Julia Shearer-Rivera


Trainee secondment to Gorrissen Federspiel

I seconded to Gorrissen Federspiel in Copenhagen in one of the firm’s Corporate M&A teams. The office is located right in the centre of Copenhagen next to the Tivoli amusement park, which my team and I made the most of by visiting to play the many arcade games and sample some smørrebrød (Danish open sandwiches).

I was welcomed into the firm from the very beginning – it is a close-knit office, with teams going for lunch together every day.

Gorrissen’s groups are similar to Slaughter and May’s in that they are multi-specialist, so I experienced a similar range of work on secondment as I would have as a corporate trainee in London, but at times with more responsibility. For example, I managed the due diligence process for various acquisitions, which involved reviewing documents provided by the seller and drafting a due diligence report, coordinating the input from specialist groups, and interviewing the seller’s management team for additional information. I was also involved in drafting transaction documents for a merger and helped to prepare several research memos for clients on Danish company law. This step up was daunting at first but was definitely a good way to prepare for life after qualification. I was not expected to know much Danish, as much of the work the Corporate M&A group does is in English.

There were regular social events, including the weekly Friday bar, which allowed me to meet people from across the firm. One event I particularly enjoyed was the Corporate M&A group’s weekend retreat to Aarhus - the second largest city in Denmark and where Gorrissen’s second office is based -which included a day of training followed by a large dinner and evening of live music. 

Copenhagen is an incredible city, with amazing restaurants and pastries (of which I sampled many!), and I was lucky enough to also travel around Scandinavia, including to Oslo, Stockholm, Malmö and Lund. As my secondment fell over winter, I got to enjoy the many Danish Christmas traditions and festivities, as well as the phenomenon of “hygge” and the much less cosy activity of winter swimming.

An international secondment is an incredible experience to broaden your network, learn more about a different legal jurisdiction, and explore a new country and culture. I’d recommend this opportunity to anyone who is keen to travel, meet new people, and push themselves outside of their comfort zone!