Trainee blog: What to expect in the Banking, Restructuring and Insolvency (BRI) seat

In times of economic uncertainty, the legal market can always count on restructuring and insolvency.

Various companies and individuals are struggling to adapt to an increasingly uncertain economic environment. Big household names have made the headlines in recent years, for example, Mothercare, Thomas Cook and Carillion.

Uncertainty brings, amongst other things, a rise in restructurings, Company Voluntary Arrangements, Individual Voluntary Arrangements, administration, bankruptcy and liquidation. The retail sector in particular battles to keep their brick and mortar outlets in the wake of online competition.

Trainees in the BRI seat get a wide variety of experiences, client contact and responsibility. Often, the work can be multi-jurisdictional. Trainee tasks in contentious insolvency may include drafting proceedings, witness statements and preparing trial bundles. More transactional work may include asset sale and purchase agreements. Advisory work may include advice on retention of title or advice on property issues. 

The banking element of the seat means that you will also be involved in tasks such as drafting security documents and keeping on top of conditions precedent. There is a lot of cross-office work as well as work across several teams, for example, Real Estate, Commercial and Regulatory Disputes and Corporate. Michelmores recently advised Ocean Fish on their acquisition of the majority shareholding in Britain's largest beam trawl fleets, W.Stevenson & Sons. I was responsible for reviewing the security documents and drafting a deed of release. This was unusual because fishing vessel finance is a specialist area and not something I had come across before.

Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the BRI seat, trainees must be adaptable and work well under pressure. It is a good way for trainees to find out whether they prefer contentious or non-contentious work and would easily complement an interest in corporate or commercial litigation.