How to Build an International Network Early on in Your Career?
26 May 2023
Many young lawyers dream of an international career. One step in this direction is to start building an international network early on in your career. At Hannes, we support our employees in their efforts to achieve an empowering career path, and for many this means gaining international experience. Several of our lawyers have done an LL.M or MBA abroad or worked in our Stockholm office or for a foreign law firm. One good way to create a wide network and to gain international experience is to join the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA). Some of Hannes’s active AIJA members include Emmi Kantola, Isabella Kartila, and Laura Sainio. We met up for a cup of coffee and talked about their experiences as AIJA members.
Emmi Kantola is a senior associate working in Hannes Snellman’s Private M&A Team, and she advises domestic and international clients in the field of mergers and acquisitions and in particular private equity and venture capital transactions. Emmi has been a member of AIJA since 2021.
Isabella Kartila is an associate lawyer working in Hannes Snellman’s Tax Team, and she advises clients in the field of taxation with a particular focus on transactions and tax litigation processes. Isabella has been a member of AIJA since 2023.
Laura Sainio is an associate lawyer working in Hannes Snellman’s Competition and Regulatory Team, and she advises domestic and international clients in the various fields of competition law, including antitrust, merger control, compliance and sustainability, state aid, litigation, and investigation matters. Laura has been a member of AIJA since 2019.
Hi Emmi, Isabella, and Laura! All three of you are active members in AIJA. What is AIJA, and how did you end up joining it?
AIJA, also known as the International Association of Young Lawyers, is a global association devoted to lawyers and in-house counsels aged 45 and under. The association aims to advance cross-cultural understanding between members and other participants in the legal profession. Currently, AIJA has 4,000+ members in 90 different countries. The activities of AIJA are coordinated by 20 scientific commissions, in charge of organising events all around the globe and keeping members up to the date in their respective areas of practice.
E: I heard about AIJA from my colleagues and ended up joining after some research into what the organisation does and what kind of opportunities it offers.
I: Due to having lived abroad for several years and enjoying to get to know new people, I wanted to find an international community where it is possible meet other young tax professionals from all over the word. During the first years of my career, I participated in a couple of IBA and IFA tax conferences where I met several lawyers recommending me to also join the AIJA community. As my colleagues Laura and Emmi also had great experiences from AIJA, I decided to attend the Annual Tax Conference 2023, and I am already very much looking forward to the next AIJA event!
L: My journey in AIJA started in 2019 when my team’s partner suggested that I join and take part in the upcoming Antitrust Seminar in Lyon. I knew very little about the organisation back then but was immediately excited about the opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world and to gain international perspective and training.
What kind of activities have you taken part in?
E: I’ve attended two seminars/congresses, and I am currently organising the M&A-related academic programme for the next annual congress.
I: My first AIJA event was this year when I participated in the Annual Tax Conference 2023 in beautiful Bergen, Norway. Thus, I am a fresh newcomer in AIJA community but I am planning to become an active AIJA member especially in tax law related events.
L: I have represented Hannes Snellman in two annual congresses and two competition law related seminars. I was also one of the co-ordinators of the Antitrust Commission’s academic session in Singapore Annual Congress in 2022. This year I will participate in the Annual Congress in Rio de Janeiro.
How can you become an AIJA member?
E, I, and L: All private practice lawyers and in-house counsels under 45 years old can become AIJA members! The only prerequisite is to be a member of a bar association, or a similar official institution in the countries where no bar association exists; alternatively, one should hold a university degree in law allowing access to a bar association. Also, law students may join AIJA as future lawyers.
To whom would you recommend AIJA?
E: Anyone who’s interested and willing to be an active member of an international network and contribute to the AIJA community in the long run, e.g. by organising seminars and speaking at the events.
I: If being part of an international legal community, making new friends and developing your professional skills sound like a perfect combo, AIJA is definitely a great fit for you! It is also possible to attend AIJA events without becoming a member if you first want to get a sneak peek to the activities provided by AIJA.
L: The best thing about AIJA is definitely the AIJA community where you can build a valuable professional network and make new friends from all over the world. AIJA is also an ideal place to practice public speaking in front of an international crowd and to gain experience of organising seminars. If you enjoy getting to know new people, contributing to the organisation’s academic goals, and building international networks, I recommend joining.