients and candidates alike. I hope this gives you a bit of an insight into where the market is at. Feel free to pick up the phone to me directly, I am more than happy to share market intel and looking to share this information as regularly as we can. We are always here and our lines of communications are always here to help you with your reruitment needs. For now, stay safe and speak soon!


An Interview with Sarah Goulbourne, Co-Founder of gunnercooke

Sarah Goulbourne is an award-winning entrepreneur and co-founder and board member of the gunnercooke Group. gunnercooke is a challenger law firm. It challenges the way that legal services are delivered to clients. It challenges the way that lawyers balance their lives. It challenges the way our communities are served by those of us more fortunate. Sarah speaks with Tamara Salem, Managing Consultant at Pro-Legal about life at gunnercooke, the difference between gunnercooke and the traditional law firm and how she sees the legal market changing over the next few years. Tell me about yourself, how your career started and what you do at gunnercooke? I qualified as a solicitor and developed my career as an in-house lawyer becoming a General Counsel and Company Secretary of a FTSE 250. After completing an MBA I wanted a new challenge so I teamed up with Darryl Cooke to set up gunnercooke. I’m now on the board of gunnercooke supporting our strategy and promoting the firm. My particular interest is around recruiting new lawyers to join the firm and coaching our lawyers to develop their practices. What are the benefits and differences between gunnercooke and a traditional law firm? gunnercooke throws out the restrictive elements of a traditional law firm such as timesheets and targets, giving lawyers time to focus their attention on their clients. We offer partners the freedom and flexibility to run their own practice, set their own hours and choose who they work with. Partners retain most of the fees they earn, working as independent consultants with the support of our infrastructure and brand. We are also client centric in our approach to pricing; offering price certainty as much as possible. This approach ensures that our objectives are fully aligned with our clients, with no hidden costs or running clocks. How have you adapted to working through lockdown and through the changing landscape following COVID? Lockdown has been a challenging curveball for all of us. At gunnercooke we have always been set up to allow lawyers to work remotely, which has meant the transition has been relatively smooth compared to other businesses. However, home working can be lonely, so our focus has been on ensuring our communications are as strong as possible, that partners still feel supported and part of a team. We run a diverse programme of virtual sessions, which ranges from social ‘drinks’ and networking, to training on how to re-evaluate your business plan and even to wellbeing, such as how to remain resilient in challenging times. What kind of person does well at gunnercooke and what do you look for in potential joiners? At gunnercooke partners are given the autonomy to run their own practice so it’s essential they have ambition and a passion for what they do.  A typical gunnercooke partner is someone who has deep expertise in their field, and truly acts as a trusted advisor to their clients. At recruitment stage, we take time to understand the lawyer’s business plan – they must have a solid client following. We have an extensive range of services which support our lawyers, but essentially you must be a self-starter – you have to have the confidence to build your own practice, without the relative ‘comfort blanket’ of a salaried role. Alongside this, I think the people who get the best from our model are those who are very collaborative. It’s a misconception that this is model for siloed working; we operate a vibrant internal referral market and there is a huge opportunity to work with other lawyers on providing a brilliant service to their clients. How does gunnercooke differentiate themselves in the market compared to other alternative structures? Many law firms with an alternative business structure pride themselves on being a virtual law firm. But there is nothing virtual about the way we run our firm. Our role is to facilitate as many opportunities as possible for lawyers to collaborate, and we feel that the emphasis we place on this is unlike any other ‘fee share’ model. Culturally, we treat all of our lawyers as businesspeople, as such our training reflects helping them to adopt an entrepreneurial ‘growth mindset’. We set up a sister company Operating Partners, to provide high quality business growth advice to our clients and again this is a key differentiator. Whilst the pandemic has thrown us a challenge, our culture encourages flexible working, not just from home but also in our three offices and though networking events. Other firms can adopt the same fee share model, but it’s our culture that can’t be copied, we have an incredibly strong internal focus on vision and values. Feedback from our partners is that gunnercooke is unlike any firm they have ever been at before. We are very personal in our approach and look at the little things that create a big culture; personal cards, thoughtful gifts, ways to show we care about our people. How does the referral network within gunnercooke benefit the Partners in the wider business? Whilst our partners run their own practice, they are not working in siloes. As mentioned, the people who do best are those who collaborate. We encourage a culture of referrals through regular internal networking events, which give partners the opportunity to learn more about each other’s specialities. We have a fantastic rewards programme and partners receive a minimum of 10% of the fees generated through a referral. Last year over £5m of fees were cross referred between our lawyers and this is growing. How do you think the role of Partner has changed over the years? In the traditional model, the ‘Partner’ typically has a myriad of roles; management of the firm, developing people, committee member of all sorts of groups. The higher you climb, the less time you spend practising the law, and many of the lawyers I interview say that this is something they miss. A model like gunnercooke allows partners to get back to doing what they do best: offering quality legal advice to their clients. Our aim is to develop people that consider themselves businesspeople and not just lawyers. The modern partner is much more than management; they are businesspeople in their own right, and are flourishing in their field of expertise. How do you see the legal market changing in the coming years? The legal market has changed drastically since we launched gunnercooke ten years ago, and the next decade is set to be just as fast paced, not only due to the impact of Covid-19. I expect we will see more advancements in technology including virtual collaboration tools and AI. We are also seeing other types of professionals becoming part of the legal team, including technology or data experts, and consulting or finance. Finally, it’s likely there will be more mergers and fewer large firms as new market entrants drive innovation and challenge the traditional structure. What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation of legal face? Many sectors are facing years of recovery from the impact of Covid-19. Lawyers are having to adapt to the challenge of home working, whilst continuing to offer a quality service to clients who are in a period of crisis. For lawyers starting out in their career, it’s going to be more difficult to learn and develop virtually, without having access to senior colleagues. It’s important that firms invest time to make sure the next generation are getting the support they need, whether that be face-to-face or through virtual webinars and training.   What advice would you give to your younger self? Be open to new opportunities that come your way. Different experiences will add to your growth. Don’t be afraid to take some risks to get to where you want to be. Any final words of advice for people looking to progress their legal career? Work out which area of the legal sector you think you will enjoy the most and aim to move into that area as soon as you can. For more information on this article or to take part in our exclusive Interview series, contact Tamara Salem on 020 7269 6368 or


