At the time of writing I have been on secondment for nearly three months, but the time has flown by andI cannot quite believe that I am already nearly half-way through my timehere.
Hogan Lovells Debt Capital Markets in Paris is a focused, fast-paced department made up of a relatively small team of dedicated, hard-working and high-achievingpartners, associates and support staff. As a trainee I work with all members of the team, including directly with the partners on some matters.
The work is, as one would expect, international. The transactions comprise contracts governed by English law, French law and many other jurisdictions. This means that thedepartment works closely with other Hogan Lovells teams internationally to co-ordinate the drafting of contracts, legal opinions and other transaction documents. Trainees areexpected to help co-ordinate the suite of documents required for any one transaction and to help specifically with the production of English language documents. Trainees alsoassist with closing and post-closing matters and a whole range of other tasks from drafting presentations to translations. I have found the variety of the work and the complexityof the transactions both interesting and challenging and the quality of the training extremely high. I would certainly consider qualifying into this practice area in Paris or London.
There is a strong sense of camaraderie running throughout the team which generates an enjoyable and supportive working environment. The team also socialises on a regularbasis with plenty of after-work drinks and pots, to which one of the associates always brings the most delicious charlotte. A téléthon (a charity fundraising event a bit likeChildren in Need or Comic Relief) is taking place in a couple of weeks in which many of the team will participate, doing any number of things from singing Les Demoiselles deRochefort, to taking part in a non-stop run from 6pm until midnight, to growing moustaches. So whilst there is a strong work ethic, time is taken for the odd fun thing too!.
The department consists of a mixture of English, French and New York qualified lawyers. Everyone speaks both English and French and often other languages besides. Most ofthe work is done in English and whilst it is not necessary to be fluent in French, it is preferable to speak some, even if only the basics. I feel fortunate to be able to use and buildon what French I have, without there being an expectation that all work is to be done in French.
Outside of work Paris is a wonderful city to live in. The trainee network is both numerous and very active and being Paris there are always things to see and do at weekends. Myfavourite pastimes are exploring the cobbled streets of the Marais on a velib (Parisian Boris Bike) or sharing a kir with friends overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Sounds clich頢ut Ilove the fact that during these six months I can live the idealised Parisian existence. Being provided with a traditional Parisian apartment in the centre of Paris and less than a ten minute walk from the office certainly helps.
Overall I cannot recommend this secondment highly enough. It is a rewarding, memorable experience both in terms of work and for affording me the opportunity to live in one ofthe most romantic and culturally rich cities in the world.