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Nick Allen

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Nick Allen

Head of Legal

I manage the Legal Recruitment Team at Pro-Legal, placing legal professionals of all levels into a wide range of businesses in the financial services, entertainment, sports and retail industries. We provide a first-class service, informed and transparent process for our clients and candidates. 

I previously worked as a finance solicitor for an international law firm before moving into recruitment in 2013. I have therefore developed an in-depth knowledge of the legal sector and have a strong network of legal professionals in industry as well as private practice.

Outside of work, I have a keen interest in craft beer (and part own a micro-brewery), so you are likely to find me wandering the streets of London in search of the perfect pint. Occasionally, I’ll try to balance this out by jumping on a bike or swinging some golf clubs around. 

If I was not in recruitment, I would be making beer/ playing drums in a rock band.

nick's latest roles

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What people say about Nick

Nick is an excellent recruiter and found me the exact role I was looking for. He was alive to my preferences and brought great opportunities to the table. 

Nick's efforts made all the difference when I decided to move into a new role on qualification. Unlike many recruiters, Nick really listened to the kind of environment I wanted to move into.

Nick was extremely helpful and professional. When I first contacted him he was happy to meet and gave me some excellent general advice without pressure as I was unsure of whether to move roles.

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Companies Nick has worked with

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This company provides senior debt, subordinated debt and mid-market direct loans to companies in Europe and the US.  Placed an experienced legal advisor into the legal team.

This company works with a range of high-level investors such as superannuation and pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurers. Assisted in the placement of a mid-level funds lawyer into the legal team.

This company provides a range of structured investments up to £100m and have a significant presence in Europe. Placed a senior debt lawyer into the legal team.

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nick's articles

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A Glamorous Night at the Legal Business Awards 2019

Posted by Nick Allen

It was a pleasure to host Vanessa Harvey (Milbank), Russ Hill (Squire Patton Boggs), Andrew Pannel (MJ Hudson), Emma-Louise Curley (MJ Hudson) and Justin Edgar (DWF) on our table at the coveted 22nd Annual Legal Business Awards this year, which took place on the 28th March, in the Grosvenor House Hotel. It was a fantastic evening, hosted by comedian Meeral Syal, celebrating the achievements of the legal profession’s finest. The awards catered to and highlighted the work of international firms operating in multiple jurisdictions, boutique law firms, alternative legal services providers, in-house teams, chambers, national and regional practices in the UK. A huge congratulations to all the winners, as well as all the nominees - for being recognised for their efforts in pioneering and spearheading the significance of the legal sector and profession. Pro-Legal were honoured to sponsor the Boutique Firm of the Year Award, a category that highlights some of the firms doing things differently in the market. A huge congratulations to all those nominated for the award as to reach that stage takes a great deal of work and effort. Cook, Young & Keidan came highly commended by the judges, however, it was sports-focused firm, Northridge Law, that took home the title along with our sincere congratulations. You’ll find some pictures of the evening HERE >>. Thanks LBA, we will see you next year! 2019 Winners Boutique Law Firm of the Year - Northridge Law Chambers of the Year - 3 Verulam Buildings Commercial Litigation Team of the Year - Simmons & Simmons/Travers Smith Competition Team of the Year - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Corporate Team of the Year - Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher CSR Programme of the Year - Hogan Lovells Energy/Infrastructure Team of the Year - Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner/Heathrow Airport/Pinsent Masons Finance Team of the Year - Davis Polk & Wardwell GC of the Year - Lucy Vernall In-House Team of the Year - Network Rail Insurance Team of the Year - Herbert Smith Freehills International Arbitration Team of the Year - King & Spalding International Firm of the Year - A&L Goodbody Law Firm of the Year - Pinsent Masons Lawyer of the Year - Richard Miskella Legal Technology Team of the Year - Bird & Bird Management Partner of the Year - Nick Thomas Private Client Team of the Year - Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Private Equity Team of the Year - Kirkland & Ellis Real Estate Team of the Year - Clifford Chance/Eversheds Sutherland/Network Rail Regional/Offshore Firm of the Year - Ogier Restructuring Team of the Year - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year - Frances Coats TMT Team of the Year - Bird & Bird US Law Firm of the Year - White & Case For more information on the 2019 Legal Business Awards or to speak to our team of Legal recruiters, contact Nick on 02072696328 or nick.allen@pro-legal.co.uk.