COVID-19: How it affected my maternity leave, my business and changed my focus!

With many returning to work in the office, and new patterns of working emerging across the employment landscape, the Director Team here at Pro-Recruitment Group are sharing their experiences and insights around the returning to work post COVID-19 Alison Humphries, Board Director, shares her experience of returning to the workplace after maternity leave, and rediscovering the unprecedented new ways of working. Alison: I am one of the owners of Pro-Recruitment, I have been in the business for 13 years and been in the working world for 20 years without ever really having time off. I went straight from education to work, even in my teen years I worked on weekends. Other than a 2-week holiday or a few extra days over the Christmas period I am admittedly a bit of a self-confessed workaholic! In October 2019 as I walked out of the office I was about to embark on a new journey through maternity leave…I was excited, I was nervous, I was scared. I was about to have a baby, my body, my heart and my head were about to be turned upside-down and on top of that I had to relinquish control of my business . To say this was going to be hard was an understatement, as i've been involved throughout the whole 'Pro-Journey', but after working with so many experienced consultants and developing and training a knowledgeable Management Team, I knew it was being left in good hands. Fast-forward to January 2020 I’d given birth to a beautiful little girl called Charlotte, everything was starting to get back to normal and I was feeling like my old self. Everything at work was going so well, I had been into the office and all of my teams were reporting success. As an owner of the business I was keen to know how the company was performing (that’s the workaholic in me), so I had committed to attend every Board Meeting from January onwards and I was so pleased that things were going so well. Maternity leave wasn’t so bad…I booked myself and my daughter onto swimming lessons, rhythm time, baby sensory…you name it we had signed up for it. It was important to me that Charlotte was sociable from day one and that I made some mummy friends in the local area. My focus slowly changed and allowed me to realign myself from the workaholic and enjoy being a mother. The Unthinkable  During the week we would stay at our flat in London and at the weekend, we would head to a place that we had recently bought in the Midlands as it was close to my family. On March the 15th I waved my other half off to work. Unexpectedly I got a call at midday, he was coming home that evening and working from home indefinitely. The UK was being hit hard by COVID-19, it wasn’t going away and businesses across the country were telling people to work from home. Luckily for us at Pro-Group, we already had the infrastructure in place for us to make that swift move without causing to much disruption to our day-to-day work. Pro-Recruitment made this decision on March 15th and then what was to follow was unthinkable. We went into lockdown on March 23rd. The range of emotions that followed included fear, anxiety and dread. I had brought a baby into the world and this was our generation's war. Were we going to survive, how serious was all of this if the world was now in lockdown. Pro-Group was impacted heavily, like everyone else in the UK, we were moved to reduce our team size, we had to think strategically, we had to act fast, we had no idea how long this was going to last and if we were even going to have a business at the end of this. I was being informed of decisions that were being made, furlough schemes that we were using and many other things that were impacting our business and we had no control over any of it. I wanted to be involved in calls, decisions, meetings that were loaded with information, but I also had a baby that was breastfeeding, teething and was struggling to sleep - finding this balance was challenging, but upon reflecting, it feels like an accomplishment to balance work and life as this extreme level. How could we make this a more positive experience? We had to make this a positive experience, it became apparent as places like Wuhan started to ease their lockdown that this wasn’t going to last forever, we would come out of the other side. I  took advantage of the time that we had as a new family of 3. My partner was there for every bath time and bedtime, he was there when we were having a bad day of crying just to ease things for me, even if it was only for half an hour so I could shower and have a cup of tea. We took advantage of the late summer evenings and beautiful weather; we have transformed our garden and I have become somewhat a pair of “green fingers”. We made time for each other and made every evening a time to cook, talk and enjoy dinner together. We became really close to our neighbours and would now consider them friends. All of these things would be interrupted ordinarily by work, travel and other outside factors. August came around, before I knew it I was thinking about heading back to work on 1st September. Our business had halved, I had relocated and life was so different. I had to put Charlotte into nursery and think of a back to work plan. Given the amount that I had been in touch with Pro-Group whilst I had been on maternity leave we started talking about my return fairly early on. I had a plan, a strategy and lots of time to think about how we could get out of the other side of this pandemic. Pro-Group had been excellent in considering my return to work I have come back to work 3 days a week and 1 day is working from home. I have the full support of my co-Directors and walking back into the office on Tuesday 1st September was daunting. It felt as if it was my first day at school again, I was nervous, had I forgotten how to do this? Turns out I haven’t thankfully, in fact I am even more focussed now than I have ever been. With only 3 days a week at work every minute counts. I have to be extremely productive on those days, I have time on the train to work and think of ways in which I can help my team, I am refreshed when I get to work and I feel like I have a new found energy and enthusiasm to help my company out of a slow market and back to winning ways. ​In Summary Maternity leave was completely interrupted by lockdown and COVID-19, but I tried to make the very best out of a very disruptive situation. I don’t feel like I have stood still for six months, the world hasn’t passed me by, I have had time to re-energise, re-focus and be in a better mindset coming out of this. Whilst it saddens me that the business I have helped to build for 13 years has changed dramatically, I have managed to better my personal life in a way I hadn’t imagined I would. In my opinion, flexible working and taking into account a good work-life balance and a happy home life is the most important thing in the world and allows you to be at your best when you leave your house in the morning ready to face whatever the world throws at you. For advice and information about returning to work after maternity leave, or for a more detailed discussion with Alison about her experience, email or call on 020 7269 6312


How is the Coronavirus Affecting the Legal Market?

