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What to Expect from Different Types of Law Firm

Choosing the law firm that’s right for you can be a daunting task. There are positives to every type of law firm and your decision will ultimately come down to what you are looking for in your future career as a lawyer. According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, as of last year there were nearly 10,500 law firms in the UK, all offering a unique and varied experience in terms of what to expect from your legal career. Here at Pro-Legal, we have outlined the main points to consider when choosing which type of law firm is best suited to you as an individual, from top Magic Circle and US firms right down to smaller boutique law firms. Magic Circle firms If you are looking to relocate to do banking, finance, corporate and international work, London’s Magic Circle is the place to be! For the past 15 years the ‘Magic Circle’ has consisted of a distinct group of five - Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Slaughter and May - and all are top of the list for revenue and partner profits, offer a broad scope of work (both national and international) and excellent training and development programmes in a fast-paced environment. Of course, there are pros and cons, but training and working at one of these top UK firms is highly desirable to many solicitors. Silver Circle firms London’s large commercial firms - otherwise known as those in the ‘Silver Circle’ - are not hugely different from the Magic Circle in terms of specialisms, work, hours and progression, but they fall just below them in terms of turnover. Silver Circle firms include Ashurst, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Herbert Smith Freehills and Macfarlanes, and all of these firms post significantly higher profit per equity partner and revenue per lawyer than the rest of the UK’s legal market. US firms US firms based in the UK can offer excellent salaries, hands-on experience early on in your career, and access to the US market. American firms based in London include Kirkland & Ellis, Skadden and Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and these firms are generally characterised by the finance and corporate international work that is involved. However, US firms also come with their own unique culture, which often means longer working hours and the added pressures that come with fewer associates, billable targets and a higher salary. Mid-sized commercial firms These firms often enjoy similar profitability to those bigger London firms. You will find these mid-sized firms work primarily in business law and focus less on international work than, say, Magic Circle firms. These mid-sized commercial firms, including Addleshaw Goddard, Simmons & Simmons and Mishcon de Reya, offer a high degree of client contact and a much more intimate atmosphere than large law firms, and present fantastic opportunities for newly-qualified and trainee associates to gain exposure and work directly with well-established Partners. Smaller commercial firms London’s smaller commercial firms could be the right place for you if you are looking to relocate for better hours or are interested in real estate law. There are many of these firms throughout London, including Wedlake Bell, Memery Crystal and Russell-Cooke, but you may need to be willing to take a pay cut if you are moving from a larger London firm. Most of these smaller commercial firms are full-service law firms focusing on a broad range of practices, although some have built up a reputation within certain industries to specialise in one or two practice areas. Niche firms If you are looking to specialise in once niche practice area, there are also many law firms throughout the UK that can offer this. There are firms which specialise in areas including media, energy, insurance and intellectual property, and if you have experience in a certain industry a firm like this could be the best place for you. Some of the best niche firms in the UK include Vinson & Elkins (US), Clyde & Co and Bristows. Regional firms If you are looking for opportunities outside of London or have ties to a specific region within the UK and want to develop your legal career in that area, there are some fantastic regional firms including Burges Salmon, DAC Beachcroft and Ashfords, that could be right for you. Ranging from small offices to vast operations within their own right, regional firms don’t all fit the same mould, but they all offer a fantastic chance to venture beyond the capital. Although salaries across the board tend to be lower at regional firms in comparison to large London firms, living costs outside of London are also significantly cheaper. These firms are based around the UK and tend to focus on the needs of top regional clients, offering you the chance to become an important part of your local business community. National/multi-site firms Whether you want to work in London or outside the capital, you may choose to join a firm which has a strong UK-wide market recognition and presence in several major UK cities. National and multi-site firms perform large-ticket work and have massive operations based outside of London - for example, Eversheds Sutherland has nine branch offices across the UK and many more overseas. In this kind of firm, you will focus on more Commercial, Real Estate, Private Client and General Banking, and these national firms also offer a high degree of mobility and the chance to move across the country with the same firm. Small firms Solicitors choose to relocate to smaller, boutique law firms for various reasons. Although the work at these firms can be incredibly rewarding and involve daily client contact and a wide variety of cases, the salary at these small firms is typically the lowest. But, if your motivation behind practising law is to see how your work is affecting and helping individuals and the community in which you are practising in, and if you are looking for a very good work-life balance, relocating to a small law firm may be the right choice for you. For more information on this article, or to speak to our specialist legal recruiters about the next step in your legal career and which type of law firm is right for you, contact Henry on 020 7269 6342 or


