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What's it like working in the firm's corporate and banking teams?

13 February 2013

The fourth quarter of 2012 was very busy for both departments and there is definitely a positive feel that this trend is sustainable into 2013. So what does this mean for a trainee supporting both teams?

Having already paralegalled in the banking team, on the one hand I have a clear advantage in having some experience, but on the other hand, with that comes higher expectations! In November, we acted for Clydesdale Bank in the £7.7m refinance of the Pastaking Group which is based in Newton Abbot. It was great to see us already receive an instruction as a direct result of our new nearby Exeter office.

I worked across from an NQ on the other side, which is often the case as trainees are given meaningful levels of involvement in deals wherever possible. I was in charge of driving the conditions precedent, or ‘CPs’ towards completion (CPs are all the conditions that must be satisfied before or on Completion of a deal, e.g. ensuring the finalising and execution of facility documents, security and ancillaries).

I undertook extensive drafting of the facility and intercreditor agreements under partner supervision and regularly liaised with senior members, ultimately meeting with them to have the key documentation signed. This all made me feel a central part of the transaction which was all the more rewarding in completing the deal successfully.

You would be forgiven for thinking that the transition between banking and corporate would be relatively smooth. Well, there are aspects that are certainly transferable, but there is still a lot to learn! This was put to the test in a £6m acquisition by a French company of a UK based business in December.

To make things more interesting, there was to be a split exchange and completion. In practice, this meant that nearly all the work needed to be done by exchange, but to add some pressure, the timeline for this was little over a week. We acted for the French buyer and again, I was working opposite an NQ whose firm was acting for the UK business. The transaction was tracked from an extensive documents list which I was responsible for, together with a large amount of ancillary documents.

As with any share acquisition, the key documents were the share purchase agreement (SPA) and disclosure letter (which my supervisor oversaw) and the bundles of disclosed documents (which I was responsible for managing). The best part of the transaction was an all-day all-parties meeting where the key terms of the SPA were thrashed out and it allowed me to meet the client, the seller and the various advisors. This was a great experience where I was involved from start to finish, spending a great deal of it agreeing documents with my counterpart from the sellers’ solicitors. This element of the job makes you really feel part of a transaction and makes the long hours at completion worth it!

The deal completed smoothly at the start of this month and has led nicely into what will be a busy start to the year.