Jolyon studied Law at Reading University. He joined the firm in September 2011. He is currently in the third seat of his training contract, and is on a six-month secondment to Auckland.
"One of the most interesting transactions that I’ve worked on was in the dispute resolution department where there was a potential fraud and, one of the first things that got me into law, was the idea of just going to a courtroom and seeing barristers argue and solicitors helping advise them. And it was really good to see the entire legal process, from start to finish, and being instructed by our solicitors and seeing the barristers arguing the case in front of the judge. And, as a trainee, getting that experience down at the High Court was fantastic and something that I’d always wanted to be involved in."
Vassilena studied Law at Cambridge University. She completed our summer work experience scheme in 2007 and joined the firm in September 2010. As part of her first seat, Vassilena was seconded to our Brussels office for three months and, as part of her fourth seat, she was seconded to New York for six months. She qualified in September this year and is now working in our Competition group.
"During my time in Competition, I was involved in a number of large transactions by multi-national clients which had to go through the European Merger Regulation procedure. My role involved drafting the initial competition analyses for the various different member states where the products were being sold. It was great to be given so much responsibility so early on in my training contract. During my time in Brussels, I was involved in a number of large abuse of dominance and cartel activity investigations, where I was doing pieces of research which were subsequently incorporated into notes of advice sent to the client and into submissions made to the European Commission. One of these investigations particularly was unfolding in the press as I was working on it, so it was very exciting to be involved."
Eysha studied Philosophy at UCL. She joined the firm in September 2011. She is currently in the third seat of her training contract, working in our Real Estate group.
"One of the most exciting aspects of the work we do here is that you will read about it in the newspapers: it is incredibly high profile, and that is very exciting."
Kurt studied English and Law at Cambridge University. He joined the firm in September 2009. Kurt completed a six-month secondment to New York in the 4th seat of his training contract. He qualified in September 2011 and is now working in one of our Corporate and Commercial groups.
"In terms of work, I’ve been working on a tender offer for a US-listed company. That pretty much involves running with the disclosure exercise and the diligence process, producing the ancillary documents for filing. I’ve also drafted press releases and adverts for publication and I have printed proof of an advert for the Wall Street Journal, which I’m keeping as a souvenir."
Graham is our Executive Partner and is responsible for our trainees. He studied Law at Oxford University and joined the firm in 1978. He became a partner in our Commercial Real Estate group in 1987 and was Head of the group from 1997 to 2008. He was appointed Executive Partner in 2008.
"It’s very difficult to pick out highlights, but if I think of transactions that stick in the memory... I worked on the financing of the new Wembley Stadium, in fact two goes at the financing of the Wembley Stadium, and that was very dramatic, with an exciting closing meeting with a lot of high-profile personalities there signing documents. So that was very high-profile - the sort of thing that your children are impressed by when they see it in the paper. And one of the other I suppose high spots of my career that I remember is acting on the development of the Center Parcs at Longleat, because that went from the very beginning when we were with the client team and they were planning what they might do; negotiations with the Longleat Estate over acquiring the land interest, how Center Parcs would be planned; then dealing with the planning enquiry which meant getting down to all sorts of detail of how the lighting in the car park was going to be done; understanding the historical background of the Longleat Estate; why it had been set out in a particular way; and then winning the planning enquiry; getting the planning consent; and then dealing with all of the contracts for the construction and development of the site; culminating, rather nicely, in a week during the soft opening of the Center Parcs, when they invited a lot of professional advisers to go and stay for a long weekend. So that was a great project to be involved in - to understand what the clients were trying to achieve, their philosophy behind the Center Parcs project: that was a big highlight."
Thomas studied Law at Sheffield University. He joined the firm in September 2010. As part of his fourth seat, Thomas was seconded to Stockholm for six months. He qualified in September this year and is now working in one of our Corporate and Commercial groups.
"The most interesting deal I worked on was probably in my first seat - I was in a corporate seat. One of the partners sort of dreamed up a new way of doing mergers, using these regulations that I don’t think had ever been used before. So, as a trainee, there was a lot of research going on, a lot of questions to be answered. We felt quite involved from the start and we felt like we were doing something a bit different that hadn’t been done before. It was quite a long process - it took about four months and so I was involved all the way through and it took up all of my time in that seat. I think there’s something to be gained from that because you feel part of the team and you feel like you can add something because you understand what’s going on."
Afi studied law at Cambridge University. She joined the firm in March 2009. She qualified in March 2011 and is now working in one of our Financing groups.
"I think the highlight of my training was seeing one of the deals I worked on in the FT – this was a GlaxoSmithKline deal. Seeing it in the FT was such a buzz, and you actually feel like what you do matters because it’s right there in print. I remember my friend, one of the trainees I was working on it with, emailed me to say 'Yeah, we are in the FT, our names might not be in there but we are still in the FT!' [laughs]. I thought that was just great, and I can see why people get such a buzz from working on big deals because it’s there, and everyone else can see it and you feel like what you are doing would actually, you know, matter to a corporation. So yeah… it’s good."
Siobhán studied Law at Trinity College, Dublin. She joined the firm in September 2009. She qualified in September 2011 and is now working in our Dispute Resolution group.
"I’ve actually had a really diverse range of work, which I think I’ve been really lucky with. I was in Competition for my first six months. Well, you do two three-month seats with two different supervisors, so I was involved in two completely different things. First, I worked on a merger that was being notified in Europe - so actually looking at how that’s affecting the markets across every country in Europe - that was a really big deal and really interesting to work on. Then my second three months was on something completely different, where we were responding to a government consultation. I was given the task of writing the firm’s response, our submission on behalf of the client, in response to that government consultation. So they were two completely different pieces of work, but within the same department. I’ve had a really wide range of work, which has been really interesting for me."
Sarah and Robert are our trainee solicitor recruitment partners. Sarah studied Law at Birmingham University and joined the firm as an associate in 1993. She became a partner in our Dispute Resolution group in 1999. Robert studied Law at Bristol University and joined the firm as a trainee in 1998. He became a partner in one of our Financing groups in 2007.
"Well, we’re really fortunate in the firm in that we have a most amazing client list of multi-nationals… financial institutions, so we’ve got a corporate angle to all the work we do. But within that, there isn’t really any run-of-the-mill type of work that we do. A lot of what we do is hugely innovative, new, developing areas of law and transactions, so it’s just really interesting work."
"I think a lot of it is also front page news. That in itself is not a reason to do it, but it makes it interesting and exciting. And Sarah’s right, people come to us for complex, difficult transactions where a lot of the thinking is completely new. And so, occasionally, we’re starting with a blank sheet of paper and kind of writing the rules on whatever protection scheme, or whatever it might be; and that makes it very interesting, very varied."