UK vs. US Law Firms: The Big Debate

Each law firm, whether UK or US, has its own culture and way of working, and each individual firm comes with its pros and cons. However, there are general differences that you should consider when deciding whether to move from a UK to a US firm and vice versa. As an associate, your decision will ultimately come down to what type of person you are and what is important to you in your long-term legal career. Choosing your career path and deciding between a top UK or US law firm can seem daunting - our expert legal recruiters have put together some key information to help you make an informed decision. Salary Associates in US law firms have historically been paid much more than their counterparts in UK firms. The decision by New-York based Cravath Swaine & Moore to increase its first-year associate base salary to around £145k has been a ‘game-changer’, with White Shoe law firms increasingly paying ‘Cravath scale’ salaries as it has now become known in the market. In reality, no UK firm will ever be able to match the salaries offered by US firms and large UK law firms have done well to resist major NQ salary rises for this long, which has been primarily achieved by offering work-life balance and perks as opposed to simply cold cash. However, recent months have seen Freshfields followed by the other four Magic Circle law firms, as well as some Silver Circle firms, increase their salary for NQ lawyers to around £100k. So, while it is widely recognised that US law firms do pay more than their UK counterparts, the current UK legal market is also seeing considerable movement in terms of remuneration and benefits packages. Breadth of work If you want a role in an area that isn’t big-ticket transactional or mainstream litigation, you are looking in the wrong place with a US firm as there are some areas that US firms don’t tend to take as serious parts of practice. If you are looking to work in a relatively niche practice area, such as employment or intellectual property or private client, you are most likely to find a varied role that suits you within a UK law firm. However, for those lawyers who want to work on multi-million or billion-dollar/pound deals, US firms can provide this exposure which cannot be matched by most large UK law firms. Degree of responsibility To a degree, US firms can offer a greater degree of responsibility at an earlier stage in your career. This is partly because US firms tend to have a linear structure to their teams - instead of six associates as you may find in a UK firm, there may be only two or three. While it is important to mention that this is becoming less true of some firms, including Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins, this is the case for a significant number of US law firms. Due to the leaner structure of teams, you may find you have a greater degree of responsibility early on, which can be invaluable and an excellent catalyst for progressing your legal career. Progression Many people have the idea that US firms will push them up the ladder quicker. While this may be true in terms of initial responsibility and remuneration, it is also important to remember that as you move towards the senior end of your career where there is a huge demand placed on those aiming for Partnership, this ease of progression can skew in the other direction - potential Partners at US firms are expected to bring in more business than a UK centred firm. However, it is also true that fewer associates mean less competition for Partnership, a benefit of the structure of US law firms. In reality, the path to Partnership is tough at every firm, both UK and US, and depends heavily on your practice area and your individual team. Training and development While this very much depends on the firm, the team and the Partner, UK firms are ahead of most US firms when it comes to training for associates and have more resources available for development - associates at US law firms are not exposed to the same depth of training materials and advice as in large UK firms. US firms tend to focus on fee-earning and building a practice as many have been in London for a short period of time, whereas large UK firms have placed emphasis on training and development for decades, partly due to a larger number of Partners in UK law firms who can spend more time on associate development. However, US firms are self-aware in this regard and are making attempts to redress the imbalance. It seems that recently some of the more established US law firms in the London market are making roads to bridge this development gap and are placing more importance on associate training and development. Work-life balance Is it a generally agreed-upon view that UK law firms offer a better work-life balance. Typically you will work longer hours in US firms, most of whom expect a minimum of 2000 hours billed per year. In the practice areas typically covered by US firms, including corporate, banking and private equity, you will find yourself working longer hours which is due in part to the fewer number of associates per team. While, of course, it does depend on the individual firm, top-end UK city firms tend to offer employees better working hours and work-life balance. International opportunities and access to the US market Bigger deals tend to be in the US legal market, New-York in particular. New York is the largest financial and legal centre in the world, and therefore the value and profile of work that top US firms are able to attract can surpass what large UK firms are often doing in London and elsewhere in Europe. If you are looking for access to premium deals or international cross-border work, or even opportunities for international secondments in the States, working at a US firm might be the right choice for you. Office priority and power base One final thing to consider about working in a smaller London office of a big US firm is the office’s power base. Working for a US firm, you would need to be aware of how loud a voice the UK has in the wider firm as a whole entity. It is important to understand that the firm’s strategy will most likely come from overseas and may not take into account the idiosyncrasies of the London market, which could be perceived as a negative of working in the UK office of a large US law firm. On the other hand, if you work for a large UK law firm - a Magic Circle or Silver Circle firm for example - London is the centre of operations and the firm’s vision and strategy is formulated with the London market at the forefront. Of course, there will always be an element of internal politics - as in any law firm - but going into a UK law firm you can be sure that policy is being written by people in the UK legal market. Your choice of law firm must ultimately come down to what is important to you in your long-term legal career. If you are looking for a higher salary, early opportunities for responsibility and progression and international opportunities, a role at US law firm may be the right choice firm for you. Or if your priorities lie with a good variety of work, training and development and a better work-life balance, you may want to consider working for a top UK firm. For more information about this article or to discuss current opportunities in both UK and US law firms, contact Tamara on 020 7269 6368 or


