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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.

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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 aaron.burton@pro-legal.co.uk.

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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 tamara.salem@pro-legal.co.uk.

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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 David Bucknor about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him 020 7269 6332 or david.bucknor@pro-legal.co.uk. Back to Legal Movers & Shakers Archive >>

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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 aaron.burton@pro-legal.co.uk.

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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 alex.barrett@pro-legal.co.uk. Back to Legal Movers & Shakers Archive >>

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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 alex.barrett@pro-legal.co.uk.

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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 David Bucknor on 020 7269 6332 or david.bucknor@pro-legal.co.uk.

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November 2019: Legal Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the legal sector. Here are the key movements in November 2019: Partner Kevin Roberts is moving to Cadwalader after having spent over ten years at Morrison & Foerster. Roberts is a litigator specialising in White Collar Crime. Roberts will be an integral member of the US White Collar defence and investigations team’s transatlantic expansion. Carl Bradshaw is moving to Goodwin Procter after having spent 9 years at Kirkland & Ellis and being Partner there since 2015. As a strong Private Equity and M&A Partner who specialises in technology and life sciences, Bradshaw will join a quickly developing practice. Andrew Sackey has joined Pinsent Masons after twelve years at HM Revenue & Customs. Sackey is a tax and litigation Lawyer who will also be involved in five major sectors at Pinsent Masons including; infrastructure, real estate, energy, technology and financial services. Partner Steve Curtis is joining Latham & Watkins from Clifford Chance having been at Clifford Chance since 1991 when he joined as an articled clerk. Specialising in structured finance in the real estate finance and infrastructure sectors, Curtis will be a vital part of the practice. For more information about this article, or to speak to Aaron Burton about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 020 7269 6350 or aaron.burton@pro-legal.co.uk. Back to Legal Movers & Shakers Archive >>