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March 2019: Legal Movers and Shakers

Posted by Nick Allen

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the legal sector. Here are the key movements in March: Womble Bond Dickinson has made a headline appointment into their White Collar Crime Team, having welcomed Audrey Koh from Sidley Austin. Koh previously worked at the Serious Fraud Office. Fox Williams has recently added Rhys Griffiths to the partnership who has joined from Fieldfisher to head up the Travel Group. DWF has welcomed a new addition to their Banking & Finance Group, Brendan Slack, who has arrived from Dentons. Slack will be leading the Real Estate Finance Team in London as well as sitting in the Energy & Infrastructure Group. Akin Gump has announced an impressive double hire in the private equity funds space of Daniel Quinn and Aleksander Bakic. Quinn and Bakic will be joining the firm’s Investment Management Practice from O’Melveny & Myers. For more information about this article, or to speak to Nick about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696328 or nick.allen@pro-legal.co.uk

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60 Seconds with Carla Roberts - Head of Legal Services and WTT Legal Ltd.

Posted by Nick Allen

Carla 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. What made you want to become a lawyer? My father was a lawyer, my brother was a lawyer, and I worked as a claims adjuster dealing with lawyers- so it just seemed a natural progression! What does WTT do well? We are viewed as trusted advisors to their contractors, many of whom are faced with difficult (and often life-changing) tax demands and issues. We established the action group “Big Group” which has provided contractors directly affected by HMRC’s legislative changes with a collaborative voice. What’s your favourite thing about working for WTT? WTT is a dynamic, forward-thinking organisation of professionals - this is a refreshing change from the usual corporate non-flexible model adapted by most large companies. What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago on how to shape your career? I think I’ve been very lucky to have been able to mould my career around a few skills which are transferrable. I worked in the insurance sector for over 20 years but because I had compliance and legal qualifications, I was able to seek new career opportunities in entirely different sectors - i.e. recruitment and employment law. I therefore think that it is important not to focus entirely on one skill during your career – by diversifying you are able to have a much more interesting (and marketable) future. When is the right time to start building your network and how is best to achieve this? I still have connections from my first job as a claims adjuster in California- it’s never too early to network. Who has had the greatest influence on your career? When I moved to England from California in 1996, I wasn’t qualified to practice law here, so I accepted a job for a loss adjusting company. Whilst I was there my manager offered to subsidise the cost of the QLTT over a 3 year period (Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test). As we were a young family with limited income, I would not have been able to afford that cost on my own. That opportunity therefore allowed me to qualify as a lawyer in the UK- I will always be grateful for that. What qualities do you look for in potential candidates hoping to join your team? Enthusiasm, intelligence and a desire to learn. What do you think will be some of the major changes to the legal profession in the future? 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 relatively new ABS model has allowed law firms to bring in non-lawyers and I think that this more open-minded approach will enhance the profession. How will flexible and agile working impact law firms in the future? 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. How can lawyers and firms ensure they are at the forefront of progress and innovation in the legal market? 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! For more information about this article, or to speak to Nick about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696328 or nick.allen@pro-legal.co.uk

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60 Seconds With: William Robins, Partner at Keystone Law