July 2019: Legal Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the legal sector. Here are the key movements in July 2019: Adrian Lawrence- project finance partner has joined White & Case from Ashurst: Ashurst has appointed Adrian Lawrence as a partner in its project finance team in London. Lawrence joins from White & Case where he worked for more than ten years in its energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance practice across its London, Moscow, Doha, Hong Kong and Beijing offices. He has extensive experience in project finance, banking, corporate and capital markets transactions, with a focus on oil and gas and petrochemical projects. He has advised in some of the world’s largest and most complex multi-sourced project financing across a range of jurisdictions in Sub-Sahara Africa, the Middle East and beyond, including financings involving all of the ECAs. Ashley Hill – Tax, Trust and Estate specialist has joined Irwin Mitchell from BDO (we placed him): Irwin Mitchell has appointed Ashley Hill as a partner in its London tax, trusts and estates team. Tax accountant Hill joins from BDO, where he spent 12 years as a tax principal. Prior to this, he spent time with Ernst & Young (EY) and KPMG. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation. Hill specialises in the taxation of high-net-worth individuals with complex and varied affairs often across multiple jurisdictions. He advises on international and offshore tax issues for high-net-worth individuals, their structures and businesses both in and outside the UK, with tax compliance and reporting being an important aspect of this advice. Gavin Weir – Corporate Partner has joined Akin Gump from White & Case: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has announced that Gavin Weir will join the firm as a partner in its London office. Weir will join from White & Case, where he has served as co-leader of its financial institutions M&A group. He is expected to join Akin Gump later this Summer. Weir has significant experience in domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance, with a particular emphasis on complex, high-end corporate transactions focused on financial institutions (including investment funds), technology and life sciences. He advises on international and domestic mergers and acquisitions, public and private takeovers, auctions, reorganisations, joint ventures, corporate governance, and other corporate transactions. Weir is qualified to practice in England and Wales. Andrew Harris – Private Equity and Corporate Partner has joined Vedder Price from Arnold & Porter: Vedder Price has welcomed Andrew Harris as a partner in the firm’s finance and transactions group in London. Harris is also appointed as the European head of private equity and corporate. He joins from Arnold & Porter and has also worked as London managing partner and head of private equity and corporate at Kaye Scholer LLP before its mergers with Arnold & Porter. He focuses on private equity and private merger and acquisition transactions. He has experience in share and asset purchases, disposals/exits, management buy-outs, management buy-ins, buy and builds, joint ventures and restructurings. He acts for private equity firms, entrepreneurs and highnet-worth individuals, as well as portfolio companies and management teams. Mark Aspinall and Paul Sinnott – Energy Sector Partners who have both joined Hill Dickinson from Eversheds Sutherland: Energy sector lawyers Mark Aspinall and Paul Sinnott have joined the commodities team at Hill Dickinson in London as partners from Eversheds Sutherland. Aspinall specialises in the midstream (processing)/downstream (trading) oil sector and associated tanker markets (crude, products and chemicals). His practice is focused on dispute resolution and transactional matters covering trade finance, physical sales, and storage, contracts of carriage by sea, processing/throughput agreements, related joint ventures, SPAs and SHAs. Sinnott focuses on transactional and regulatory matters, as well as all forms and stages of dispute resolution. He acts largely for energy and metals industry client which trade, finance, hedge of transport commodities. Laura Nyman – Real Estate Disputes Partner has joined Seddons from Howard Kennedy: Seddons has appointed Lara Nyman as a property disputes partner. She joins from Howard Kennedy, where she spent five years as a partner. Nyman specialises in providing advice, including risk analysis and strategy, to landlords and tenants as well as developers, investors and other property professionals. For more information about this article, or to speak to Tamara about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 02072696368 or Back to Legal Movers & Shakers Archive >>


What Does Freshfields' £100k NQ Salary Mean For The Legal Profession?

May 2019 saw Magic Circle law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer increase its salary for newly qualified lawyers (NQs) to £100k plus a discretionary bonus, which was largely fuelled by competition from large US firms. Large UK law firms have done well to resist major NQ salary rises for this long, which has primarily been achieved by offering work-life balance and perks as opposed to simply cold cash. However, the 18% increase in pay for NQ lawyers at Freshfields means their salary is now more than double the pay received by their counterparts at investment banks, and this has been fuelled by aggressive competition from large US law firms, including Milbank and Cravath, which last year started paying their NQ lawyers £145k. Freshfields announced in a statement: ‘Our pay offering is a critical part of our talent strategy and reflects our continued commitment to attracting and retaining the very best talent in the legal market. We regularly review our compensation and benefits across the firm with this in mind’. But what does this mean for the legal profession going forward? This move by Freshfields inevitably put pressure on the other four Magic Circle law firms to follow suit to maintain their elite status among future lawyers. Clifford Chance increased their salary for new lawyers at the beginning of June, followed by Slaughter & May, then Allen & Overy and most recently Linklaters. Although it is also worth noting that both Clifford Chance and Slaughters include bonuses in their £100k pay whilst Freshfields are offering discretionary bonuses on top of the increased salary, leaving Freshfields out in front. This move by Freshfields will not only affect those firms in the Magic Circle. Silver Circle firms, such as Travers Smith and Macfarlanes, who offer the strongest competition to Magic Circle firms for hotshot law students will also be forced to increase salaries for NQ lawyers if they want to remain in the competition. This is already apparent, with Macfarlanes boosting it's NQ remuneration package to range from £98,600 to £110,250. This will then be followed by global megafirms, and firms below them and so on. This move may also affect UK corporate law - paying like US firms inevitably means working like US firms. Large US firms have less junior associates per Partner which results in longer working hours, and London headquartered firms will have little choice but to move towards a working model similar to that of US firms if they want to maintain profitability. It is perhaps fair to say that the US business culture does not fully translate culturally to the UK, which means that UK law firms will be looking for ways to increase efficiency. The UK is arguably ahead of the US in terms of driving more efficiencies with lawtech, and recent years have seen major law firms investing in technology that’s beginning to yield results in the British legal market. Aside from lawtech, north-shoring is likely to rise as it is cheaper to employ people outside of London due to London housing and renting prices. This is all worth considering when deciding on your legal career path once you qualify as a lawyer. With this salary increase, competition among top UK law firms will be even fiercer. There are plenty of options for you as a newly-qualified lawyer and with the current legal market seeing considerable movement in terms of remuneration and benefits packages, speaking to one of our specialist legal recruiters can help you make the decision that’s best for your future career. For more information on this article, or advice on the current legal market and opportunities available, contact Tamara on 020 7269 6368 or


