Neil Burton > Mills & Reeve LLP > Cambridge, England > Lawyer Profile

Mills & Reeve LLP

Work Department

Charities and social enterprise; corporate and commercial.


Neil is head of charities at Mills & Reeve, with responsibility for its 250+ charity clients, which include many of the largest and best-known names in the UK and internationally. Neil is a commercial specialist and is involved in much of the firm’s cutting edge work for the sector, for example around alternative fundraising and innovative deal structures for charity, NGO, university and further education clients. He works closely with specialists in IP, tax, contested legacies and procurement to deliver complete and commercial solutions to his clients’ challenges, whatever and wherever their activities are. A large part of Neil’s work is international. He is part of a team that has advised universities on collaborations and new campuses in over 50 countries. He has been seconded to leading law firms in China, India, Abu Dhabi and Qatar and is the head of firm’s Middle East desk. Neil is also a Notary Public.


Trained Mills & Reeve; qualified 2002; partner 2012. Neil is editor of Mills & Reeve’s Charity Legal Update newsletter.


Neil is a member and active contributor to: Charity Finance Group; Charity Tax Group, Charity Law Association, and the European Association for Philanthropy and Giving.


University of Cambridge (Notarial Practice); University of Leicester.

Lawyer Rankings

Yorkshire and the Humber > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

Mark Ashton heads up the Leeds charity team at Mills & Reeve LLP, with national head Neil Burton based between Cambridge and London. The team advises high-profile charities nationally and regionally on complex matters, with specific expertise regarding education charities. Newly promoted partners Rebecca Pallot and Andrea Newman lead on charity employment and real estate work, respectively.

West Midlands > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

Neil Burton , who divides his time between the London and Cambridge offices, heads the department at Mills & Reeve LLP – it continues to work with many major charities. Lucy Howard specialises in contested legacy matters. Howard regularly advises charities on the validity of will provisions and acts on their behalf in relation to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Principal associate, Adam Williams, specialises in governance and charity law regulation. Williams has advised universities throughout the country on charity law issues and acts for a number of the biggest Midlands charities. In addition, Williams leads the firm’s philanthropy offering.

London > Public sector > Education: schools

Mills & Reeve LLP‘s education team stands out for its ability to advise large independent schools and multi-academy trusts on debt finance transactions, having assisted a number of schools and educational foundations on high-value private placements, and is also well-regarded for its advice on charity law matters as well as employment and safeguarding issues. Charity expert Neil Burton jointly leads the national education practice with Gary Attle and Martin Priestley. For financial matters, Sarah Seed is a key contact, while Richard Sykes is well-regarded for his understanding of sensitive student matters.

London > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

Neil Burton continues to lead the practice at Mills & Reeve LLP, which advises all types of charities on a wide spectrum of issues. Areas of recent growth have included advising membership organisations, education charities, and health charities. The group is also adept at handling a diverse range of matters such as alternative fundraising and philanthropy issues. Sarah Seed has considerable experience in debt capital markets, and has a particular emphasis on the not-for-profit and public sectors.

East Anglia > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

(Leading individuals)

Neil BurtonMills & Reeve LLP

The charities and social enterprise practice at Mills & Reeve LLP advises an impressive array of charity clients, among them the Francis Crick Institute, The Children’s Trust and the Institution of Engineering and Technology. ‘Exceptional lawyer’ and practice head Neil Burton, charity finance-focused Sarah Seed, fundraising specialist Dona Ardeman, and employment expert Nicola Brown are some of the key practitioners to note in the Cambridge office. The team stands out for its ability to ‘clearly identify risks and best approaches’. Principal associate Nathalie Jacoby-Danesh moved to Browne Jacobson LLP in April 2023.