Posted by Nick Allen

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago on how to make Partner? I’d say take a hard look at what a partner really does. Partners these days do less and less law. They are managers and politicians. If you decide this is why you went to law school, then start building the political alliances you’ll need to join the partnership and steel yourself for the marked transition. If you’d rather spend your time practising law, then partnership’s probably not for you. If so, your client base is your currency. Build that up, make sure it personal and portable. Then you will be hot property as a legal director, of counsel or a consultant solicitor at one of the challenger law firms such as my own, Keystone Law. What does Keystone Law do well? Keystone is the most agile firm in the world. If money’s your thing; then Keystone can offer you a platform to a seven-figure income. If you are looking for balance, then Keystone lets you set that balance absolutely. You can work how you want, where you want and for whom you want – again all while earning around 75% of the value of your practice and being part of a vibrant collegiate law firm. Like for like, Keystone lawyers are paid between two and three times as much as counterparts in traditional private practices, or the same but doing between half or a third the hours. What is your biggest bugbear about CVs? Personal interests. People seem to leave these out these days and they shouldn’t. All the best lawyers have a life outside work. It’s part of what makes them a good lawyer. So don’t be shy, put it on your CV. You might find your interview is much more interesting and you land a role based on who you are not what you know. How would your team describe you? Committed! They also call me Wikipedia, I think that’s a compliment. If not in law, what would the dream be? That’s a tough one, I’d never want to leave the law entirely behind. Maybe working on a legal startup with a bunch of other entrepreneurs. If you ask our lawyers though, I know what they’d say. Lawyers at Keystone can if they want have a portfolio career and thus the best of both worlds. We have a lawyer who also runs an amazing charity in Africa, one who is a part-time general counsel and another who runs his own fund. Biggest superstition/fear? I am not superstitious and thankfully I don’t have much to fear. I don’t like letting people down though. Not sure if that counts. What is your morning routine before work? Up at 5.30, bike to the tube, work on non-confidential emails on the train, hit the desk at 7.30. Skiing or beach? Beach every time. Who is your hero? I don’t have one, but I very much admire music with a message, art that captures realism and emotion and sportsmen and women who show amazing dedication. If you want one for this week: Philippe Gilbert on the Tour De France. What a legend. He suffered a big fall where in 1995 Fabio Casartelli crashed and died. He got back on his bike and powered through the remaining 60km of the stage… with a broken kneecap. What is your life hack / top tip? Can I have two? 1) Emotional intelligence wins the day. Don’t just think about the question you are asked, think about who is asking it. 2) Carpe diem and I don’t mean time recording!

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London Legal Walk 2018

Posted by Nick Allen

Pro-Legal joined over 13,000 people (and a few canine pals) taking part in the 2018 10k London Legal Walk this week. The event aims to raise funds to support free legal advice charities in London and the South East, and with the sun shining, what better way to spend a Monday afternoon out of the office? The walk was punctuated by a photo competition of various themes, which included the funniest photo category, in response to which Nick Allen’s suggestion for us all to jump into the Serpentine’s pedalos, somehow didn’t inspire any volunteers… The event was a real joy to be part of and walkers were rewarded for their efforts with a street party behind the Royal Courts of Justice, which offered food, entertainment, and a well-deserved cold beer! Total donations have yet to be announced, but we're all close to beating last year's record of £800,000, which is raised for the vulnerable people in our community, where access to justice is out of reach. There was an impressive turn out from all the leading law firms (some of whom seemed to have the whole firm in attendance!) it can only have been a successful day for a great cause. Bring on next year’s walk!

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April 2018 : Legal Movers & Shakers

Posted by Nick Allen

Pinsent Masons have brought Florian Traub on board to establish the firm’s European brand portfolio management team. Traub, who joins from Squire Patton Boggs, is a dual qualified English solicitor and German Rechtsanwalt specialising in brand protection strategies and portfolio management. Global US firm Goodwin made headlines this month by appointing four partners from Dechert, including corporate partners to launch a European life sciences practice. These individuals include London corporate partners Andrew Harrow and Graham Defries, alongside New York corporate partner Kristopher Brown and New York counsel Jonathan Schur. Russell-Cooke appointed Kizzy Augustin from Pinsent Masons as a partner in its fraud and criminal litigation team, specialising in health and safety. This move will help bolster Russell-Cooke’s growing offering, especially in the area of defending companies, senior directors and employees in corporate manslaughter. DWF made big moves by bringing on board two key Private Client lawyers for their London office in the form of Amanda Chapman and Roger Holman, both from leading west-end firm Brecher. Amanda and Roger are highly-regarded practitioners and have extensive experience in UK and cross-border succession, estate and tax planning. For more information about this article, or to speak to Nick about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696328 or nick.allen@pro-legal.co.uk