To Be (A Partner) Or Not To Be (A Partner) That Is The Question

For the vast majority of lawyers, becoming a Partner is the pinnacle of their career. There are various motivators for this, be it financial motivation or for prestige. Becoming a Partner takes commitment and does not come without challenges, and this article explores why people look to achieve partnership, alternatives to partnership and everything in between. Becoming a Partner, quite rightly, brings its own challenges. I have found that quite often, lawyers think that once they achieve partnership status then the rest is easy. This could not be further from the truth - it is only the beginning. Yes, it brings you the gravitas and clients love to work with Partners as they are seen as the decision makers in the team, however, it also brings a number of new challenges. You are now responsible for ensuring there are enough client matters to feed the juniors in the team (alongside yourself), leading by example, influencing the wider partnership (both locally and if relevant, internationally), competing against other teams for resource allocation and being a true ambassador of the firm both externally and internally, among various other responsibilities. It really does go beyond focusing purely on fee earning. You need to take a more holistic view and be able to look at things from a commercially strategic perspective. One common theme I often come across when speaking with lawyers who are on the cusp of partnership is the complex conversation about how to achieve this. They often ask questions such as what time frames will it take to step up? What do I need to generate figure wise for the business plan? Is there space for someone to be made up in my team? All these questions are completely valid and definitely need considering, however, the two real questions you should be asking yourself before any of the above are: Why do I want to become a Partner? And more importantly, where do I want to become a Partner? The reason I say this, is that there are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration when going through this important thought process. Does your current firm offer the right platform for your clients and more importantly, your long-term career aspirations? Will you be able to influence the wider partnership? Would you prefer a full equity model, or do you feel a traditional lockstep would work better for you? Do you want full voting rights or just the title? If you conclude that your firm can’t offer any of the above, and you have your heart set on becoming a Partner, then clearly, your current firm is not the right place for you to achieve this - you need to start considering your options elsewhere at a firm that can offer you the career progression opportunities you want. What are the alternatives to becoming Partner? There are, of course, alternatives to partnership, namely Special Counsel, Legal Director or Consultant and there are pros and cons to all of these options. If you are purely looking for a title and that is it, then it might be worth exploring alternatives such as these as you can still get the same internal/external perception without the additional responsibilities. At most firms, you will also be financially remunerated as that of a Partner (particularly at US law firms where the Special Counsel title is held in very high regard). However, if you thrive on the added responsibility, relish the pressures that come with this new-found status and ultimately want to be able to have a significant say in the wider partnership then you should be looking only for a Partner title. What I have found historically, that is the lawyers who stay where they are to become a Partner purely through loyalty and haven’t considered the points above, then inevitably after a short time, they find themselves on the lookout to find the right platform. However, these aspiring Partners can find themselves in a much more difficult position when it comes to porting over their clients due to covenants (which of course can be negotiated and/or circumvented- that is an article for another day). To surmise, obtaining partnership should only be once you are 100% sure that your current firm is the right place for you to make Partner. This will protect you and your clients as they are the most important things to focus on when thinking about partnership. For more information on this article or to speak to Chris about your Legal Partner Search, contact him on 020 7269 6361 or


How to Use FinTech to Enhance Your Legal Career

What is FinTech? This innovative sector has transformed the financial services sector and the way organisations interact with their clients. In simple terms, FinTech is the use of technology to provide financial services in a more secure and efficient method. FinTech essentially describes the intersection between finance and technology, and today's FinTech market has been characterised by significant growth. As a result, FinTech players need to have a clear competitive edge which can be achieved in certain key areas which including getting regulatory compliance right and making the right partnerships at the right time and on the right terms. So what does this mean for lawyers? To gain this competitive edge and succeed in the current FinTech market, the key is high-quality and innovative legal advice and this is where lawyers come in, guiding market participants through the various business and legal issues in this growing, exciting sector. FinTech challenges established ideas, but as surmised by DLA Piper, also provides an opportunity for existing market participants to diversify their product range, improve efficiencies, manage risk more effectively and reach a wider customer base. The wide establishment of FinTech has brought together Financial Regulation and Technology practice areas and with any new partnership between two existing sectors, legal and regulatory challenges are created which in turn requires comprehensive and in-depth legal advice. Despite the volume of financial regulation controls decelerating and other countries lowering regulation in order to compete for the FinTech crown, existing regulation is becoming increasingly complicated. The number of FinTech start-ups is still significantly growing and UK FinTech investment reached £2.6bn last year - and almost £995m has been invested in UK FinTech in Q1 2019 alone! As a result, legal expertise in this sector remains in high demand, with Data Protection and Intellectual Property posing substantial challenges for new start-ups along with ensuring full compliance. Global FinTech investment also rose rapidly last year, with KPMG reporting the figure to be around $112 billion - up 120% from 2017. With this, the top international law firms and most entrepreneurial boutiques are recognising the long-term goldmine that is the FinTech sector. With the likes of Simmons & Simmons and Slaughter & May offering free legal services to start-ups, they are not only demonstrating their legal expertise but also building valuable and profitable relationships in the long term. Why is this a good time for lawyers to get into FinTech? There are so many opportunities for legal professionals when it comes to working in the FinTech sector. This sector offers the chance to work flexibly both with start-up companies and major financial institutions who are looking to incorporate the innovative technologies that have been changing the landscape of the financial services sector in recent years. Being a niche and growing sector, lawyers with extensive legal expertise in this area are quite rare, which leaves open great opportunity for talented lawyers wanting to transfer into and excel within this booming area. Essentially, a combination of a strong academic background and either Financial Regulation or Technology experience can give you an in – and if you have experience in both practice areas, you are a prime candidate for both newly formed FinTech teams and established financial institutions. For more information on this article, or for Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact Henry on 020 7269 6342 or


What Options are Available to You as a Newly Qualified Lawyer?

