News & Views

Experiences from Hannes Snellman and Nordea’s Joint Trainee Programme | February 2022

25 February 2022

In 2020, Hannes Snellman and Nordea launched a joint trainee programme. The purpose of the programme is to offer law students the opportunity to experience what it is like to work as a lawyer not only at a law firm but also at the largest bank in the Nordic countries. At the beginning of 2022, Aarni Mononen, our former associate trainee, continued his traineeship at Nordea.

Aarni is a final-year law student at the University of Turku, who worked as an associate trainee in our Finance Team in the autumn of 2021 and who had also worked in many trainee positions in various law firms before that. At Nordea, Aarni worked in the Large Corporates & Institutions Legal (LC&IL) Team, which provides financial solutions to large Nordic and international corporations and institutional customers.

Why have you chosen financial law in particular, and when did your interest in this field begin?

I knew I wanted to work with transactions, but at first I was not sure about the more specific direction. I discovered financial law through property law, and there was no looking back after that. I am particularly interested in the structures of financial transactions, where the documentation is very extensive, but all the pieces of the whole are very important and interconnected. It is like assembling a puzzle.

How did your time as an associate trainee at Hannes Snellman prepare you for your traineeship at Nordea?

I was already familiar with the structures and procedures of financial transactions. During my time at Hannes Snellman, I learned about the required documentation in a transaction and how, and more importantly why, the documentation is drafted. I was able to contribute to the Nordea team from the very first day because of everything I learned and the confidence I gained during my time at Hannes Snellman.

What kind of preconceptions did you have about working in a bank before your experience at Nordea?

The scale of the legal work done in a bank really surprised me. During my time at Hannes Snellman, I had been in contact with banks as a client or as a counterparty, but the work actually goes way beyond that. The lawyers in Nordea have a very wide range of expertise and it was very admirable.

How would you describe your assignments at Nordea?

I drafted and reviewed documentation related to loan transactions, as I did at Hannes Snellman. The team at Nordea was not afraid  to give me responsibility from the moment I got my laptop working. Additionally, I had the chance to participate in projects relating to derivatives, where I reviewed the documentation relating to derivatives, ISDAs, and other master agreements, which was a completely new experience for me.

What did you learn during your time at Nordea? Any surprises?

The best part of the learning experience at Nordea is that I now understand better how banks operate. For example, the life cycle of a financial transaction at a bank is much longer than in a law firm and is handled by many professionals other than just lawyers. This is the kind of thing that is easily overlooked when you are just entering the field and working in a law firm.

What would you say to applicants applying for our associate trainee programme who are also eager to continue at Nordea?

I can warmly recommend an internship at Nordea to everyone. The team is awesome, as it is at Hannes Snellman, and willing to help and teach you. The trainees are given as much responsibility as the trainees are willing to take. I cannot think of a better opportunity for a law student to grow professionally than completing a traineeship at Hannes Snellman AND in Nordea.

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