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Legal Business Awards 2018

Posted by Nick Allen

What a fantastic night had at the Legal Business Awards 2018! It was a pleasure to host Simon Tysoe (Latham & Watkins), Steven Tregear (Russells), Simon Esplen (Russells), Hugh Gardner (Marriott Harrison), James Ashe-Taylor (Constantine Cannon) and Daniel Lloyd (TLT) on our table and share what was a great evening, learning about the achievements of the legal profession’s finest as the awards played out. Huge congratulations to all the winners, as well as all the nominees - just recognition for what has no doubt been hard work to get to this point. A special mention to those nominated for the Boutique Law Firm of the Year award, which Pro-Legal were honoured to sponsor. GQ Employment took the trophy home along with our sincere congratulations. We are very much looking forward to next year’s awards already! Shout-out to Mark Bailey, our guest tweeter for the night. Here are a few pictures from the night.

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Fake news: the truth about US firms

Posted by Nick Allen

Speaking to candidates daily, one of the statements I regularly hear from them is: ‘I wouldn’t want to work at a US law firm, I value my work/life balance.’ It is interesting to note that the perception around the market is that you are guaranteed to be doing 20-hour days the moment you set foot in a US firm, and, whilst I understand this perception in many cases, it is fair to say is that it is often quite far from the truth. What makes working at a US law enticing is their typically impressive remuneration packages. You’ll get certain firms paying astronomical amounts of money (think K&E, Skadden, Milbank etc), but you’ll also find firms paying above market-rate with the expectation that you work the same number of hours as any of the Top UK firms would do. Thus, for many candidates, joining a US firm where they will get paid substantially more than a UK firm, yet won’t see much of a difference in their working hours becomes a no-brainer. Once they go in for interviews and this point is clarified by recruiting partners, they seem surprised and pleased to know that such opportunities exist within the market. Chargeable hours targets at many US firms we work with [such as Morgan Lewis, Pillsbury, McDermott, Will & Emery and Faegre Baker Daniels] are often as low as 1,500, which is quite a step away from what many would expect. Putting aside a common misconception about US firms being too specialised and only working in specific or niche practice areas, many US firms in London can now boast full-service offerings to their respective clients. This was not the case as recently as ten years ago, where their offices in London were satellites to the US (and were typically working on their time). Major players like Skadden, White & Case, Shearman & Sterling now offer a full range of services to their clients, and historically smaller players such as Morgan Lewis, McDermott Will & Emery, Katten Munchin and Pillsbury are making big names for themselves in the London market by adding breadth and depth to their offerings. Some candidates express concerns that the level of training they would receive at a US firm will not be as good as that at a top UK firm, and whilst that may once have been the case, there are plenty of US firms that have benefitted from multi-partner/team moves away from UK firms in recent history, bringing across a wealth of training and precedent materials. What this means in fact, is that you’ve got well-established teams, who have benefitted from the training and development at leading UK firms now working at US firms. So, provided you pick the right kind of US firm (and there are plenty who fall into this category), you will be able to benefit from a team that has a culture in training their lawyers in the way you would expect a UK firm to. Another gripe about US firms I tend to hear is about culture: ‘Yes, I may get paid well, but I’ve heard that US firms are cut-throat and dog-eat-dog.’ Again, whilst there may be pockets of certain firms where this might be relevant, the feedback I receive from candidates and clients I speak with is altogether different, suggesting it is unfair to paint all US firms with this brush. I have placed candidates into several US firms who have remarked that they are enjoying their time at their new firms as a direct result of the collegiate and tight-knit culture. It’s reassuring to hear that the message being put across during the interview stage rings true. Furthermore, firms having experienced US mergers of late, such as Eversheds Sutherland, Hogan Lovells, Squire Patton Boggs, BLP, have managed to retain their original culture post-merger. The legal market is changing rapidly and London is still seeing a huge rise in the number of US firms operating in the capital and the growth of those that are more established in the market, which creates a great deal of opportunity for ambitious lawyers. For more information about this article, or to speak to Nick about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696328 or nick.allen@pro-legal.co.uk.

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