Fears around the spreading coronavirus have affected the world of law, and the impact of the virus on businesses has been mounting in recent weeks. The coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, has now spread to over 77 countries and territories with over 92,000 cases confirmed, and more law firms are taking precautions to protect their employees and clients from contracting and spreading the virus. The outbreak of the coronavirus has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation. Globally, companies are being impacted by the virus outbreak, as a result of both the labour market and their supply chain. According to Sky News, global stock markets had their worst week since 2008 amidst fears of coronavirus, with losses accelerating last Friday afternoon. Many are concerned that the COVID-19 will have a financial crisis-level impact on the global economy. Investment strategist Norihiro Fujito has said “The coronavirus now looks like a pandemic. Markets can cope even if there is a big risk as long as we can see the end of the tunnel. But at the moment, no one can tell how long this will last and how severe it will get.”  The world’s second-highest grossing firm Latham & Watkins has called off its annual global partnership meeting in New York, citing safety concerns and fears about the virus as the reason behind the cancellation. The annual conference was due to take place this week and bring together over 750 Equity and Income Partners from its 30 global offices. The firm’s Chair Rich Trobman stated last Friday 28th February, that the firm had made the decision to cancel the partner meeting “with the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and clients foremost in mind”. Simmons & Simmons have now become the latest firm to postpone their Partner conference as the virus spreads across Europe, which was due to take place today, 5th March, in Monaco over two days. This is the same for Linklaters, who has suspended its Partner conference which was due to be held in Berlin on 24th April. Last week Baker McKenzie closed their 1,000-employee London office as a ‘precautionary measure’ in response to a potential coronavirus case, and staff were told to work from home. However, earlier this week on the 2nd March, Baker McKenzie re-opened its London office after the employee taken ill with suspected symptoms tested negative for COVID-19. A spokesperson for the firm said, “Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and our clients, and we took these pre-emptive measures out of an abundance of caution”. Given the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, it is clear that firms in the legal market are taking precautions. Dentons has temporarily closed its office in Wuhan where the virus was first contracted, Shearman & Sterling has imposed a travel ban for China and Hong Kong and put in place remote working measures, and Dorsey & Whitney has encouraged staff in its offices in Beijing, Shangai and Hong Kong to work remotely. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has cancelled its Partner retreat in San Antonio due to coronavirus concerns, and Baker Botts and Norton Rose Fulbright are excluding those based in Asia from their Partner meetings. As well as monitoring international travel, firms - particularly international firms based in China and the surrounding areas - are taking other precautionary steps such as paying for taxis for employees to avoid travelling on public transport, introducing hand sanitizing stations, improving cleaning efforts and providing masks for those who want them.  Aside from measures being taken on ground level, law firms will also need to consider relevant contractual provisions and risk management strategies which are likely to come into fruition in the wake of the coronavirus. Global teams will find themselves actively advising on these issues across various jurisdictions, and the looming business disruptions as a result of the outbreak must not be underestimated given the pivotal role of China in the global economy. For more information on this article, please contact Aaron Burton on 020 7269 6350 or


What are the Biggest Challenges Facing the Legal Industry? The Thoughts of 3 Leading Figures in the Sector

Like clockwork, 2020 has given rise to a fresh wave of legal issues and changes which are reshaping the legal market. We asked 3 Legal Partners and Directors - Carla Roberts, Michael Ruck and Andrew Pannell - what they thought were the biggest challenges facing the legal industry. Hugely successful in their fields and influential figures in their respective firms, their insights shine light on the challenges facing the profession, and they advise on ways in which the industry should be moving forward.  This year, we can predict more economic and political stability related to Brexit, but technological developments and advancements in artificial intelligence, innovative new ideas, and changes to the ways lawyers work will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the legal sector.  Carla Roberts is the Director of Legal Services at WTT Legal Ltd. Carla is a dual qualified lawyer (US/UK) and has extensive experience in employment law, IR35 advice, commercial contracts, data protection and insurance law issues. Prior to joining WTT, Carla was Senior Legal Counsel at Alexander Mann Solutions Ltd., Head of Legal at Gattaca PLC and Compliance Manager at Capita Group PLC. We spoke to Carla in her 60 Second interview about working for WTT, influences on her career, and some of the most major challenges facing the legal profession: “The legal profession and its regulators have accepted that innovation and an entrepreneurial approach are essential for law firms to thrive in the future- the ABS model has allowed law firms to bring in non-lawyers and I think that this more open-minded approach will enhance the profession.  