The decisions you make in the lead up to completing your training contract to qualify as a lawyer and the steps you take in the run-up to qualification will determine your future career path. So, what options are available to you as a newly qualified lawyer? Many newly qualified lawyers (NQs) will decide to stay with and progress within their current firm, but the internal process may take a long time to complete and may not have roles open in the area you wish to qualify in to. In the meantime, it’s important to keep your options open and make decisions that reflect your desired long-term career path. Our specialist legal recruiters have put together advice to help you make an informed decision! Firms When deciding where to accept a role for when you qualify, you can choose between different-sized law firms, an in-house role, overseas or perhaps a position within a government body. When it comes to law firms, there are many options for you to choose from. In terms of the UK legal market, your main decision will be choosing between joining a US law firm, a Magic Circle or Silver Circle firm, a leading international firm or a smaller West End firm, and timing can mean everything when it comes to applying for roles for a newly qualified lawyer. In regards to salary, US firms sit at the top of the legal market but they are newer to the London market so typically, these firms tend to have smaller trainee pools. This means that when it comes to hiring NQs, they often need to look externally. US firms will typically begin to hire first in the London legal market, with most US firms currently interviewing and some have already offered jobs to their next pool of NQs - their search start date gets earlier every year, so it’s important to get advice from recruiters as soon as possible if you are looking to work for a US firm! On the other hand, large UK firms like those in the Magic Circle, Silver Circle and leading international firms have bigger internal trainee pools and they tend to prioritise retaining their own trainees once they qualify, understandably as they have already invested time into training and developing them as rounded legal professionals. It is around June that the internal recruitment processes come to an end within large UK and international law firms and it is often at this point that these firms begin to look externally for NQs. There is a similar timeline for smaller West End firms, who generally start their hiring process and seek out NQs around June and July. The better the market conditions, the earlier you can look, but as a general rule, it is always best to start looking earlier rather than later to ensure you don’t miss the boat. We would suggest that September-qualified candidates should start looking for roles around May, and March-qualified candidates from November. There are benefits to each of these types of firm. If you are looking for a smaller team feel with a higher level of client contact, a US firm might be a good fit for you, whilst firms in the Magic Circle have great training and development programmes in place. Ultimately, it comes down to what you are looking for from your career. Practice area When deciding on a practice area to pursue, it’s important to choose what you enjoy most! Always consider the long-term and your career goals, and have a back-up practice area that you would also be interested in working in. There are particularly busy practice areas, usually transactional areas, so if this is well-suited to you, consider looking for roles in areas such as Corporate, Banking, Funds or Tax. Some areas have very few external roles for NQs to move into. These are generally the most popular areas for people to qualify into, including Disputes and Intellectual Property, and these are typically filled by the firm’s internal trainees meaning that practices within these areas very rarely need to look externally for NQs. Carry out research to find out which firms have the best reputation in your preferred practice area and take advantage of the expert market knowledge from recruiters here at Pro-Legal! Ideally, you will land yourself a position at a market-leading firm within your chosen practice area, however, don’t be disheartened if you don’t right away - it may be that you need to gain skills and experience and work towards the firm you want to end up in. It's not impossible to change specialisms down the line, but most lawyers will develop and progress within the practice area they qualify into. There a number of factors to consider when deciding on a practice area to specialise in, but the most important thing is to make sure you enjoy the work and can see yourself progressing within this practice area. There are so many options available to NQs, and the decision you make running up to qualification will shape your future as a lawyer. We work with many leading US, Magic Circle, international and West End firms, and have placed many NQs into roles in a variety of firms and practice areas. Speak to one of our specialist legal consultants for a confidential discussion to help you make an informed decision that’s right for you at this critical stage of your career. For more information on this article, or advice on the current legal market and the prospects available to you as a newly qualified lawyer, contact Tamara on 020 7269 6368 or


How Can Marketing and Communications Support the UK Charity Sector?

