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David Bucknor

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David Bucknor

Associate Consultant - Legal

I joined Pro-Group through the Associate Consultant programme, and am currently working within the Pro-Legal team. I focus on the recruitment of qualified solicitors across all commercial practice areas into permanent positions. My clients range from leading US and UK international City firms through to a number of West-end and boutique practices.

 

Outside of work I’m very sociable, I enjoy going for drinks and nights out with friends as well as playing sports on the weekend. I’m a massive music fan and listen to most genres depending on my mood.

 

If I wasn't in recruitment, I'd be a DJ and Music Producer or travelling in Australia!

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February 2020: Legal Movers and Shakers

Posted by David Bucknor

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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Legal - What's in Store for 2020?

Posted by David Bucknor

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

Posted by David Bucknor

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?

Posted by David Bucknor

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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