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The Perfect Legal CV

Creating the ideal CV can be a tricky task, but the perfect Legal CV is the very first step towards your dream job. To avoid your CV being dismissed and missing out on that all-important job interview, there are things you need to consider, and our specialist legal recruiters have provided all the information you need to create that perfect CV! Unlike ticking the ‘open to opportunities’ box on LinkedIn, submitting your CV symbolises an active interest in a role. Best to avoid the mentality of “just send my CV and see what they come back with”. If the role is worth applying for at all, then this is presumably worth doing with your best foot forward. A specialist legal recruiter will likely see over 100 CVs each week. With both your experience and motivations in mind, they should be able to consult on: (1) the common mistakes to avoid and (2) how best to tailor your CV and exhibit your strengths. The first matter is straightforward enough, forming the contents of general advice here: General formatting: keep it simple The executive summary: lose the fluff Work experience: bullet point what you did Education and Qualifications: less can be more We have provided a general step-by-step guide on how to format your CV in the legal market. Quick disclaimer: ‘the perfect CV’ does not reference a stereotypically perfect career as it may appear on paper, though exemplar excerpts have been included below for illustration. 1. General CV formatting: keep it simple. Your experience should speak for itself in a way that is easily comparable with other CVs. Send your CV to your recruiter in Word (not PDF) format and say goodbye to: Flashy fonts (keep it to black, Arial size 11) Convoluted layouts (stay away from using any kind of columns) Photographs Charts/images ranking your skills Regarding length, the average length of a good legal CV is 3-4 pages: the 2-page rule is a myth in the legal industry and anything more than 5 pages is too long! 1 page is far too short because Legal Partners like to see plenty of detail around what you've done, the type of clients you have worked with, and most importantly what part you played on each matter. This is all essential for Partners to get a flavour of your experience and an idea of what you could add to their legal team. 2. The executive summary: lose the fluff. Within the first half-page, your CV should provide an overview of the most important details and your experience to date, including: Your name City/town Right to work Relevant qualifications Notice period Languages spoken (if pertinent to the role) Synopsis The synopsis is an important part of telling your story to third parties. However, promises of personal qualities are near impossible to make credible if written in the first-person. When sending your CV across to your recruiter, it is best to have your CV written in the third person - using the pronouns “I”, “me”, “my”, “mine”, “our” or “we” on your CV dampens the third-party ‘sell’ before you really need to. Try to think about your business case offering from the immediately observable and third-party perspective, as you would be discussed by others before having interviewed. The recommended format: A line (or two) on your background A line (or two) line on what your current role includes A line (or two) on what you are looking for – (framed from your reason for leaving) CANDIDATE: [NAME] LOCATION: London RIGHT TO WORK: UK Citizen QUALIFICATIONS: Qualified Solicitor of England & Wales (2014) AVAILABILITY: 3 Months (negotiable) SYNOPSIS: [Name] is a high calibre Employment Lawyer, approaching 5 years PQE with the leading International firm [firm name]. [Name] has an excellent academic record and has obtained a broad range of Employment experience to date, covering a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Although [name] is progressing well with their firm, [name] is selectively considering firms which would offer them a step up and develop their skills and knowledge further. 3. Work experience: bullet-point what you did. This section should be in bullet-points for ease of accessibility, similar to the format you would ordinarily see in job specifications, as they are an easy way for employers and legal hiring professionals to get a quick snapshot of your experience to date. This section should not detail what your team did. Bullet pointing what ‘you’ did means focusing on your own actions and achievements. If you need to anonymise client names when detailing your work experience that is absolutely fine - for example, if you worked with HSBC you could simply say you worked with a 'leading high street bank'. Key information includes the documents you used, a value of the matter (if appropriate) and most importantly, what YOU did on that specific matter. Did you have a high level of client contact and responsibility? Showcase this. In instances where a collaborative effort was made, the key focus should be on your personal contribution to the wider effort. In bullet pointing what you ‘did’, it is important to realise what can and cannot be demonstrated on a CV. Steer away from an emphasis on what you ‘learned’, ‘developed’ or ‘demonstrated’, which are not only difficult to bring to life on a CV credibly, but are also more relevant at the interview stage. Keep the content to the job you performed, responsibilities fulfilled and value-added. What you should include is also dependent on your level of experience. If you are a junior Associate, keep your training contract experience on your CV as this is still relevant experience. As you progress through your career and become more senior, you can start to minimize this part of your experience and replace it with your post-qualification experience. Other general points for this section: Keep it chronological, in descending order of recency. Include the location (city) where each position was held. Consider omitting roles held prior to your beginning your formal qualification. 4. Education and qualifications: less can be more. In the legal market, employers are generally just not that interested in the finer details of your education. Key things to include in the education section of your CV are: When you were admitted as a solicitor and in which jurisdiction Grades for LPC and GDL (if appropriate) Grade for your degree A-Level subjects and grades Places of study Any awards/scholarships EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATIONS: 2014 BPP Law School, Holborn Legal Practice Course, Commendation 2013 University of Law, Bloomsbury Graduate Diploma in Law, Commendation 2012 University of Bristol Law LLB – 1st Class Honours 2009 [Sixth Form College] - A-Levels English (A) Mathematics (A) History (B) 5. The application: tailor your CV before applying. No one job or company is the same, so make sure that your legal CV is tailored to the position and firm that you are applying to, whether is this is a US Firm, Magic Circle, Silver Circle, or a boutique firm. Use the synopsis to highlight the main reasons you would be suitable for the position, and try to echo the organisation's corporate values and what the job specification says they are looking for throughout your application. In summary, your legal CV will set the groundwork for the remainder of the selection process. So, at the very least, it is worth considering how the synopsis might be tailored for each application you make. The take-home points here for general formatting purposes would be to let your career speak for itself with a simple layout, to omit any usage of the first person and to see the value in being recommended forward specifically by a trusted intermediary. Looking for advice on tailoring your CV, options in your search, or have a request for our next blog? Contact Tamara Salem on 020 7269 6368 or tamara.salem@pro-legal.co.uk.

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What Responsibilities Does a Legal Partner Have?

