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I am an Associate at a Global Law Firm. Ask me Anything!

Raam

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Apr 4, 2019
140
319
Hi @LM - thank you for doing this thread! I have two questions:

Firstly, can you go into a bit more detail about the tasks you did in your Antitrust seat (like legal research and merger filings)? And how did this seat help your understanding of M&A?

Secondly, what sort of technical knowledge would you say is valuable to stand out as a transactional lawyer (corporate/ finance)? (For example reading financial statements, understanding accounting, tax legislation etc.)

Thank you :)
 
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LM

Star Member
Associate
Forum Team
Jan 5, 2021
33
117
Hi @LM - thank you for doing this thread! I have two questions:

Firstly, can you go into a bit more detail about the tasks you did in your Antitrust seat (like legal research and merger filings)? And how did this seat help your understanding of M&A?

Secondly, what sort of technical knowledge would you say is valuable to stand out as a transactional lawyer (corporate/ finance)? (For example reading financial statements, understanding accounting, tax legislation etc.)

Thank you :)
Hi @Raam. Many thanks for your questions and of course, happy to go into further detail about my Antitrust seat. Specifically in regard to merger filings for a global M&A transaction, one of the common tasks for a trainee is to help conduct a jurisdictional analysis. Each country has their own individual filing requirements, which are predominantly determined based on the revenue generated by the business of the Buyer, the Seller and / or the Target. Each country will have different thresholds, which if met, result in a notification obligation being triggered to alert the relevant Competition Authority. Usually, the trainee will create a spreadsheet that sets out all the requirements for the various jurisdictions and provide their assessment of whether a filing should be made for each individual country. Another common task for a trainee is to prepare a preliminary market analysis. This involves researching merger cases that provide precedent decisions on how the market in question has been defined. It is the job of the Buyer's counsel to provide this analysis to the European Commission and the Commission shall then make an analysis of whether they deem the transaction to be anticompetitive or not. I am happy to provide further information regarding this area of law if you would find this helpful.

In regard to your second question, I wouldn't say there is specific set-knowledge that stands out transactional lawyers. That being said, at the associate level, transactional lawyers who have experience in a debt practice (i.e., a banking seat) generally have a more "holistic" understanding of M&A and thus, are able to provide additional advice to the client about structuring the transaction. Most transactions involve debt and therefore it is helpful to understand this side of a deal.

Hopefully this helps but please let me know if you would like any further information of any of the above.
 

Lumree

Legendary Member
Highest Rated Member
Jan 17, 2019
385
486
Hey @LM, thanks again for all your answers.

One question I’ve been wanting to ask is one often reserved for budding solicitors, but I think it’s really interesting to know from those that have gone through the process and are really establishing their career. So, why commercial law?
 
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LM

Star Member
Associate
Forum Team
Jan 5, 2021
33
117
Hi @Lumree. Thank you for your question. There is no clear "defining moment" that I can point to that made me choose a career in commercial law. I certainly didn't have any aspirations to be a lawyer when I was younger nor did I have any real interest at the beginning of university. However, it was through attending open days and vacation schemes that I started to find a real interest in the area and the role. I particularly enjoyed this idea of being an "advisor" to businesses; while we sometimes hide behind a mountain of paperwork, law requires you to form relationships with your clients. It is through these relationships that you start to understand how a business operates and what drives their decision making. Overall, every day I am learning something new, developing relationships internally and externally, with some incredibly smart people. This is why I chose and continue to choose a career in commercial law.
 
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Danielle J

New Member
Jan 14, 2020
2
0
Hi LM- thank you very much for creating this forum!!

I have two questions:

1) I wondered how it was to juggle work as a trainee. For example, when you were working on a specific task for an associate/partner, and a different colleague asked you to work on an urgent task, what do you think would be the best course of action?

2) Do you see many similarities between a trainee sitting in a corporate seat and a corporate paralegal? Do you know what kind of tasks are assigned to a corporate paralegal and is there anything a prospective paralegal can do to prepare for such a role?

Thank you very much!
 

LM

Star Member
Associate
Forum Team
Jan 5, 2021
33
117
Hi LM- thank you very much for creating this forum!!

