When choosing seats, it is important that trainees strike a balance between seeking specific experience in areas of interest to them whilst also obtaining a well-rounded training contract. After all, if a particular area interests a trainee then they would be well advised to have a six month shot at it. However, two years in similar practice areas could be seen as a missed opportunity to explore a wider range of practice areas.
I am now coming to the end of my second seat with the firm’s Banking, Restructuring and Insolvency (BRI) team and I am happy to confirm that it has both bases covered. The team are specialists at dealing with transactions and disputes involving insolvent individuals and businesses as well as acting for both borrowers and lenders in variety of different financing transactions.
This provides a great opportunity to learn about the legal principles behind banking deals and the “dark arts” of insolvency law whilst also engaging with a wide range of other practice areas. During my time in the team I have found that no two tasks are the same, and I have gained a great breadth and depth of knowledge. Over the 12 months I have considerably developed my knowledge of banking and insolvency law but also litigation, corporate, employment and property law to name just a few other areas. In addition, I have been given excellent opportunities to take on a high-level of responsibility and gain plenty of client contact.
Below are my highlights from each of the team’s specialisms, which demonstrate both the depth and breadth of experience a seat in this team offers.
My work in this practice area has involved a wide range of disputes and transactions, acting for a broad range of clients.
On the contentious side, I have assisted with defending a well-known football club from a petition for its winding up as well as attending a day of mediation and an eight day trial in relation to a claim against fixed charge receivers. Under the watchful gaze of my supervisor, I have also been given the responsibility to manage my own caseload which has included a number of receivership appointments, negotiating the settlement of a petition for an individual’s bankruptcy and defending a company from a debt claim made by another company’s liquidator.
My non-contentious insolvency work has included the sale of a variety of assets on behalf of insolvent companies and individuals. Whilst these assets might normally include a sales of shares or a residential property, the more unusual asset disposals I have assisted with range from night clubs to solar panels to Mediterranean villas.
As a number of the team’s clients are insolvency practitioners who provide regular instructions, insolvency work provides a great opportunity to build a close relationship with clients. In the course of my two seats I have attended a number of insolvency events, including a black tie dinner, two quizzes and an inter-firm gathering.
The team’s restructuring work often involves working with large and well-known businesses. My role for this type of work generally involves researching complicated questions of banking, corporate, insolvency and commercial law, as well as making the practical arrangements for placing companies into administration.
I have assisted with a wide range of finance transactions, acting for both borrowers and lenders for a range of different sized loans. On larger transactions, a trainee’s role is often focused on sourcing and compiling evidence that the conditions of lending have been met and compiling the key documents. Additionally, on smaller transactions I have drafted key documents and provided advice to clients on the implications of the lender’s offered terms. I have also prepared advice for individuals who have been asked to act as guarantors for loans, which has included a Skype meeting with a celebrity businessman.
The work in this team is extremely varied whilst providing an opportunity to gain firsthand experience of niche and fascinating practice areas.
My 12 months in the BRI team has been invaluable for my personal development and should you have the opportunity to work with this team I would strongly recommend it.
If you have any other questions on being a trainee please tweet us @MMTrainees.