Career Stories | Aki Salmela, Associate, M&A, Helsinki
18 January 2023
How did you end up working at Hannes Snellman?
Throughout my time in law school, I was interested in corporations and business, so I guess one thing led to another. I remember attending some of Hannes’s student events during my first years in law school. When I had completed a large portion of my studies, I submitted my associate trainee application, as Hannes felt like a place where I would like to work. After the interview, I literally had no idea how it went. Some time after that, I received a call and was offered a traineeship in the M&A practice. After the traineeship, I finished law school and studied abroad for one semester before returning to Hannes. This time with a different title, though.
How would you describe your trainee period at Hannes Snellman?
As an associate trainee, one gets to do the very same tasks as freshly graduated associates. I got a lot of responsibility and a large variety of tasks from private and public M&A, private equity, and finance. At Hannes, trainees really are a part of the team and other team members really support you. It was a very rewarding experience, and thanks to the traineeship, I knew quite well what it would be like to work as an associate at Hannes. We had a great and fun group of trainees with a lot of activities in our free-time as well, and many of us are actually now working as associates.
You have studied abroad in Washington, DC. What was that experience like?
I am really glad I had and took the opportunity to study abroad. Washington, DC, is a great city with a lot of things to see and experience. For example, I got to visit the White House, US Capitol, see the original copy of the US Declaration of Independence from 1776, and even attend Ismo Leikola’s comedy show at the Finnish Embassy.
American law school was very different compared to what I had been used to. Even though one does not have time to learn too much about a foreign legal system in just one semester, it really makes one more comfortable using the English language, in a legal context as well. DC is close to New York and Philadelphia, so there are plenty of places to go over the weekend. Miami, Chicago, Toronto, New Orleans, and other interesting cities are also just a few hours’ flight away. The universities usually have dozens of different clubs, activities, etc., so it is really easy to get to know other students.
What expectations did you have for working at Hannes Snellman?
When I applied for the associate position, I knew pretty well what life is like as an associate in the firm’s M&A team. I also expected to learn a lot about how the knowledge learned in law school is used in practice. Nowadays I can confirm that my expectations turned out to be correct.
What do you like most about your job?
This is a cliché, but the main reason why I wanted to re-join Hannes is its fantastic people. The way of work is very no-nonsense and the hierarchy is very low, but the results are excellent still. The cross-border M&A practice is among the best in the Nordic countries. We also do a lot of work with international clients, and the work and assignments are very interesting, some even unique.
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