To remain at the forefront of progress and innovation in the legal market, you need to be able to take risk - you need to grasp new ideas and go for it. Otherwise, you simply get left behind as there is someone else who is willing to capitalise on a new idea! Flexible working IS the way of the future and all law firms will need to adapt to remote working- it brings lots of benefits. The legal profession is very traditional and is probably one of the last to embrace this model, but it is happening.” Michael Ruck is a Partner in TLT's Financial Services team in London, and is a highly experienced Investigations Lawyer with a demonstrated history of working in the law practice industry. He previously spent four and a half years at Pinsent Masons in the Corporate Crime, Investigations and Enforcement team, and before that spent almost six years working in the FCA's Enforcement and Market Oversight Division. We asked Michael in his interview about what TLT does well, the right time to start building your network, and the challenges facing the sector: “While legislation and case law will continue to evolve, many of the major changes likely to impact the legal profession in the future are technological and cultural.  The evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and how this can be used will impact numerous aspects of the profession, with firms seeking to utilise and engage with such technological advances to benefit clients. For example, TLT has partnered with a US AI company to launch our product TLT LegalSifter for clients. It completes a contract review in a minute or two, increasing the speed, quality and value of day-to-day contract reviews for businesses and freeing up in-house legal teams to work on more rewarding and value-added tasks. We will also hopefully continue to see an increasingly diverse profession at all levels, bringing new ideas and approaches to how legal advice and support can be provided in the future. The main thing is to never stop learning and never stand still. The industry is changing every day as new technologies make new ways of working and servicing clients possible. Lawyers should engage with their firm's transformation programme – like the Future Law initiative at TLT, which encourages everyone to share their ideas for new solutions to client challenges and is supported by a £500k investment fund – and never be afraid to put their ideas forward.” Andrew Pannell is a Partner at MJ Hudson, where he joined as a Lawyer within the Venture Capital Practice in 2017. He has extensive experience advising venture capital, private equity and corporate clients on venture and growth capital transactions. Before joining MJ Hudson he worked at international law firms, including Mayer Brown as Counsel in Singapore and Senior Associate in Vietnam. Andrew spoke to Pro-Legal about working for MJ Hudson, the qualities he looks for in potential employees, and what changes he thinks will impact law firms in the future: “There has been a clear trend (which I suspect will continue) of law firms adopting an expansionist strategy (whether that be through merger or organic growth) to turn themselves into full service, global players or, at the other end of the spectrum, keeping themselves more boutique and focused on what they excel at. I think there is a place for both strategies in the market, however, for those firms who occupy the space somewhere in the middle, this may prove challenging unless they have a clear identity, value-add that they can market to clients.  At MJ Hudson, we are clearly positioned at the boutique/focused end of the spectrum, albeit with ambitious growth plans, which is an exciting place to be. As a profession, we have probably been a bit slow in embracing technology within law and there is no doubt that we need to do more to adapt to the developments in technology that will undoubtedly have (and is already having) a significant impact on the legal market and how our services are provided to clients.   Within the venture sector, a number of our VC clients are interested in, and already investing in, businesses with a focus on AI in law so there is no doubt that technology is going to play a significant role in future innovation in the legal market – one therefore for us all to embrace and see as an opportunity (not a threat).” It is clear that technology and automation will continue to have a huge impact on the legal sector, reiterated by leading names in the profession. Going forward into 2020, we will inevitably see even more investments in technology and AI, which means more automating processes. The so-called "digital revolution" and its new technologies are revolutionizing the world of work and in turn, disrupting professional services. Organisations are being forced to evolve to avoid being negatively impacted by advancements in technology, and law firms need to ensure they are constantly adapting, investing in technology, and transforming their processes in order to thrive. This also means that it is even more important for legal professionals to ensure that their soft skills and technical skills are up to scratch. Aside from technological developments which are impacting the legal sector, law firms also need to ensure they adopt innovative and entrepreneurial approaches, change their ways of working with flexible working options and remote working, and work towards embracing change and taking risks. For more information on this article, please contact Tamara Salem on 020 7269 6368 or