I have two questions:

1) I wondered how it was to juggle work as a trainee. For example, when you were working on a specific task for an associate/partner, and a different colleague asked you to work on an urgent task, what do you think would be the best course of action?

2) Do you see many similarities between a trainee sitting in a corporate seat and a corporate paralegal? Do you know what kind of tasks are assigned to a corporate paralegal and is there anything a prospective paralegal can do to prepare for such a role?

Thank you very much!

Thanks, @Danielle J. Hopefully my responses below provide some help but please let me know if I can provide any additional detail:

Question 1 - This is a question I often get asked and there is no one correct way of tackling this issue. However, honesty really is the best policy. I would often force the question back onto the colleague; by this I mean, I would disclose what work I had on, express an interest in assisting but ask for their opinion on whether they thought I had time to assist. I am actually talking about this in more detail on Thursday's webinar so please do tune in!

Question 2 - There are huge similarities. The tasks that both a trainee and a paralegal can be involved in are pretty comparable. The tasks that come to mind include managing due diligence reports, communicating with other departments about their input, devising step plans, and managing signing / closing checklists. Some firms may only allow paralegals to do some of the tasks I have mentioned, while more experienced paralegals are often involved in all trainee tasks.
 

ZH

Esteemed Member
Trainee
  • Nov 14, 2019
    94
    155
    Hi @LM

    Thanks for sharing all your insights - this is a very interesting and useful thread :)

    I wanted to ask for your input/advice on how trainees can ensure they are always improving as they start a new seat, move into a new seat and make themselves ready for qualification and post-qualification (also anything they can do to stand out, stay focussed) - Any tips or things you implemented would be great!

    Thanks
     

    LM

    Star Member
    Associate
    Forum Team
    Jan 5, 2021
    33
    117
    Hi @ZH
    Hi @LM

    Thanks for sharing all your insights - this is a very interesting and useful thread :)

    I wanted to ask for your input/advice on how trainees can ensure they are always improving as they start a new seat, move into a new seat and make themselves ready for qualification and post-qualification (also anything they can do to stand out, stay focussed) - Any tips or things you implemented would be great!

    Thanks
    Hi @ZH. As per my previous answer, I would encourage you to attend my seminar tomorrow as I cover this topic in detail. In summary, you will always be improving, even if you don't think you are. Every single day that you work at a law firm, you will learn something new. However, it is those that take an active effort to reflect and implement the lessons learnt that progress the fastest. Therefore, my most useful tip for you is to seek feedback at every opportunity. The mid seat and full seat reviews are helpful for this, but this is not to say that these are the only times you can get feedback from your colleagues. In addition, try something that makes you feel uncomfortable or you know is an area you can improve on. As a trainee there is much more scope for you to make mistakes and you should take advantage of this.

    Hopefully this helps and I hope you can attend tomorrow!
     
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    Daniel Boden

    Legendary Member
    Future Trainee
    Highest Rated Member
  • Sep 6, 2018
    1,043
    2,543
    Hi @LM,

    Firstly thank you so much for giving up your time for the webinar earlier - it was so interesting hearing your advice and extremely beneficial that you are able to be so candid in your answers!

    I had a few questions regarding your experiences with pro bono work which I don't think you mentioned (please forgive me if you did as I had to step away for around 10-15 minutes).

    - Have you had much of an opportunity to get involved with any pro bono work and if so, how do you think it has helped you develop as a lawyer?
    - Aside from obviously how rewarding I can imagine it is, what skills do you think you have gained from it that regular fee-paying work perhaps doesn't always provide?
    - Do law firms actually 'prioritise' it or is this just corporate-speak? I can imagine that it is very firm-dependent but do you think that attitudes towards pro bono are slowly changing in the legal profession?

    Thanks again,
    Dan
     

    Raam

    Legendary Member
    Future Trainee
    Apr 4, 2019
    140
    319
    Hi @Raam. Many thanks for your questions and of course, happy to go into further detail about my Antitrust seat. Specifically in regard to merger filings for a global M&A transaction, one of the common tasks for a trainee is to help conduct a jurisdictional analysis. Each country has their own individual filing requirements, which are predominantly determined based on the revenue generated by the business of the Buyer, the Seller and / or the Target. Each country will have different thresholds, which if met, result in a notification obligation being triggered to alert the relevant Competition Authority. Usually, the trainee will create a spreadsheet that sets out all the requirements for the various jurisdictions and provide their assessment of whether a filing should be made for each individual country. Another common task for a trainee is to prepare a preliminary market analysis. This involves researching merger cases that provide precedent decisions on how the market in question has been defined. It is the job of the Buyer's counsel to provide this analysis to the European Commission and the Commission shall then make an analysis of whether they deem the transaction to be anticompetitive or not. I am happy to provide further information regarding this area of law if you would find this helpful.

