What can I do for you?
I head up our nationally recognised charity sector group, which advises over 250 charities both nationally and internationally. My work for our charity, NGO, university and further education clients includes charity law, trading and commercial activities, grant and donation agreements, governance and constitutional matters and mergers/restructures. As part of a commercial full service firm I am able to draw upon our great team of specialist lawyers (covering for example IP, contested legacies and procurement) to ensure that we can assist charities with all their legal issues and commercial challenges whatever and wherever their activities are.
A large part of my work is international. I am part of team that has advised universities on collaborations and new campuses in over 50 countries. I have been seconded to leading law firms in China, India, Abu Dhabi and Qatar and am the head of firm’s Middle East desk.
Supporting my clients’ objectives
A real highlight for me was leading our team and advising on the merger of two major London further education colleges with a combined 20,000 students. I was proud to be involved in this complex 15-month project. The Vice Principal of the College commented in the press release that "the merger went through very smoothly and efficiently thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of the Mills & Reeve team".
I particularly enjoy working with clients over a long period of time, which leads to me gaining an in-depth understanding of their business and commercial issues. For example, over the last ten years I have advised and project managed a significant number of acquisitions and joint ventures for Cambridge University Press (including in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Singapore as well as many in the UK).
What do others say?
Legal 500 notes that "rising star Neil Burton is ‘practical, quick witted, diplomatic and willing to go the extra mile’."
One of my favourite comments came from the Head of Legal of a Government body who described me in an independent client review as "meticulous, fast, practical...an absolute gem... at board meetings he has the right level of gravitas". Another client reported, "Neil was absolutely first class in the way he handled the transaction for us.... the dedication Neil showed to seeing this transaction through was outstanding".
What else should you know?
I am a member and active participant in Charity Finance Group, Charity Tax Group, Charity Law Association, and the European Association for Philanthropy and Giving.
I am also a practising Notary Public, which enables me to notarise and organise apostille/legalisation of legal documents for use overseas. My notary work combined with my corporate work has enabled me to advise clients on wide range of overseas transactions (eg incorporation and managing foreign subsidiaries and offices).
Secondment roles as stand-in Head of Legal at Imperial College, London, a telecommunications company and the University of Essex give me an enhanced understanding of the commercial issues which clients face coupled with how our clients’ businesses operate.