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Vanessa Kilner

Vanessa Kilner

I started out on a non-legal path and studied International Relations at the London School of Economics. One of my modules was Public International Law and that made me think about law for the first time. I applied for some vacation schemes in my final year, including one at Clyde & Co, and was fortunate enough to be offered a training contract. As a trainee I did seats in Shipping, Aviation Finance, Property and Insurance and qualified into our Insurance practice in 2009, working for the speciality insurance team.
My main draw to Clyde & Co was that it had such an excellent reputation for so many niche practice areas in relation to international trade and a truly international presence with a number of long-established overseas offices.

The team focussed on political risk and trade credit insurance but also advised on other speciality lines such as cash in transit, jeweller's block, specie and fine art. In 2014 I moved to our Singapore office where I continue to focus on political risk and trade credit insurance, although I have also acquired expertise in a broader line of insurance products including financial lines, D&O, professional negligence and reinsurance.

The main reason I was drawn to Clyde & Co was that it had such an excellent reputation for so many niche practice areas in relation to international trade and a truly international presence with a number of long-established overseas offices (which have of course continued to increase in number over the last ten years). This sparked my interest because, at the time, I knew very little about what law firms actually did or what a legal career actually involved.  It became apparent during my vacation scheme that a considerable number of lawyers at the firm had pursued other paths before coming to law at Clyde & Co and I very much felt that I could be of value to the firm because of my non-legal background and not in spite of it. As trite as it might sound, what made Clyde & Co the obvious choice for me were the people I came across during the vacation scheme who were so inclusive, warm and genuinely interested in getting to know me and to show me the ropes. The firm may have grown tremendously since then, but the friendly, collegiate atmosphere remains.

One of my highlights as a trainee was during my Commercial Property seat when I was sent to Cannes with the team to attend a major property conference there. Staying on the La Croisette and attending big parties was probably the most glamourous thing I've done as a lawyer!  Turning to serious matters, one of my more memorable cases involved an aircraft seized by local authorities because of unpaid tax bills. Alongside the insurance advice we were providing to underwriters, we had our local office on the ground speaking to customs officials, attending last minute court hearings and carrying out surveillance on the plane, reporting back around the clock with developments.

To me, despite its growing size Clyde & Co has not lost its close-knit feel and I enjoy the fact that there is a ready network of friendly, approachable faces across the different offices and practice areas anytime I have a query or a matter requiring cross-border advice. The familiarity of the firm is a big draw to me.

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