2018 was a transformative year for charities with the sector facing many challenges, and this year a 'quiet marketing revolution' has been happening in the charity and wider Not-For-Profit sector. Organisations are looking to not just help those in need but empower them as well – how can marketing and communications help? 2019 has seen brand purpose come under the spotlight and scrutinised like never before, with criticisms particularly prevalent when it comes to commerce and corporate businesses trying to 'do good'. This scrutiny has also extended to the Not-For-Profit sector and charities are moving away from a paternalistic approach to one of empowerment in the way they market themselves and their services. Allys Thomas, Oxfam's Head of Brand explains: "There has gradually been more appetite for [images of empowerment] and charities themselves can play a role in driving and shaping that too, so it's become about how we can challenge and change public discourse as well as respond to it." Not-For-Profit organisations should think about marketing as more than simply a way to raise more money towards a valuable cause, but it is also important that charities utilise marketing and communications tools to promote their cause, raise funds, and portray themselves in the desired way. Global Corporate Social Responsibility Director, Frank Krikhaar, of global marketing agency Dentsu Aegis Network, identifies what the charity sector could learn directly from the marketing world - what he considers the 4 C's. 1. Consolidation Mergers and acquisitions are commonplace in the marketing world and it has been often identified that mid-sized charities are often competing against other similar sized charities working on the same cause for the same pot of money – why not consider merging? A recent example of UK Charities joining forces would be Beating Bowel Cancer and Bowel Cancer UK merging in December 2017 – if charities have shared goals, executives ought to consider strength in numbers. 2. Collaboration If a merger is improbable then what about collaboration? Working together should certainly be considered more frequently amongst UK charities. This concept is not absent from the sector as in larger charities, internal marketing, communications, events and fundraising departments collaborate together as they all work cohesively to build awareness and raise funds. Collaboration is encouraged in the marketing agency industry as seen with the Common Ground UN initiative bringing together some of the biggest advertising holding groups curbing competition to tackle the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals as together they support and promote global issues. Charities can identify opportunities to collaborate externally with other charities such as hosting challenge fundraising occasions such as long distance running events. Collaborating not only helps drive and increase support for each cause but also contributes enormously to the atmosphere, which makes attending memorable. 3. Content It has been consistently noted by numerous marketing leaders that content is key and the UK charity sector should also continue to integrate this. Charities of all sizes can participate as creating content can be inexpensive but still highly engaging. A great example of planned content is Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital’s storytelling with #OneDayAtGOSH consisting of hourly shots and snippets from the hospital - the use of Instagram stories can be excellent in supporting this and can help build a following in the same way successful vloggers use these tools. Aside from this, the effective use of all social media platforms, the creation of short videos and graphics, and the regular publishing of blogs on behalf of a charity are all ways in which low-cost marketing initiatives can be incredibly effective. 4. Confidence Have confidence in digital marketing as these tools can be very progressive as seen in recent years with the rise of Crowdfunding and GlobalGiving which has changed the donor culture and landscape. Particularly useful are mobile and digital fundraising platforms like instaGiv - partnered with more than 300 UK charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Tearfund and Amnesty International, instaGiv offers a range of mobile and digital solutions for the third sector and has helped raise over £7.5m. Recent reports on Activate - a texting platform that lets charities talk directly with supporters in real-time - have also seen positive results. The app has been widely texted in the UK and a few charities have now used Activate in the UK, including the People's Vote campaign. Patrick Heneghan from People's Vote said: 'Activate has been a valuable tool in our campaign. We reached thousands of supporters within minutes and had an expert team at the ready to engage in conversation and drive action. We used Activate to recruit volunteers, get people out to events and raise significant funds.' The younger generations are increasingly interested in how the money going to charities is collected – storifying this as a campaign can blend well in the form of content as mentioned above. The digitally savvy Generation Z are now entering the UK workforce, so incorporating digital trends will attract them and encourage donations and we may even find that these younger generations will change the future path of marketing and communications in the third sector. To conclude, if the competition is close and funding is limited – perhaps acquisitions or working together to achieve shared goals is the way forward for charities this year. Not-For-Profit organisations should also be embracing digital platforms for marketing and advertising and become part of a sector-wide progressive movement to empower people, which will simultaneously attract the generations entering the workforce in the coming years. Lastly, plan content and don't be afraid to get creative - the more creative, the better story created for your brand and the more memorable your content and campaigns will be! Here at Pro-Marketing, we focus on making Marketing, Fundraising and Communications appointments across all levels in the Charity and wider Not-For-Profit sector. For more information on this article or to speak to our industry experts about your future in Marketing, contact Nicholas on 020 7269 6338 or


12 Tips to Become a Successful Recruiter

As a recruiter, it's your job to get the best talent through the door and provide your company or client with the right candidates who will make an impact. While each recruiter has different specific strengths, there are numerous commonalities among effective recruiters. Becoming a great recruiter takes skill, intuition and lots of practice, and our recruitment experts here at Pro have put together 12 Top Tips on becoming and remaining a successful recruiter. So, what makes a good recruiter? 1. Answer/return the call The most successful recruiters will always get back to people whether it is good or bad news and offer full feedback, or even just a quick update call. Don’t be that ever-elusive recruiter who doesn’t get back to their candidates or clients! If you went for a job and no one got back to you, even if you were not successful, would you be happy with this? 2. Make the most of your day Recruiting is like juggling plates. You will have business development calls, candidate calls, interviews, meetings, adverts, applications and emails amongst a barrage of incoming calls. Plan your day to make sure you hit your targets and deadlines, even when you find one situation takes up most of your afternoon unexpectedly! 3. Network Building your network of both existing and potential clients and candidates is key. Keeping in regular contact with active job seekers and clients you have placed with will keep you fresh in their minds to come back to. Attending industry events and lunches, alongside social networking are all effective ways to increase your means of generating the best candidates. 4. Build your personal brand Make sure you are delivering the best service to both clients and candidates alike! When you are generating business from a referral or placing candidates because you have been recommended, you know what you are doing is working! If you do a fantastic job, that candidate you placed last year will remember your excellent service and when they are recruiting for their own team, you will be the person they think of to contact. 5. Listen As a recruiter, you need to listen to both your clients and candidates alike to ensure that you fully understand every detail of what that individual wants. Just because you have recruited for a similar role for a competitor, both the role and what another client wants from a candidate will not necessarily be the same. The same goes for your candidates - understanding their wants, needs and goals will help you to match them to their perfect opportunity. 6. Drive and Determination To be a successful recruiter you need the drive and determination to succeed. You will need to pick up the phone to make cold calls, call candidates, headhunt the passive market and be proactive in your approach. 7. Never stop learning Making sure you are up to date with your knowledge and methods of working will help you stay ahead of your game. As an industry, recruitment is always changing and developing. Trends in the markets change, and tools and techniques are ever evolving. It’s hard to imagine a time without LinkedIn and social media as a recruitment tool; yet not that long ago it was unknown. The way clients are now recruiting is also changing to suit their needs, especially as we are now in such a buoyant market. 8. Ask questions Every successful recruiter has managed to hone their questioning skills to ensure they are finding out more than their competitors and able to make the best matches. Ask the right questions and don’t be afraid to dig deeper to clarify the answers. Knowledge is power in recruitment. 9. Have a thick skin There is a lot of rejection, and some days you may not get the results you want. The important thing is to be able to bounce back, keep positive and stay persistent. If you continue to be proactive you will be a huge success! 10. Think outside the box The most successful recruiters show entrepreneurialism and innovation in the ways they can source and fill vacancies. There is a lot of competition out there from thousands of other agencies. Make sure you are finding new and clever ways to work with clients and candidates alike and show you are different and why. Don’t be afraid to change the way you work because you are comfortable with your processes. 11. Work as a team There is a wealth of knowledge and skills across your business. Work alongside successful recruiters and you will pick up tips and styles to help you improve. Even the most seasoned recruiter can learn from a junior member of the team, and sharing knowledge and best practices will widen your skill set to ensure you are a top performer. 12. Know your market If you work in a specialised vertical sector then make sure you are up to date with industry news and market knowledge - to be the best recruiter you need to know your market inside-out! Here at Pro-Recruitment Group, our teams specialise in Tax, Legal, Finance, HR and Marketing recruitment. Each team prides themselves in being market specialists, who research and learn every day from a wide range of resources available to them. We hold events within these specialised areas to network with professionals and ensure our teams are up to date with their knowledge. We also source Consultants who have worked in these industries previously and so have hands-on experience within their sector, including Solicitors, Partners of Law Firms, Tax Seniors and Accountants. As a company, we are in a period of growth. If you are interested in becoming a market specialist and developing your career with Pro-Recruitment Group, contact our Head of Talent Loren on 020 7269 6358 or


