Experiences from Hannes Snellman and Nordea’s Joint Trainee Programme
21 October 2020
Emmi Haataja is a fifth-year law student at the University of Helsinki and a finance student at Hanken School of Economics. Emmi spent a total of five months in a joint trainee programme arranged by Hannes Snellman and Nordea. The purpose of this trainee programme is to offer students the possibility to experience what it would be like to work both as a lawyer in a law firm and as an in-house lawyer in the largest bank in the Nordic countries.
At Hannes Snellman, Emmi worked in the Finance team, and at Nordea, she worked in the Large Corporates & Institutions Legal (LC&IL) team.
Why are you interested in financial law in particular? When did your fascination begin?
Financial law fascinates me because the financial market is so heavily regulated. Financing transactions are also very interesting. My fascination with financial law actually began when I was writing my bachelor's thesis and got to dive deeper into the regulation related to financial markets. The period as an associate trainee at Hannes Snellman and the traineeship at Nordea definitely strengthened my interest in financial transactions and financial regulation.
How was your traineeship at Hannes Snellman?
During my traineeship at Hannes Snellman, I worked in the Finance team, which I truly enjoyed. The welcoming was warm, and I found the working environment at Hannes Snellman inspirational with a supportive atmosphere. During my traineeship at Hannes Snellman, I had my first contact with finance transactions and got to dive deeper into the world of financial regulation.
How did your time as an associate trainee at Hannes Snellman prepare you for your traineeship at Nordea?
My time as an associate trainee at Hannes Snellman was an essential preparation for my traineeship at Nordea, and it definitely felt like an advantage from the start. At Hannes Snellman, I had learned the mechanics of finance transactions and was able to put them into practice at Nordea. Furthermore, I learned how the bank's perception and role differs from that of a law firm in finance transactions.
What kind of perceptions did you have about working in a bank beforehand?
My perception was that working in a bank can often mean working in the front line in a branch, and I was positively surprised to learn about the opportunities there are for lawyers in banks. I also thought beforehand that the working environment in a bank would be very traditional, conservative, and stiff, but I was definitely proven wrong on that.
Could you describe your assignments at Nordea?
I got to work on assignments that aligned with my interests. I carried out legal research related to EU regulations, such as the Benchmark Regulation and the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive. Furthermore, I drafted a response to an investment product customer complaint and reviewed a non-disclosure agreement. I also reviewed and commented on a translation of a local master derivatives agreement. I assisted an in-house legal counsel in three separate loan financing cases and drafted a loan agreement relating to them, and I also reviewed and commented on the financing documentation. Furthermore, I got to participate in many internal meetings between the Large Corporates & Institutions Legal (LC&IL) team and the business area.
What did you learn during your time at Nordea? Any surprises?
The work done in LC&IL is not particularly visible to the public, so this was a great opportunity to learn about the bank’s interaction with those types of customers. It was also a great opportunity to learn about the work of an in-house lawyer in a large Nordic bank and about the bank’s role in different finance transactions where law firms are often involved. I was surprised by how international the atmosphere at Nordea was.
Overall, I was able to increase my substance knowledge related to financial law and financial markets.
How did you find the combination of these two traineeships?
The combination of the two traineeships worked extremely well, and they complemented each other perfectly. This was a great opportunity to see two sides of a coin at once and get to further develop the knowledge and skills that I had learned during my time at Hannes Snellman.
What would you say to applicants applying for our associate trainee programme who are also willing to continue at Nordea?
Be curious and try to soak in as much knowledge as possible during your trainee period at Hannes Snellman. Although the people at Nordea are very helpful and supportive, that knowledge will help you complete your tasks with quality and efficiency and help to get the most out of the traineeship at Nordea. The welcoming at both companies was extremely warm and I would definitely recomment the joint trainee programme for anyone with a particular interest in finance law.