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Victor: Associate and Former Trainee (London)

Victor T.P. Siek

Associate and Former Trainee, London

This morning, I join my supervisor on a conference call with our client’s general counsel to discuss the potential impact of European sanctions on the deal. It is interesting to see the strategizing and risk-management process first hand. I spend the rest of the morning on the phone to local counsel from a previous transaction to discuss some of the post-closing mechanics. Over the last six months, we’ve all become friendly with each other and the time whizzes by.  After a quick lunch, I start work reviewing comments on a term sheet from my supervisor for a mining project in Africa. I’m looking at certain clauses in particular and preparing for negotiations by comparing the equivalent clauses in precedent transactions. The day ends with a quick check to make sure everything is in place for meetings on our pipeline deal tomorrow.

I get in slightly earlier this morning to prepare for our meetings—having access to management is always an excellent learning opportunity, as it shows us as advisers which issues really matter to our clients. It is obvious from the start that the clients and our team have a great rapport, and we start work through the term sheet in earnest. Project finance term sheets are very different from those I’ve worked on for corporate finance deals, and I’m glad we’re going through this clause by clause—I’ve learnt all sorts of new things today, like what ”intelligent pigging” means! It is easy to be proud of being part of the S&C team—the partner leading the deal is managing a 40-person meeting with ease, and one of our European counsel is drafting on-screen as the discussions progress. It is difficult work, but he does it with such skill and patience. The day ends with dinner at a lovely restaurant near the office with the S&C team and our clients. There is a lot of good food and laughter, and it’s a great way to end a busy day.   

We receive an email from the general counsel of one of our clients—he has asked us to prepare engagement terms for a marketing consultant—and my supervisor briefs me on the task and what he expects the work product to look like. It is the first time I’ve prepared an engagement letter on my own, and I’m glad the instructions are so clear and full!  In the afternoon, I draft a couple of clauses for another term sheet the projects team is working on; I check through my notes from our previous conference call to make sure I’ve covered all the bases and submit my work. I end in time for a quick workout at the gym before dinner.

After a quick check of the engagement letter, I submit it to my supervisor and begin work on a practice development project I was given by a partner in our restructuring group. My office mate, another trainee, has been given a similar task, and we spend some time discussing the best way forward. It is great having someone to bounce ideas off of and to give a ”sanity check” to my assignments! The rest of the day is taken up with generating an issues list from a term sheet mark-up for one of our mining deals. Having to distil arguments into pithy issues is a great way to think through the different negotiating positions, and while it takes longer than I thought it would, I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about this deal particularly and project finance in general.

I’ve been given a few research tasks for some of our new projects pitches. One of the items is  a very technical question, and I’m stuck. So I pop round to the associate next door for some help. As usual, she knows exactly where to point me and I find what I’m looking for in quick order. I hop onto a quick call with the corporate secretary on one of the deals I worked on in my previous seat to check that all the post-closing formalities have been carried out, and that’s it for the week!

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