Never Underestimate The Influence Of Company Culture on Staff Attraction

Due to the competitive nature of the market, high-quality candidates are often presented with four or five offers of employment for their next position. As a result, clients are constantly asking my advice on how to attract and retain the best talent out there! Whilst excellent rates of pay and opportunities for progression are two of the most obvious ways to attract the right team members, there are various other more subtle and engaging ways to maximise your staffing potential. According to Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. With that being said, below we will explore some creative ways to motivate and reward your employees when they go above and beyond. Not to mention ways to create a company culture that'll be the envy of your competitors and attract the top talent in the market! So what can your company do to attract and retain staff? Social functions We spend between eight and ten hours a day with our work colleagues so having positive relationships is important for both productivity, employee relations and staff morale. Having regular social functions strengthens these bonds and leaves your staff looking forward to going to work! It is also beneficial to break down some of the hierarchal barriers that can unconsciously arise in a formal office environment. Extra holiday allowance for charity and community work Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a key areas of focus across various industries in the past year and what better way to engage with your team than support them in causes close to their own heart. Deloitte found that 76% of Millennials now regard business as a force for positive social impact. Whilst CSR benefits the employee directly they will feel that you as the employer see them as more than a body on a chair and are aligned with their motivations and ideologies. Flexible lifestyles need flexible working A common market misconception is that flexible working means an hour either side of rigid core hours in one location. In fact, flexible working is so much more than this, due in part to technological advances. According to a survey conducted by PowWowNow, 67% of employees polled wish they were offered flexible working. On top of that, 58% of people believed that working away from the office would help them become more motivated. Several of my key clients have implemented flexible locations whether this is working from home, regional offices or WeWork spaces. If you are reactive to your employees’ needs, chances are they will be appreciative. Let staff chose their own benefits and incentives Not every employee is the same and every individual will have key drivers as to what would make them feel rewarded. By allowing employees to have an input in their own personalised incentive scheme you again reinforce that you are a people focused company. Whether this is additional time off, financial reward or something more tangible such as a bottle of wine or meal with a loved one, allowing them to chose can really pay off. These are just some of the ideas that we at Pro-Recruitment Group have suggested to clients, which have been implemented across several offices. If you feel that your company does not value you as an employee, or indeed you are an employer looking to attract and retain the best staff in the market, please do get in contact with our industry experts! For more information about this article, or to speak to Callum about your recruiting needs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 020 7269 6369 or