February 2020: Legal Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the legal sector. Here are the key movements in February 2020: DLA Piper Partner Clive Jones is moving back to Greenberg Traurig after 18 months, where he had recently joined, advising on direct and indirect tax. The move initially had him re-unite with several former colleagues from King & Wood Mallesons, however, he will take over 25 years of experience back to Greenberg. Latham & Watkins are just one of many US firms who have bolstered their offering with the addition of a Partner from a Magic Circle firm. Freshfields lose their Corporate Partner Samuel Newhouse as we see another departure from a Magic Circle to a rival US firm in London. This is a significant loss as his entire career from Trainee through to Partner was served at Freshfields. Linklaters’ former Global Head of Tax has joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. This is a large step towards strengthening the London office as Yash Rupal becomes the first and only Tax Partner in the UK and is the first Partner hire from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in more than a year. Mayer Brown recently announced that they had bolstered their Banking & Finance practice in London with the addition of two Projects Lawyers from the US firm, White & Case. Kirsti Massie and Meredith Campanale demonstrated the US firm had clear intentions of expansion and displayed their strong capability in obtaining high-quality lawyers.   For more information about this article, or to speak to Greeshma Rajeev about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her 020 7269 5103 or Back to Legal Movers & Shakers Archive >>


BSB Releases Diversity at the Bar 2019 Report

The Bar Standards Board's (BSB) 2019 report on the ethnicity, gender and social background of barristers was released this month. This report shows that the Bar continues to be less diverse than the UK as a whole with figures revealing that a third of barristers are still privately educated, and there is more to be done to improve diversity at the Bar. This report summarising the latest available diversity data for the Bar in England and Wales was published this month, as a way to assist the Bar Standards Board (BSB) in meeting statutory duties under the Equality Act 2010 and developing relevant and targeted policies.  There are many benefits to greater judicial diversity. Dr. Miranda Brawn, who set up The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation which helps to empower the next generation of leaders across all diversity strands and sectors including the legal sector and the Bar in the UK, argues that "diversity within the judiciary is fundamental to a truly democratic and legitimate legal system". The more accessible the Bar is, the better it can represent the society it serves and the BSB has a statutory responsibility to monitor and promote diversity and inclusion both as an employer and a regulator. The available data collected from records in December 2019, published in January 2020, suggests that over half of British-educated QCs attended a fee-paying school. Only around 7% of the population of England and Wales attend independent school between the ages of 11-18, making the 34.3% of privately educated barristers at the Bar a "disproportionate amount", as stated by the BSB.  Approximately 14.4% of working age adults in England and Wales are from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background. The percentage of BAME barristers increased by 0.6% since December 2018 to 13.6%, which is the biggest year on year increase seen since the Diversity at the Bar Report began in 2015. However, this is mainly due to the fact that Asian and minority ethnicities are well-represented, whereas stastically speaking, there are fewer black barristers than their population share warrants.  2019 not only marked the 125th anniversary of the Bar Council, but also 100 years since women could become lawyers for the first time with the passing of the Sex Disqualification Removal Act. This year there was a greater proportion of female pupils at the Bar in comparison to male pupils (54.8% vs. 45.2%). However, when looking at gender equality within the barrister and QC levels at the Bar, the percentage of women increased by 0.6% bringing the total of female barristers up to 38% compared to an estiamate of 50.2% of the UK working age population, and the number of female QCs or silks rose this year by 0.4% up to 16.2%. This year's report also revealed an underrepresentation of disabled practitioners at the Bar. Only 6% of barristers disclosed having a disability which is substantially lower than the number of disabled adults of working-age in the UK, which is 13.4%. Overall, the available data and responses from 2019 shows that there has been a steady improvement in diversity at the Bar which is positive. However, when we look at the 17,367 members of the Bar in the UK, the upper levels of the legal profession - barristers and QCs - tend to be dominated by white, British males. Amit Popat, the BSB's Head of Equality and Access to Justice said that "one of the BSB's key strategic aims is to encourage a more diverse legal profession, and these annual diversity reports provide a strong evidence base so that action can be taken." While this data shows a slow and gradual improvement to diversity at the Bar, a similar trend to that of previous years, there is certainly more that needs to be done to make the Bar more diverse and inclusive to completely reflect the society it serves, and this report will hopefully be a step in the right direction.   For more information on this article, please contact Aaron Burton on 020 7269 6350 or


