I moved back to the UK and started the GDL followed by the LPA at the College of Law, Guildford. I was offered a training contract with Clyde & Co at the end of the GDL course and started my training contract in 2009.
I qualified into the ship finance team in September 2011. My initial plan was to remain in the UK for only four years (including my training contract). However, I am still here and I am nearly six years qualified and a Senior Associate in the transactional shipping team!
I chose Clyde & Co primarily because of the reputation it has among other lawyers and professionals associated with the legal industry. Everyone spoke to me very highly of the firm and had nothing but positive things to say about the quality of the work and the lawyers – both in a professional and a personal capacity.
I was also attracted to Clyde & Co as a medium-sized, international law firm, with a slightly different focus in its practice areas to other similar sized firms. The firm has grown a lot since I joined, but the ethos of the firm has remained the same.
Personally, I have been able to enjoy the international network of offices that Clyde & Co has. As part of my training contract I went to the Shanghai office for a few days to work, I spent my second seat in Abu Dhabi and since then I have taken part in the Global Associate Programme in Dubai and Hong Kong.
A couple of years ago, we were involved in a fleet sale, acting for the sellers of a large fleet of oil tankers. We were involved right from the start, which meant we drafted a form of sale contract which was circulated to various interested parties. Once a deal had been struck with one of these parties, we finalised the sale contract for each ship and then liaised with foreign counsel, banks, vessel registries and the buyers' counsel to prepare for the discharge of the ship mortgages and the transfer of ownership in each ship. From inception to completion we co-ordinated closely with the the sellers, their financing bank, the buyers, ship managers and various other parties.
More recently, I have been involved in a joint venture between a shipowner and a U.S. private equity firm. We acted for the shipowner and negotiated the shareholders' agreement for our client, which involved corporate, financing, shipping and cross-border elements, together with complex cash flow mechanics which all needed to be considered and included in the shareholders' agreement. Now that the joint venture is in place, we have been working on the bank financing for the joint venture company and assisting with the purchase of the ships to be acquired by the joint venture company.
I really enjoy the varied nature of the work that my team does. We are referred to as the "Ship Finance" team internally; however we do so much more than pure ship finance. We do a broad spectrum of transactional shipping work, acting primarily for owners, operators and stakeholders (for example private equity firms) in the shipping industry.
Clyde & Co has a reputation for being a friendly firm, with approachable Partners who have an open door policy. I have always found this to be true. There is a strong emphasis on teaching, supporting and training more junior members of the firm and of encouraging people to push themselves to achieve more in their career – both internally and externally with client-facing work and events.