Progressing from Associate to Partner is the pinnacle of many lawyers' careers, and is a significant leap that comes with a number of responsibilities. Becoming a Legal Partner takes commitment and years of hard work, and understanding the extra responsibilities that come with Partnership will help you decide whether it is the right path for you. 1. Duty and commitment to other Partners The most important of all the responsibilities a Legal Partner has is their duty to the other Partners in their firm. You will be placed in a position of trust and it is a mutual understanding that each Partner must act with the utmost good faith and professionalism. When you reach this level in your career, it means more than simply signing an employment contract and going about your daily work - you have a greater level of responsibility and affinity to your firm as a whole and you need to ensure you are a true ambassador of the firm both internally and externally. 2. Change in workload You will find that once you reach Partner level your responsibilities in workload will also change rather significantly. Workload differs to that of an Associate in that you have a greater level of responsibility for the business as a whole, which means that you need to know what's going on at all levels. Rather than simply looking after your own personal work on a daily basis, you will oversee the work of your employees and if you are Partner at a large firm you may also have responsibility for different offices nationwide. You will not only be involved with internal matters but you will also be responsible for corresponding with external parties and other industry professionals. Business development will also come into your remit, and you will spend time in meetings with potential clients and business partners, meaning more travel and potentially extended hours. 3. Communicating with employees The transition from Associate to Partner in terms of relationships with your colleagues can potentially be a tricky one. The relationship you have with colleagues at Associate level is generally more casual as you are all on an equal footing, but this is likely to change when you become Partner. Part of Partnership is leading by example, and you will find that in some instances you will need to listen to employee issues, conduct interviews, deliver disciplinary actions, or even dismiss people - you may need to establish a different way of communicating with colleagues and employees in cases such as these. 4. Enhancing your business Part of being Partner is enhancing the company as a whole. As mentioned previously, you will be involved in business development and be involved in developing strategies to attract new clients, new employees and widen your business' reach. You will also need to keep up-to-date with industry news and political, economic, or wider developments that may affect the legal sector, and in turn, your firm. As a Partner, you will also have a hand in deciding how your company is portrayed and viewed externally, which will involve having a say in advertising campaigns, brand presence, measures for employee attraction or involvement in events. 5. Damage control Dealing with issues or complaints effectively in-house is an incredibly important part of a Partner's role. Unfortunately, mistakes can be made and complaints from clients or associates happen, but dealing with them in an efficient manner will ensure that such issues are not escalated to legal bodies or in a way that would be damaging to your firms' reputation. There are various responsibilities that come with Partnership, and the breadth and remit of your role will change significantly with this leap forward in your career. If Partnership is the right path for you , these are responsibilities that you will have been working towards and preparing for, and becoming Partner is undoubtedly a great step in your legal career. For more information on this article, contact Aaron Burton on 020 7269 6350 or aaron.burton@pro-legal.co.uk.

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Legal Services Board Voices Concerns: SQE Still Has a Long Way to Go

The Legal Services Board has voiced concerns about the quality, cost and diversity impact of the Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam (SQE), which has been projected to come into play in 2021. Following concerns flagged by the super-regulator, it seems that the final sign-off on the SQE is not a done deal yet, and there is perhaps a long way to go before the new form of assessment is approved. Here at Pro-Legal, we previously shared an update on the Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam and how the legal training environment is changing. The Solicitors Regulation Authority have been consulting on reforms to the training of lawyers since 2015 and the introduction of the SQE, what the University of Law has called the ‘biggest shake-up in legal education in decades’, is set to change the way all solicitors qualify from 2021. A report by Chris Nichols, the Legal Services Board (LSB) Director of Regulation and Policy, says that various substantive issues were raised with the SRA’s first application for approval. Key issues raised by Nichols include the work experience section of the SQE, which according to the LSB, carries the risk of students “being treated poorly and getting limited utility from their time”. There have also been concerns raised regarding the quality of the proposed SQE, and Nichols had suggested there has been “an overall lack of any quality assurance of the process by the SRA”. The LSB has also requested an equality, diversity and inclusion impact assessment after concerns have been raised surrounding these issues, including questions like whether the exam will be provided in Welsh. The SRA will need to provide evidence that the SQE will not compromise equality and evaluate the impact the changes will have on the young legal professionals who will be going through the new exam and study structure. Dr. Helen Phillips, Chair of the LSB has stated that “the board is aware of the strength of feeling around the SRA’s introduction of the SQE, and we were pleased to have an opportunity to discuss the next steps for the process”. The LSB has agreed to send a non-exhaustive list of all their key issues and concerns to the SRA to be fully addressed in their next application for approval, which is expected to be submitted in July or August next year. The new route to qualification is still set to begin in the autumn of 2021, but it is undoubtedly clear that there is still more to do and issues to be addressed before the SRA gets the final sign off for the SQE. For more information on this article, contact David Bucknor on 020 7269 6332 or david.bucknor@pro-legal.co.uk.