January 2020: Legal Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the legal sector. Here are the key movements in January 2020: Hogan Lovells has announced that Raj Panasar will be joining the firm as a Capital Markets Partner in the Corporate Practice team in the London office. He will be joining from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP on 1 January 2020. DLA Piper has hired Bob Maynard and Caroline Pope as Partners in its litigation and regulatory practice in London. Shoosmiths has welcomed Paul Alger and Choisanne Man as Partners in its Real Estate team in London. Stephenson Harwood has added three new Partners to its London-based Private Equity team: Malcolm MacDougall, Adam Crossley and Richard Coleman join the firm from Charles Russell Speechlys. Finance lawyer, Don Brown has joined Stephenson Harwood’s London office as a Partner. Six lawyers have recently been promoted to Partner at Veale Wasbrough Vizards. In the London office Bob Fahy (employment) has been made up to Partner. Gowling WLG has announced that Andy Stylianou will become the UK LLP’s new Chair - effective from May 2020. The appointment follows the decision of the firm’s current chair, Andrew Witts, to return to his fraud and asset recovery practice full-time in spring 2020. Schillings has expanded its Cyber and Information Security team with the appointment of Peter Yapp, who joins the firm as Partner to lead the Cyber team. Capsticks has announced that Martin Hamilton has been reappointed as the firm’s Managing Partner for a further term through to April 2023. There have been two judicial appointments at Herbert Smith Freehills in London. Disputes Partner Tom Leech QC has been appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge . Meanwhile, Senior Associate Graeme Robertson has been appointed Recorder (Deputy Circuit Judge). Baker McKenzie has re-appointed Alex Chadwick as London Managing Partner. Baker McKenzie has announced the hire of Private Equity Partner Justin Hutchinson. He will join the firm’s Private Equity team in London, at the start of 2020, from Kirkland & Ellis. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has promoted 15 Attorneys to Partners, effective 1 January 2020. Weil Gotshal & Manges has announced that Neil Devaney is joining the firm as a Partner in its Business Finance & Restructuring practice in London. Duane Morris LLP has announced that Samuel J Pearse has joined as a Partner in the firm’s Corporate Practice Group in the firm’s London office. Edwin Coe has appointed Sean Bannister as Head of Tax. Trowers & Hamlins and Manucci Advogados have launched a new initiative to support cross-border investment and trade between Brazil and the UK. Mazars has appointed Frank Strachan as a Partner and Head of Tax Investigations. Shoosmiths has appointed Thomas Morrison to its Financial Services team. Reynolds Porter Chamberlain has appointed Ben Denison as Director of Information Technology with effect from 6 January 2020. Veale Wasbrough Vizards has announced a number of promotions. In the firm’s London office Dominic Speedie (commercial litigation) and Joanna Goddard (regulatory & compliance) have been promoted to Senior Associates. Kingsley Napley has announced that Alison Riley will be joining the firm’s International Crime team as Legal Counsel in January 2020. Charlotte Duly has joined Charles Russell Speechlys’ Intellectual Property Group as Head of Brand Protection. Taylor Rose TTKW has promoted Senior Conveyancer Liz Lennox as Head of Residential Conveyancing in Peterborough. Sacker & Partners has announced the appointment of Angela Stafford as Associate in its know-how team. James Wood has joined Stewarts Law as a Legal Director within the Personal Injury team. He joins from Aspire Law. Marriott Harrison LLP has welcomed solicitor Rima Mehay to the firm’s Employment team. OGR Stock Denton has expanded its family law practice with the appointment of solicitor Holly Covington. Eversheds Sutherland has welcomed Partner Simon Lightman to its Technology practice. Pinsent Masons has appointed Andrew Sackey as a Contentious Tax Partner in its London office. Ashurst has announced the appointment of Anna-Marie Slot as the firm’s first Global Sustainability Partner. Allen & Overy’s Andrew Ballheimer is to step down as Global Managing Partner at the end of his current term on 30 April 2020 and retire from the firm. For more information about this article, or to speak to Alex Barrett about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 020 7269 6342 or Back to Legal Movers & Shakers Archive >>


Lawyers Rank Top for Service Satisfaction in Legal Needs Survey

