The diary of... a trainee in project finance at Hogan Lovells

Emily McClure is in her second six month "seat", working in the Infrastructure & Project Finance department. After a busy couple of days, she let The Gateway peek into her diary...
Law school and training contracts


I arrive at work. I check and respond to the emails that have come in overnight, review my calendar appointments, chat to my supervisor about the day ahead and draw up a "to-do list". It may sound silly but I think doing this is one of the most important parts of my day. I often have a lot of different tasks to juggle and the list ensures that I keep on top of my work and helps me to focus on which tasks should take priority.


Chris, one of the senior associates in our group, calls me from Germany where he is involved in a large public-private partnership (PPP) project. He has an urgent question relating to the drafting of an indemnity for third party intellectual property claims. I make a note of his points and contact my previous supervisor, Katie, from IP to ask for her assistance. I brief Katie on the project, explain Chris's concerns and discuss proposed revised drafting. This provides me with an excellent opportunity to revise my IP knowledge and to learn how best to brief a colleague external to a matter.


I attend training on the production of Hogan Lovells' internal Construction Law Report. Construction trainees take it in turns to draft summaries of recent construction cases and articles for this monthly report. It serves as an update for the lawyers in the department on new developments and trends in construction law and the construction world generally, and is presented by the trainees at our monthly departmental meetings. Training is a really important aspect of the training contract here, and something in which Hogan Lovells invests heavily.


I meet with fellow trainees in the canteen for a mid-week catch-up. As all future Hogan Lovells trainees are in classes at law school together, you get to know the others before you start at the firm. It's St Patrick's Day and so an Irish spread has been put on - Irish stew, colcannon but sadly no Guinness! I try to resist the tarts the pastry chef has made for dessert, but fail miserably.


Katie and I call Chris to talk through the drafting of the IP indemnity. Luckily, I make a good note of the call as afterwards Chris asks me to write a file note of Katie's advice.


Caroline comes into my office to discuss another PPP project on which we're currently working. Changes have been made to the contract between the local authority and the contractor. Caroline asks me to flow these changes down to sub-contractor level. This involves noting the amendments made to the main contract and deciding which of them should also be made to the subcontractor's contract to avoid gaps in the rights and obligations of the main contractor and those of the subcontractor.


One of our projects has recently completed. To help our client better understand their position, my supervisor has drafted a contract report. The report explains the key terms in "lay-man's" terms. The draft report was based on a draft of the contract and so I'm asked to compare the draft contract against the signed version and amend the report accordingly. I look at the contract from the client's perspective, decide which terms would be of commercial interest and explain them in plain English. I discuss my amends with my supervisor before the report is sent out.


I check that no-one needs any further assistance before heading to the 12th floor to join some open day students for drinks, and to enjoy the view of St Paul's from our balcony!

Next day


I arrive at my desk, check my emails and chat to my supervisor about the day ahead.


I have a training session this morning. We work through a banking case study based on a previous Hogan Lovells deal. It's about lenders taking security over a borrower's assets.


It's a beautiful day so a group of us head off to grab a sandwich at one of the local sandwich shops and sit on the grass in the church garden opposite the office.


Caroline comes in to talk to me about the work I did for her yesterday. Amendments have been made to the main contract overnight and she would again like me to flow these changes down to sub-contract level. I make a start on this straight away as we are hoping that this project will close at the end of the week.


I join a partner and an associate from my department on a pro-bono matter. The client is a charity called Promoting Equality in African Schools (or "PEAS") and today is our first meeting with PEAS' CEO, John. John gives us some background on PEAS' work in Uganda and briefs us on their latest project. PEAS would like to build and run ten new secondary schools in Uganda in partnership with the Ugandan government. PEAS needs general advice on PPPs and would like us to help with the setting up and structuring of such a partnership for them. I come out of the meeting really excited. PEAS is an excellent cause and the work involved will be interesting.


As soon as I get back to my desk, one of the partners from my group comes in and asks me to do an urgent piece of background research for a pitch he is doing the next day in Brussels. He is taking the Eurostar there at 8pm this evening and would like me to present my findings to him before he leaves. After a trawl of the internet and a flick through the industry journals and textbooks available in the library, I am able to provide the information he needs. Fingers crossed the pitch goes well!


I head home for some supper with my flatmate and am fast asleep by 10.00pm. It has been a busy day!

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