Samay studied Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He joined Slaughter and May as a trainee solicitor in February 2011, qualified into one of our Financing groups in 2013 and became a partner in 2020.
The financial crisis
Before starting university in 2007, I was debating the virtues of banking and law as prospective career paths. That debate was cut short by the onset of the financial crisis, which made law seem like the sensible decision, and I thought I could always switch to banking later down the line. Happily, I have never felt the need to make a switch – a career in law provides all the challenges, fulfilment and variety that I was looking for.
Secondment to New York
I spent the third seat of my training contract on secondment to one of Slaughter and May’s relationship firms, Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett in New York. Despite short periods of the intensity which New York is famed for, the chance to live in such a vibrant, fast-paced city and meet some fantastic people was invaluable. I spent most of my time working on a large, $6.7bn transaction; it was extremely rewarding to see the deal from term sheet through to signing and completion over the course of my secondment.
I qualified into one of our Financing groups in March 2013. The jump in expectations and responsibility from trainee to associate is a big one, but it makes for an exciting and interesting first year. I found that you are given as much responsibility as you can handle – one of my highlights was travelling to the Middle East and being trusted to lead negotiations with government entities in relation to a power project.
For me, one of the attractions of Slaughter and May is its multi-specialist approach, which means that your career is always evolving and things are never dull. Indeed, despite being in a Financing group, I spent a large portion of my time in the first few years of qualification working on private M&A deals, which I thoroughly enjoyed and which has stretched my experience and skillset. The multi-specialist approach teaches you to think laterally and work collaboratively as a team. It also encourages you to be creative and challenge precedent.
Highlights so far
One of the highlights was advising Attarat Power Company and the project sponsors, Eesti Energia AS and YTL Power International Berhad, on the construction and project financing of the first oil shale fired power station in Jordan, with an investment value of $2.1bn and debt financing of $1.6bn provided by a syndicate of Chinese banks. Working on the project for almost three and a half years (including numerous trips to Jordan and China) with such a fantastic client and internal team made it all the more satisfying to see the transaction close in 2017. Leading on various aspects of the project - from the project financing and commercial contracts to the equity sell down and shareholders’ arrangements - provided the perfect platform to learn and grow. It also enabled me to build lasting client relationships and gain a deep understanding of all parts of the project, including the commercial, technical, political and financial aspects.
Another highlight was advising Seadrill (one of the world’s largest offshore drilling contractors) on its comprehensive restructuring plan. The scope was vast, the structure was extremely complex and we really had to pull together as a team to get it done. Being at the forefront of such a large restructuring was equal parts hectic and exciting, and I particularly enjoyed the strategy, negotiation and navigating stakeholder dynamics that were involved.