Lawyers in England and Wales ranked highest for service satisfaction in the largest ever legal needs survey conducted by the Legal Services Board and Law Society. The survey revealed a glowing endorsement of the quality of service provided by solicitors, but also showed gaps in access to justice which need to be addressed.  The survey of the Legal Needs of Individuals in England and Wales - the largest of its kind - reveals the advantages of the public understanding the legal landscape and seeking professional legal advice. Based on data collected by YouGov online between February and March 2019 from 28,663 people, the survey covered 34 different legal issues and is the first study to use OECD guidance on how to develop legal needs surveys, profiling the population by income and decision-making capabilities.  Six in ten adults (64%) experienced a legal problem in the last four years, including 53% who faced a contentious problem. Most common were issues with a defective service or professional (26%), anti-social behaviour by neighbours (14%), buying or selling a property (11%), making or changing a will (11%), and employment-related issues (11%). Solicitors ranked highest for service satisfaction - 90% of people were satisfied with the service they had received from a solicitor (compared to 74% from unregulated providers) and 84% thought that their solicitor provided value for money. Respondents of the survey were most likely to choose a solicitor as their main adviser - 30% rising to 40% for a contentious issue - and doctors, advisers in the not-for-profit sector, law centres and Citizens Advice Bureau made up 32% of all main advisers.  Despite the endorsement for solicitors, the legal needs survey also reveals significant gaps in access to justice. Legal issues can have a serious negative impact on people's lives, and the survey found that nearly one in three people faced with a contentious issue either didn't seek professional legal help, wanted help but couldn't get any, or had to wait more than two years for a resolution. On top of this, of the two-thirds who did receive help, only 55% was from professional services and 11% from friends and family.   Low levels of legal confidence (and income), less understanding of their legal rights, and low perceptions that justice is accessible were the main reasons people were less likely to seek legal professional help. This includes the perception it would be too expensive, thinking it would make no difference, not knowing where or how to get advice, and believing it would be too difficult to get professional help for contentious issues. The survey also revealed demographic discrepancies when assessing whether people would seek professional legal help. Older people were most likely to seek the help of a solicitor and 45% of those aged 65+ would obtain advice from just one provider, whereas people aged 18-29 tend to shop around and find information on 4+ providers. The Legal Services Board has said that it will act upon this fresh evidence of an 'access to justice gap' to pursue its deregulatory agenda. The LSB Chair Dr Helen Phillips said: "This survey reveals a significant access to justice gap. For a variety of reasons people do not always seek legal advice - it's vital that we remove barriers that prevent people from accessing help. This includes building legal capability and encouraging people to shop around for services. When people understand their legal rights and responsibilities, it makes a real difference to their confidence and their ability to access justice." Simon Davis, President of the Law Society of England and Wales echoes this sentiment, saying that this survey "brings home the need to build better public understanding of legal issues and clear, accessible pathways to get professional legal advice. Our future justice system should be one that prioritises public legal education so people understand their rights, legal issues and how to access justice". People often need the help of legal services at the most important and often vulnerable times. Whether they're seeking redress from a poor service, buying or selling property, or a victim of crime, everyone should be in a position where they know their legal rights and are able to access professional support if they need it. The gaps revealed by this extensive survey will hopefully assist the government and legal service providers in understanding and serving the legal needs of the people in England and Wales.   For more information on this article, or to speak to us about hiring the right legal professional for your organisation, contact Alex Barrett on 020 7269 6367 or


