Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP

Francesca Drake
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP

University: University of Kent
Year of qualification:

What attracted you to a career in law?

I chose to study law at university because I wanted to do something vocational which would open up my career options. However, I didn’t apply for a training contract straight after graduating – I first worked as an employment adviser and then for a local authority, where my role centred on regeneration. I enjoyed both roles, but ultimately decided to continue the journey to qualifying as a solicitor.

How did you decide which firms to apply to?

I looked mainly at City firms. I wanted to join a firm with a broad practice, offering high-quality work.

How much work experience had you had? Why is it so important?

I didn’t do a vacation scheme or any other kind of work experience placement before I secured a training contract with Orrick – I had developed relevant skills and experience in my previous roles. Unlike some other firms, Orrick does not require candidates to meet specific work experience requirements in order for their applications to be considered, so the firm is flexible and open to the different ways that skills and experiences can be developed and evidenced.

Which departments did you train in?

My first three seats were in real estate, corporate and litigation, and I returned to corporate for my final seat. I discovered over the course of my training contract that I am a bit of a deal junkie, so I seized the chance to do another seat in corporate, which is also where I ultimately qualified.

How does the qualification process work at the firm?

It is informal – there is no daunting application or interview process.

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

I’m a corporate solicitor and my practice centres on one aspect of this broad practice area – energy M&A. My work involves advising clients, for example, solar yieldcos or private equity funds, on the acquisition, sale and financing of energy assets, as well as structuring and negotiating joint ventures and partnerships arrangements. These transactions are often multijurisdictional in nature, so there is a significant international aspect to my work.

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

I was recently involved in the acquisition of a portfolio of AD assets for a client in connection with the privatisation of the Green Investment Bank. I was involved in the negotiation of the sale and purchase agreements relating to the interests being acquired, liaising with our energy and infrastructure team on project and due diligence matters, the drafting of the completion and ancillary documents and ultimately with completion itself. This was a high profile and complex transaction and was a pleasure to work on.

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

The work is incredibly interesting, but I find that working with a variety of people on a daily basis is the most enjoyable aspect of the job.

As many lawyers will agree, the need for long hours can take its toll however it is made easier when you have a strong team around you and when the work you are doing is challenging and interesting.

What makes your firm stand out from the rest?

We are a big, global network, which I think is a distinguishing characteristic of the firm that informs our clients, the work we do and how we work together.

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

It might sound obvious, but I would say that working hard is as crucial as anything else. Law is a competitive profession to get into and once you do, practising as a lawyer is pretty demanding. If you get satisfaction from working hard and getting things over the line, you may well make a good lawyer.

What’s your desert island disc?

It may be a bit depressing for some, but for me it would have to be Otis Redding - These Arms of Mine. I’m generally a big blues and soul fan or alternatively will go for anything involving a brass band.

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