How to Choose a Legal Recruiter

You would think that choosing a legal recruiter should be simple - there are many to choose from and most of them will reach out to you so you don’t even have to make initial contact with them. However, far from being a passive choice made simply by the fact an agent happens to be the first recruiter to cold call you about a role, this decision should be a carefully considered one as the difference between a good and a bad recruiter can cost you that shot at your next great career move. Recruiters in the UK placed over one million people into permanent jobs in 2018, and the recruitment landscape is set to grow even more over the next few years. But what factors are important to consider when choosing a legal recruiter? Source How have you come into contact with the recruiter? Do they come recommended by a friend? These are the kinds of candidates recruiters love to work with, as they have already been vetted by your contact and, as such, a level of trust is already established. Agents have a reputation to upkeep when recommended, particularly within the legal market, so you often find they work even harder than normal in these circumstances. Have you been approached on a cold call? Although this can be awkward when sat at your work desk, this is quite simply a necessary tool for recruitment agents in a highly competitive market. Try not to dismiss the message the agent is offering just because of the method by which they initially make contact – they could be calling about your ideal role. There is, of course, also no need to hand your search over to the first stranger who approached you out of the blue and has not yet built a relationship with you. Other factors have to figure. Research Does a recruiter have the relevant expertise that you need them to? Be it expertise of the legal market, geographical focus, or the kind of law firm you wish to work at, you should ensure that your recruiter is knowledgeable in the specifics of your particular search. The best recruiters do not work with every candidate that comes their way as it would be impossible to become specialised in everything. No agent, for example, could know the intricacies of the in-house legal market in the same level of detail as the private practice funds market. By necessity, recruiters will have different specialisms so check that their areas of expertise suit your needs and that they have a strong track record to back this up. Recruiters that appear too broad should be avoided so as not to end up with a jack of all trades. Network Does your recruiter have access to key personnel who make the decisions? Simon Adcock, Head of Professional Services for HSBC UK, believes that the role of the recruiter in connecting people to opportunities and employers to people has never been so important. This is particularly relevant when it comes to in-house recruitment. You want to be sure that your recruiter has direct access to the people you will be reporting to in your new role and who will ultimately make a decision about you during the interview process. This kind of access increases the quality of feedback about your application and means the agent will have far more influence throughout the process. This is especially the case where the recruiter has a strong relationship with the decision maker who is relying on the recruiter to assist with vetting candidates. Personality Excellent interpersonal skills are a hugely important requirement of an agent, least of all because job hunting takes time and you will be spending a good deal of yours speaking to your agent over the course of the process. Above all other traits, it goes without saying that you should seek a recruiter who is honest and will genuinely go the extra mile for you. For instance, do they offer to assist you with getting your CV up to scratch? Will they give you genuine market insight and salary information even if you have not expressed any interest in starting a search with them? REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry argues that recruiters will continue to use their skills and knowledge to transform candidates' lives every single day by finding them their perfect job. The recruiters who are passionate about their jobs will do these things, therefore I would suggest that you should always look to someone passionate about their profession to assist you with your search. Recruitment is a hard job, involving more than its share of rejection, so you need to know that your recruiter has a great deal of enthusiasm and energy to keep on top of your search and land you that great opportunity. Meeting your agent Believe it or not, recruiters do appreciate you are extremely busy and that taking time out of your day for a coffee with an agent may not be the most important thing you have to do that day. However, if you can spare the time, do meet with your agent. Your next career move has to be worth investing a little time in. Research has shown that 40% of recruiters consider engaging candidates as their top priority - get to know your recruiter face to face. This enables you to build rapport and look them in the eye when they are selling their services to you. This works both ways as if a good recruiter is able to have a frank and honest conversation with a candidate and buys into them and their objectives, that recruiter will work their hardest to achieve the desired outcome. This is an industry about relationships and any recruiter worth their salt will want to build a meaningful one with you. The above is only a brief overview of the main factors to consider, however, I do hope it is of use. If you ever want a discreet and non-pressured conversation about any of the points above, your career or the legal market, please feel do drop any of us at Pro-Legal a line – we are happy to help. For more information on this article or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact Henry on 020 7269 6342 or


A Glamorous Night at the Legal Business Awards 2019

It was a pleasure to host Vanessa Harvey (Milbank), Russ Hill (Squire Patton Boggs), Andrew Pannel (MJ Hudson), Emma-Louise Curley (MJ Hudson) and Justin Edgar (DWF) on our table at the coveted 22nd Annual Legal Business Awards this year, which took place on the 28th March, in the Grosvenor House Hotel. It was a fantastic evening, hosted by comedian Meeral Syal, celebrating the achievements of the legal profession’s finest. The awards catered to and highlighted the work of international firms operating in multiple jurisdictions, boutique law firms, alternative legal services providers, in-house teams, chambers, national and regional practices in the UK. A huge congratulations to all the winners, as well as all the nominees - for being recognised for their efforts in pioneering and spearheading the significance of the legal sector and profession. Pro-Legal were honoured to sponsor the Boutique Firm of the Year Award, a category that highlights some of the firms doing things differently in the market. A huge congratulations to all those nominated for the award as to reach that stage takes a great deal of work and effort. Cook, Young & Keidan came highly commended by the judges, however, it was sports-focused firm, Northridge Law, that took home the title along with our sincere congratulations. You’ll find some pictures of the evening HERE >>. Thanks LBA, we will see you next year! 2019 Winners Boutique Law Firm of the Year - Northridge Law Chambers of the Year - 3 Verulam Buildings Commercial Litigation Team of the Year - Simmons & Simmons/Travers Smith Competition Team of the Year - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Corporate Team of the Year - Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher CSR Programme of the Year - Hogan Lovells Energy/Infrastructure Team of the Year - Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner/Heathrow Airport/Pinsent Masons Finance Team of the Year - Davis Polk & Wardwell GC of the Year - Lucy Vernall In-House Team of the Year - Network Rail Insurance Team of the Year - Herbert Smith Freehills International Arbitration Team of the Year - King & Spalding International Firm of the Year - A&L Goodbody Law Firm of the Year - Pinsent Masons Lawyer of the Year - Richard Miskella Legal Technology Team of the Year - Bird & Bird Management Partner of the Year - Nick Thomas Private Client Team of the Year - Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Private Equity Team of the Year - Kirkland & Ellis Real Estate Team of the Year - Clifford Chance/Eversheds Sutherland/Network Rail Regional/Offshore Firm of the Year - Ogier Restructuring Team of the Year - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year - Frances Coats TMT Team of the Year - Bird & Bird US Law Firm of the Year - White & Case For more information on the 2019 Legal Business Awards or to speak to our team of Legal recruiters, contact Jonathan on 02071235057 or



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