1280

Competitive instincts: a seat in Washington D.C.

Freshfields' Nick Ames experienced working in the political centre of the US before returning to London to qualify
Law
Law school and training contracts

Why does Freshfields have an office in Washington?

The office in Washington satisfies a demand from our clients for US regulatory advice and has a large antitrust, competition and trade team. This work is done in Washington because the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, the main business regulatory bodies in the US, are based there. By being in the city, we're right at the heart of where the decisions are made, which is useful for our clients if things need to be done quickly.

How does the Washington office compare to the London office?

London is a very big office, while our Washington office probably has 50 people in total, including all of the support staff.

American lawyers go straight from law school to being an associate, so while I was in Washington I was seen as a junior associate rather than a trainee. I got my own office, and was interacting with partners and clients by myself.

What kind of work were you doing?

I had an excellent mix of corporate and dispute-related regulatory work. A big and exciting piece of corporate work I was involved in was the merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines. We acted as the antitrust lawyers for Continental.

On the disputes side, I was involved in some cartel investigations, liaising and working with the Department of Justice.

What did you learn about being a lawyer in Washington that you wouldn't have learnt in London?

I've gained an appreciation of how our network operates. I've also seen how lawyers in a different country manage and deal with their clients.

Also, because the Washington office is smaller, I was able to observe how partners work on their client relationships more closely than I could in London.

*Did you find anything about being abroad difficult? *

I can imagine that some people might occasionally struggle with being away from home, or find it difficult to be in a culture which they're not familiar with. But I'd lived in America before and had spent a lot of time abroad, so I was extremely comfortable living and working in Washington.

I've never met anybody who hasn't had a good time on an overseas secondment.

What was the best thing about being in Washington?

I got to know some great people, and have kept in touch with a number of them, which has been fantastic on a personal level.

It's also been very helpful from a work perspective. For example, a group of associates in the Washington office are keen to get an understanding of the new Bribery Act we have here in the UK and how it relates to their equivalent US legislation. So I've put them in contact with the relevant people in the London office, and we've discussed how we can help our clients together on these issues.


Continue learning below

What is your Self-awareness score?
Take the test

Click an answer below to begin the test

I often reflect on my thoughts

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I do not often think about the way I am feeling

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I enjoy exploring my “inner self"

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I often reflect on my feelings

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

Others would benefit from reflecting more on their thoughts

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I am interested in analysing the behaviour of others

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I value opportunities to evaluate my behaviour

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

It is important to understand why people behave in the way they do

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

When I’m feeling uncomfortable, I can easily name these feelings

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I usually know why I am feeling the way I do

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I am often on auto-pilot and do not pay much attention to what I am doing

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

Sometimes I am careless because I am preoccupied, with many things on my mind

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I often dwell on the past or the future, rather than the present

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

My mind often wanders when I am trying to concentrate

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I often find myself thinking about how to solve past negative events

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

When things go wrong, I often think about them constructively for long periods of time

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

I tend not to look back and think about how I could have done things better

< Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree >

Add your email

What company do you work for?

What would help you increase your current salary?

Your personal development is important to us, by clicking "Submit Answers” you agree to Weavee's Terms, Conditions and Privacy Policy