Helen Burton

Senior Lawyer with Ashurst


I have worked in the City for over 20 years, advising banks, private equity firms and corporates. As a transactional lawyer, whilst there is of course an underpinning of legal and market knowledge required, the biggest challenge is to lead a team and project manage a transaction, from inception to a successful conclusion. This will involve managing a team of lawyers across a variety of disciplines and jurisdictions around the world. In multi-jurisdictional transactions I have to manage both the local and overseas legal teams and translate the advice we receive from them to make it easily understandable for the client. I have to think laterally and pragmatically to work out how to structure around issues which regularly crop up and threaten to derail the process, and I have to deliver to very demanding clients an agreed deal, brokered between multiple stakeholders whilst satisfying the requirements of a variety of jurisdictions. Thus I can give an insight in to the dynamic environment, not just of an international law firm but of many of the players in the city of London.
I am particularly interested in diversity and social mobility, having helped set up our Diversity Committee in my firm over 10 years ago. I am the chair of our Women’s Networking Committee and work both internally and with our clients to improve the retention and promotion of talented women. We continue to lose high performing women from our organisations despite the talent of female graduates, and I think it is the responsibility of every senior woman to try and make the workplace a more attractive environment for all.
I am also the partner responsible for Graduate recruitment within the firm – we recruit 40 graduates each year in London as trainee solicitors. I oversee the recruitment process and accordingly have an insight in to the competitive nature of the world of work these days, and I can offer an insight in to what makes an applicant stand out.

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