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Meet the lawyer

Lola Adekoya

Lola Adekoya

University: University of Warwick
Degree: Law
Year of qualification: 2022
Position: Associate
Department: Banking and finance
Pronouns: She/her

What attracted you to a career in law?

I studied law at university and was fascinated then and still am at the intellectually stimulating, dynamic and multifaceted nature of law. A career in law would’ve been a natural progression, but in the year after graduating I decided to try my hands at marketing and advertising, neither of which suited me. However, that experience confirmed and solidified my desire to pursue a career in law.

Why solicitor not barrister?

One of the highlights of my earlier legal work experience was shadowing a King’s Counsel barrister on a criminal case at the Old Bailey. As interesting as that experience was, I found that the solitary work style of a barrister wouldn’t suit me personally. I enjoy working in a team and being in a collaborative environment.

Please outline your area of expertise. What might you do in a typical day?

I’m an associate in the banking and finance group. The department encourages junior associates to have a breadth of experience early on in different product areas, so I form part of the structured finance/securitisation, real estate finance and debt capital markets teams. As such, my day is varied and the work I do depends on how busy each product area is.

My day starts with preparing an updated to-do list on the various matters on which I’m working in order to prioritise my workload and plan my schedule for the day. I then check emails and respond to queries that came in overnight as typically several matters will be multi-jurisdictional with people working in different time zones. Depending on my schedule, I might have several client calls lined-up in the morning and for the rest of the day I’m more likely to spend my time getting stuck in drafting or reviewing and marking-up transaction documents.

When acting on the lender side of a real estate finance deal, a typical junior associate task will be preparing the first drafts of transaction documents and supervising trainees in the management of the conditions precedent checklist with a view to getting all documents agreed and satisfied.

Similarly, acting on the lender side of a securitisation transaction, I assist with preparing first drafts of transaction documents and as these are predominantly transactions with a global element, I manage the relationship with local counsel and conduct a first review of the transactions documents prepared by them. On structured finance deals, I’m often given more autonomy and will be the lead associate managing transactions such as a structured notes programme update involving a mix of both legal work and project management.

On a debt capital markets deal, I’ll often assist with preparing either the first draft of the offering circular or a supplement to the offering circular and the relevant ancillary documents with an appropriate level of supervision by a senior associate or partner.

Please discuss a current/recent specific deal/case, outlining your role in the matter.

I’ve recently completed a structured notes programme update for a major international bank. I took the lead in managing the programme update with an appropriate level of supervision by the matter partner. It involved updating the base prospectus and a number of programme documents including, among others, the principal trust deed, dealer agreement, agency agreement and collateral management agreement.

The programme updates had many moving parts, including managing and coordinating our engagement with the listing agent and the local counsel in the special purpose vehicle jurisdiction. Also, the programme update threw up many technical legal questions relating to tax law, insolvency law, sanctions and regulatory matters which meant that I had to work collaboratively with various lawyers across different departments of the firm.

What do you most/least enjoy about your career and why?

I thoroughly enjoy working on global deals. I get real satisfaction when a transaction has been successfully completed and our clients (lender/borrower) acknowledge our efforts and expertise.

The nature of a deal-led team is that there can be bouts of quiet periods and very long busy periods with no in-between. A steady flow of deals would be most ideal, but I have learnt to plan my holidays around this to make the best of the quiet periods – it’s now close to a win-win situation for me.  

How involved are you with business development and promoting the firm?

Mayer Brown is very committed to business development and awards fee earners from partners through to trainees for their efforts in this regard.

As a junior associate, I’ve helped organise client events and also assisted with preparing pitches for new matters. Often, various local counsel will stop into our office when visiting London and I’ll join my colleagues at the meeting where current market trends and conditions are typically discussed. 

What makes your firm stand out from the rest?

The firm’s commitment to delivering top-class legal service across the board – both from a global jurisdictional perspective and also across its full service of product areas. The diverse and inclusive culture of the firm and the approachability of colleagues at all levels.

What advice do you have for budding solicitors who are contemplating a career in law?

It’s been a long road to qualification for me, so my advice is to make sure that a career in law is really what you want to do. 

Further, have an open mind in terms of areas of interest as I initially thought I was interested in contentious law, but through various work opportunities I ended up qualifying as a non-contentious transaction lawyer.

If your experience is anything like mine and your route to qualification is taking longer than expected. Don’t give up as it’ll be worth the wait!

Describe the firm in three words.

Global, ambitious and forward-looking

What’s your signature dish?

A poke bowl of jasmine rice, salmon sashimi slices and pickled ginger – simple, but so good!