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Why are Lawyers Increasingly Joining the Big 4?

The last few years have seen many changes in the legal landscape, with law firms more competitive than ever. Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC have been investing heavily in their legal services arms – particularly in Europe – and now collectively employ about 8,500 lawyers globally. With the gap closing between Magic Circle and City law firms, the ‘Big 4’ accountancy firms and their legal teams truly stand out for offering a unique tailored service to clients. Law firms in the UK are having to be more competitive than ever before when it comes to attracting the best talent. Earlier this year, we saw Magic Circle law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer increase its salary for newly-qualified lawyers to £100k, followed closely by the other four Magic Circle and Silver Circle firms, which was largely fuelled by competition from large US firms. Not only this, but the upcoming changes to the education and training of junior lawyers with the introduction of the Solicitor's Qualifying Exam means law firms are having to work hard to create innovative training programmes, and offer exciting training contracts to compete with commercial and accounting firms in this rapidly evolving legal landscape. The Big 4 are actively recruiting huge numbers of lawyers and, according to Harvard Law School, are emerging as hot spots for supporting legal work. Beyond the UK, each practice works with its international counterparts - PwC has a global headcount of around 3,200 lawyers, EY has more than 2,000 lawyers, KPMG has 1,300 lawyers spanning over 70 countries, and Deloitte has almost 2,000 legal professionals globally. We have already seen significant changes happening within the legal arms of the Big 4. Deloitte Legal has worked closely with ULaw to develop innovate training for new graduate-level legal qualifications placing them at 'the forefront of what is undoubtedly an exciting new era in legal education and training', as well as new legal apprenticeships as part of Deloitte's BrightStart Apprenticeship programme. Moves like this from Deloitte mean access to the legal profession is broadening and becoming more inclusive, offering the opportunity for aspiring solicitors to earn while they learn. Most significantly, a legal training contract with one of the Big 4 means lawyers are able to encounter the wealth of expertise beyond legal work that these accountancy giants can offer as multidisciplinary firms. So, how does working at the Big 4 benefit lawyers? Not only do they hold great power in their brand that instantly opens doors, the Big 4 offer a complete end-to-end solution for their clients – one that cannot be matched by a traditional law firm. A multidisciplinary service is provided by the Big 4 legal teams by combining their skills and knowledge with the firm’s world-class business advisory services, enabling them to work at the heart of every client and their business. One of the main value-added propositions of the Big 4 is their client-based service setup and their ability to offer globally integrated business solutions, meaning that together with their global presence and ability to provide a one-stop-shop, the nature of the work is often not only international and cross-border but of extremely high calibre. At Pro-Legal, having successfully helped many Lawyers transition into the Big 4, the environment is commonly described to us as private practice but without all the politics. You are provided with in-depth technical and professional training and the setting in a Big 4 is incomparable, creating almost a halfway house between traditional private practice and in-house. Working internally within an accountancy firm, lawyers are being asked to be more than technical experts - they are often seen as trusted advisors and provide a wide array of expertise that goes beyond legal services. While the Big 4 have historically focused on practices that complement their audit and tax advisory businesses, such as tax, labour and employment, it is evident that they are increasingly branching out into other areas, including M&A. Particularly busy areas of growth include Corporate, Banking, and Finance, Data Protection, TMT, Intellectual Property, Real Estate, Employment, Private Client - meaning your scope of work is vast. You’re still offered the opportunity to work with multiple clients, ensuring that your remit is broad and involves varied work. However, within the Big 4 you are able to take a different approach to business development and utilise the vast internal network opposed to the traditional external business development – a much easier way to build your practice! Client secondments both in the UK and overseas are also frequent and encouraged. Last but not least, one of the key attractions for the Big 4 is the workplace culture. All of the Big 4 have been ranked in Fortune magazine's list of the 100 Best Places to Work and their capability to provide a genuinely flexible approach to working from home/remotely tends to be attractive. If you are considering a potential move into the Big 4, or for any of your Legal recruiting needs, contact David Bucknor on 020 7269 6332 or email david.bucknor@pro-legal.co.uk.

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