    In regard to your second question, I wouldn't say there is specific set-knowledge that stands out transactional lawyers. That being said, at the associate level, transactional lawyers who have experience in a debt practice (i.e., a banking seat) generally have a more "holistic" understanding of M&A and thus, are able to provide additional advice to the client about structuring the transaction. Most transactions involve debt and therefore it is helpful to understand this side of a deal.

    Hopefully this helps but please let me know if you would like any further information of any of the above.

    Thank you so much for this @LM! This was invaluable to understanding a seat in Antitrust. I have two follow up questions:

    1) How does Antitrust inform your knowledge of other practice areas?
    2) Are there any resources or notable deals you recommend researching to understand Antitrust within M&A (and PE)?

    Also, thank you for the webinar last night, your advice was very interesting and helpful. I have a question about Covid-19.

    A number of partners at international law firms often speak about the 2008 financial crisis as a critical learning experience for their careers. For incoming trainees, what do you think we should try to understand about Covid-19 and its impact on the business world, and subsequently apply to our careers (particularly when working on transactions)?

    (Please forgive me if this question was asked on the webinar but I had to drop off before the end).
     

    A12345

    Active Member
    Premium Member
    Dec 18, 2018
    16
    9
    Hey! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! I am sorry if this question has been answered before!

    If there is an urgent task that needs to be completed and an associate/partner who is in charge of that matter - is away from the office - what is the best course of action you can take?
     

    LM

    Star Member
    Associate
    Forum Team
    Jan 5, 2021
    33
    117
    Hi @LM,

    Firstly thank you so much for giving up your time for the webinar earlier - it was so interesting hearing your advice and extremely beneficial that you are able to be so candid in your answers!

    I had a few questions regarding your experiences with pro bono work which I don't think you mentioned (please forgive me if you did as I had to step away for around 10-15 minutes).

    - Have you had much of an opportunity to get involved with any pro bono work and if so, how do you think it has helped you develop as a lawyer?
    - Aside from obviously how rewarding I can imagine it is, what skills do you think you have gained from it that regular fee-paying work perhaps doesn't always provide?
    - Do law firms actually 'prioritise' it or is this just corporate-speak? I can imagine that it is very firm-dependent but do you think that attitudes towards pro bono are slowly changing in the legal profession?

    Thanks again,
    Dan

    Hi @Daniel Boden.

    It was my pleasure and I am glad you enjoyed the webinar. I did see your question and my apologies that I was not able to answer it during the allotted time.

    Overall, during my training contract I had multiple opportunities to undertake pro bono work. At my Firm, pro bono counts towards my billable hours and we have dedicated associates who specialize in pro bono work. I have found it be fantastic for my development; supervisors for pro bono work are usually happy to give you the freedom to undertake as much work as you can take on. Further, most people who receive your help are grateful for any advice you can give them and thus, it feels like you're making a real difference. Finally, I do think that undertaking some form of pro bono work as a corporate trainee / associate is becoming the norm, which is obviously a fantastic trend.

    Hopefully this helps and please let me know if you have any further questions.
     
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    LM

    Star Member
    Associate
    Forum Team
    Jan 5, 2021
    33
    117
    Hey! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! I am sorry if this question has been answered before!

    If there is an urgent task that needs to be completed and an associate/partner who is in charge of that matter - is away from the office - what is the best course of action you can take?

    Hi @A12345. Thanks for the great question. I think the first course of action is to ask his / her PA. They will know if they are returning to the office soon and whether you can contact them on their mobile. Usually in these situations, it is always best to send them an email if you have any questions or concerns. Then, if they don't respond, you can ask other Associates or Partners in the (virtual) office if they have any other advice about how to handle the situation. Hope this helps!