Legal - What's in Store for 2020?

2019 was an interesting year for the legal market. Despite constant political uncertainty, signs of weakness in global economies, and Brexit continuing to loom over us, the legal market has remained buoyant and shows no sign of letting up. Over the past year here at Pro-Legal, we have seen a number of firms ranging from White Shoe US firms, Magic Circle through to boutique firms continue to recruit, not only to replace, but also impressive increases in new work and fulfilling ambitious growth plans. We expect that 2020 will prove to be no different, and changes in regulation and technology are likely to reshape the market as we move forward into the next decade.   Going forward into 2020, due to the outcome of the election we can predict more stability around the subject on the basis that Brexit will be going ahead. The political and economic uncertainty from the past few years inevitably caused firms to be more cautious in their outlook and planning, but with the end in sight, we expect to see law firms driving forwards in the next year. We are also likely to see investors starting to invest at a higher rate. There was inevitably a hold on stock investments into the UK for a period, but now people are looking at how to best spread their money and in turn, are seeking legal advice on the best route to invest and to deal with any obstacles. Firms are also likely to see Brexit as an opportunity and we predict that there will be plenty of activity in the market fuelled by private equity money, particularly in the region of mid-market entrepreneurial businesses.  Technology and automation will continue to have a huge impact on the legal sector. Going forward into 2020, we will inevitably see even more investments in technology and AI, which means more automating processes. The so-called "digital revolution" and its new technologies are revolutionizing the world of work and in turn, disrupting professional services. Organisations are being forced to evolve to avoid being negatively impacted by advancements in technology, and law firms need to ensure they are constantly adapting, investing in technology, and transforming their processes in order to thrive. This also means that it is even more important for legal professionals to ensure that their soft skills and technical skills are up to scratch. Alongside Brexit and advancements in technology, law firms should also consider the growing cyber risks in 2020. Law firms typically hold a lot of valuable data and so is a concern that firms should be working to actively prevent cyber attacks and data breaches on a regular basis, particularly when considering the recent tightening of GDPR rules and regulations. The pressure on profits is forcing organisations and firms to drive profitable growth in new ways. Mergers & acquisitions with firms based outside of the UK are becoming an increasingly common way to boost profit and growth in the international market. This form of business requires a great deal of legal attention to ensure everything is done exactly right, and is an industry that is expected to generate five billion. It is therefore essential that law firms are ready to take advantage and provide innovative solutions to these M&A processes. Despite uncertainty in 2019, the majority of firms have still reported growth - both profit and revenue - and going forward into 2020 we expect a period of growth as many of the aforementioned UK and global factors take effect. Our clients have indicated that with renewed budgets in January they are keen to continue hiring experienced talent into their growing teams. If you would like a confidential discussion about the market and your options moving forward, please do get in touch as one of our expert advisors can offer you a fantastic insight into what might be available to you.    There is certainly a lot ahead of us for 2020 and in the legal market; here’s to a new year and many new and exciting beginnings. For more information on this article, or to discuss your recruiting needs for 2020, please contact Greeshma Rajeev on 020 7269 5103 or



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