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Aaron Burton

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Aaron Burton

Associate Consultant - Legal

I joined the Pro-Family through the Associate Consultant Programme and am currently working as a part of the Legal team in a range of sectors.

 

Having considered Law as a potential degree, before finally opting for Philosophy, I now have the opportunity to reignite to my interest in Law and develop my knowledge of the Legal market through working closely with a range of Firms.

 

As a big film fanatic, I often finish a long day’s work with a movie; unless it’s champions league Tuesday.

 

If I wasn’t in recruitment, I would likely pursue my passion for film or explore the wide and exciting world of entertainment.

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BSB Releases Diversity at the Bar 2019 Report

Posted by Aaron Burton

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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November 2019: Legal Movers and Shakers

Posted by Aaron Burton

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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What Responsibilities Does a Legal Partner Have?

Posted by Aaron Burton

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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The Solicitor's Qualifying Exam (SQE): How the Legal Training Environment is Changing

Posted by Aaron Burton

The legal profession is approaching a new era for the training of junior lawyers with what the University of Law (ULaw) has called the 'biggest shake-up in legal education in decades'. The introduction of the Solicitor's Qualifying Exam, or the SQE, is set to change the way all solicitors qualify from 2021. So, what do we know so far? The Solicitor's Regulation Authority have been consulting on reforms to the training of lawyers since 2015, and Kaplan have now been appointed as the examination adjudicator and assessor. One of the biggest changes will be that students no longer have to study a Qualifying Law Degree. You will still need an undergraduate degree or the equivalent experience - and a law degree will give you a solid foundation and help you with your studies - but a QLD will no longer be a formal requirement. Not only this, but the SQE differs from the current legal training framework where students don't start training contracts until they've passed the Legal Practice Course (LPC). The new form of examination is set to replace both the LPC and Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) when it comes into force in September 2021. The SQE will be fundamentally different in that all law students will sit the same set of exams set by Kaplan no matter where or how they are studying, and going forward, the SRA will only use your SQE result to determine whether you have the knowledge and skills to become a solicitor. Michael Castle, UK Managing Partner at Deloitte Legal has said, 'The legal training environment is undergoing significant change to contend with a rapidly evolving legal landscape'. Deloitte Legal has worked closely with ULaw to develop a new, innovative training programme to prepare future trainees for the SQE, ultimately allowing them to be at the forefront of what Michael Castle described as 'an exciting new era in legal education and training'. The challenge for the likes of ULaw will be to come up with a variety of SQE courses and tailor these to meet the needs of different students, as well as law firms' requirements, but they also offer the exciting opportunity to rethink the content and structure of preparation courses to guide students into their careers in the legal profession. The new SQE training contracts will allow law students to take up their place straight out of university, meaning they are able to earn while gaining qualifying legal work experience before sitting their SQE examinations. Professor Andrea Nollent, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of ULaw views these new training contracts as a way for students to experience the real legal world earlier in their career and education. For ULaw, providing a practical, hands-on legal education is hugely important in nurturing the next generation of legal talent. The new and current systems will run alongside each other for some years to allow for a transition period, and the SRA has proposed that anyone who starts their legal training before the SQE is introduced will have the option to choose which route they would like to take - as long as the current process is completed within 11 years. The Legal Services Board has voiced concerns about the quality, cost and diversity impact of the Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam (SQE). 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 more work to be done and issues to be addressed before the new form of assessment is approved. You can read more about recent developments in our most recent article Legal Services Board Voices Concerns: SQE Still Has a Long Way to Go. The SQE presents a big change to the legal industry in terms of training and education of lawyers. There is nothing you need to do at this stage - exactly when the SQE will be formally introduced and what it will involve is still uncertain, but this will not be until 2021 at the earliest. The most important thing is keeping up-to-date with developments, and our legal recruitment experts are on hand to share all the information we have and to help ensure you are knowledgeable and informed when talking to potential employers. For more information on this article, or to speak to Aaron Burton about your search needs, contact him on 020 7269 6350 or aaron.burton@pro-legal.co.uk.

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