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Henry Hillier

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Henry Hillier

Consultant - Legal

The team and I focus exclusively on private practice recruitment and we work with the top UK headquartered City law firms, London-based US firms, leading west-end boutiques and offshore practices covering all specialist areas including Commercial Litigation, Construction, Property, Mergers & Acquisitions, Banking & Finance, Insurance - to name but a few.

 

Over the past two years, I have developed a strong reputation as a legal recruiter thanks to the bespoke service that I provide my candidates and clients, my general understanding (from both a personal and professional sense), honesty and integrity. I have become a specialist in the London market, and frequently assist associates looking to move over from Australia and New Zealand.

 

On a personal note, I’m an avid QPR fan, so I’m always disappointed on a Saturday!

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What people say about Henry

Henry was a pleasure to work with - guided and supported me through the process and was available 24/7 to answer any questions. His advice was invaluable and I would highly recommend.


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henry's articles

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What to Expect from Different Types of Law Firm

Posted by Henry Hillier

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 henry.hillier@pro-legal.co.uk.

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How to Choose a Legal Recruiter

Posted by Henry Hillier

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 henry.hillier@pro-legal.co.uk.

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IR35 - What's Changed?

Posted by Henry Hillier

For years, the stigma of IR35 has been a concern for working Contractors across the board in the Public Sector, however, up until now the ‘impossibility’ of HMRC policing such an issue has allowed the majority of contractors to operate outside (whether they legitimately are or not!). So what has changed? As of 5th April this year, the liability on IR35 status and correct tax reductions have shifted from the contractor’s Personal Service Company (PSC) to the end client and agency payrolling the contractor. What does this mean and what have been the ramifications thus far? Well, the most apparent change is everyone involved has become more risk-averse, in the fear of being liable for up to 7 years of back-dated tax payments to HMRC. The end organisations, who are legally responsible for deeming whether an assignment falls inside or out, are largely taking the risk-free approach and are stating that everyone is ‘inside’. This has, in turn, meant that each assignment has received less interest by true professional interim contractors (who are used to consultancy-like assignments), and has limited the talent pool. For those that have accepted the changes, it has meant that they have to operate through an additional intermediary, such as an Umbrella company – where the contractor is forced to pay full tax and National Insurance (at 13.8%) at the source. Conversely, we have seen many contractors who have put themselves through the HMRC tool, deemed themselves as out, and have the prerogative to challenge the clients and ask at least for the due diligence that has led to their ‘inside’ decision. We have also seen a number of Housing and Charitable organisations who have managed to stipulate, quite confidently, that they are outside, and have been able to offer ‘outside’ IR35 assignments. The risk that professional interims take differs to that of a permanent member of staff. When professional interim finish an assignment there is no guarantee that they will secure the next assignment anytime soon. A contractor could quite easily see themselves out of work 2-3 months at any time whilst they look for another opportunity. A lot of interims also have their own specialist remits such as a particular system implementation, culture transformation and reviewing financial processes and procedures to name a few. Professional interims are important for all companies going through change. Change can be difficult for any organisation that is going through the transition as it means going into something new without reassurance that it is going to work for the better. A lot of projects/assignments focus around someone who has gone through this change period and perform the same project for different organisations. If every permanent member of staff stayed at their company for a year on average just to move on to another company this would cause a huge disruption in the market. One of the important factors for someone to consider permanent over interim is having that security and stability. Every person is different and in the same respect, everyone’s motivators are different. With the IR35 changes, should contractors really have to take a hit in the public sector whilst the private sector remains unaffected?

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How to Use FinTech to Enhance Your Legal Career

Posted by Henry Hillier

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 henry.hillier@pro-legal.co.uk.

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7 Steps To Getting A Promotion In Your Legal Career

Posted by Henry Hillier

Do you think it’s time for your promotion? The thing to note about career progression is that you’ll need more than simply the correct experience. Knowing what else you need to address with your employer, as well as how to bring the issue up, can be the key to getting your desired outcome from the conversation. Here are 7 handy steps you can take to get the promotion you’re after to propel your legal career. 1. Ask your employer The first thing to do is make sure you’ve stated your aspirations to your manager in clear terms. Set up a meeting with the appropriate authority to talk about your career, and the direction you’d like to take it in. Make clear how you see yourself progressing, and offer an ideal timeframe. Letting your employer know what your goals are may further incline them to move you up when the opportunity arises. An ideal conversation would also expose you to the opportunities currently available within your organisation. This should help you plan your next move. Generally, higher positions will involve greater freedom and autonomy, but also greater responsibility. You can’t go wrong by requesting greater responsibilities. Signalling a wish to do more important work should make your intentions clear in a non-obtrusive way. The old saying goes: ask and you shall receive. The first step, then, is to ask. 2. Sell yourself If asking alone got us the results we wanted, we would all be living out fully idealised lives. You need to do more than just ask – you need to display your credentials. Take notes of the work you’ve done to help your firm reach its strategic goals. Keep these achievements in a log, and make them prominent during your meeting with your manager. Beware: stating that you simply deserve to be moved up is by itself not a good tactic. Showing why you’re an important asset to the firm is better. Basically, you need to quantify your results. You might even show them some of your lesser-known accomplishments. Try to promote yourself in a way that also casts your colleagues in a better light. 3. Acquire additional skills Often, your current experience may not cover the requirements for a promoted position. Some positions you would like may require additional qualifications or skills, required even for internal applicants. Find out what these requirements are and take matters into your own hands by acquiring them. As technological skills change rapidly, you need an ever-increasing skill set to keep up and stay ahead of the game. Spending extra time to learn new things for a role you want is almost always worth it. If for some reason you miss the promotion, you’ll still have gained a new skill to add to your CV, which will help you if you choose to seek a new job. 4. Move sideways Instead of keeping your eyes on the role above you, perhaps try looking to the side. Sometimes a movement to a different but related niche or a different role at your same level may be a more lucrative career move. Not every promotion involves a direct movement upwards. This is especially useful in cases where someone directly above you is blocking your progression. Trying new responsibilities may even come with a pay rise or more flexible hours. You’ll gain new skills and expand your portfolio, which better equips you for when it’s time to move up. 5. Start asking questions Building a strong team allows managers to outsource expertise to their employees. As an employee, you should ask your questions to demonstrate your own value. There’s no creed that dictates employees must agree unequivocally with everything managers say. At times, it’s better to be inquisitive. But there has to be a balance: interested is not the same as irritating. Learn how to inquire with integrity, with the correct backup, and when to continue. 6. Realise your shortcomings It’s easy to take credit when things go well. Showing that you’re able to take blame when things go wrong, however, is a greater display of responsibility. It’s generally nicer to admit to your own failures and work on them, rather than hear about them from someone else. When things aren’t running smoothly, communicate this with your manager in a professional manner. The next step is to make clear how you’ll improve the situation, and show willingness to tackle it. Promotions are about accountability just as much as pay rises. Prove your accountability and maturity, and the rewards will come. 7. Keep working hard Amidst all this, it’s important to keep a cool head and remain focused on the work you’ve been currently delegated. Taking time to consider greater goals and larger-scale projects is useful, but not at the expense of your day job! Promotions are rarely certain. If you struggle with your current work, you’ll have a harder time convincing those above you that you’re suited for more senior responsibilities. If you feel like you’re stuck in a position with no progression, the industry experts here at Pro-Legal can help you find your next career move. For more information on this article, or for Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact Henry on 020 7269 6328 or henry.hillier@pro-legal.co.uk.

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