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Meet the lawyer

Kassia Lewis-DeBoos

Kassia Lewis-DeBoos

University: University of Bristol
Degree: Law LLB
Year of qualification: September 2021
Position: Associate
Department: Global finance

What attracted you to a career in law?

While at school, I completed a week-long internship at a law firm specialising in employment law, which was my first experience of legal services. The team that I shadowed were exceptionally knowledgeable, charismatic and driven, which were qualities that inspired me to learn more about becoming a solicitor. Through sitting in on meetings and assisting the junior lawyers to conduct research tasks for the client, I quickly realised that law was both interesting and challenging. I wanted to find a career that would give me the option of becoming an expert in my field as well as push me to constantly develop, and law seemed like a great fit for that ambition. I also completed work experience shadowing a judge at Reading Magistrates’ Court & Family Court, as well as a mini-pupillage at a chambers in Manchester, which were excellent insights into a career as a barrister. Although delivering legal arguments in a courtroom seemed exciting, which was something I’d tried during university ‘mooting’ challenges, I decided that I preferred the idea of an advisory or transactional role as a commercial solicitor for my long-term career.

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

I was fortunate enough to have completed a broad range of work experience that bolstered my training contract applications. This included the legal experience I’ve touched on already at the Manchester chambers and Reading Magistrates’ Court, as well as volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Bristol and working in hospitality. Work experience is incredibly important because it:

  •  gives you better insights into roles;
  • helps you to choose the career path or specialism that interests you the most; and
  • demonstrates to recruiters that you’re motivated and putting effort in to learn more about a career, whether in law or otherwise.

Including non-law-related work experience on your CV is also key to demonstrating transferable skills such as teamwork, time management and client service.

What do you think made your application successful?

I think that my large amount of relevant work experience demonstrated to recruiters that I was committed to a career in law and knew exactly what I was applying for when making my training contract applications. In addition, I made sure to conduct thorough research to understand what a firm specialised in and have specific reasons for wanting to work there that aligned with my career goals.

Which departments did you train in?

The departments I trained in were structured credit, leveraged finance/global finance, corporate M&A and funds. The firm was very supportive in enabling me to join the departments that were my top choices as a trainee, as I aimed to tailor my training contract experience to focus on transactional work rather than litigation.

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

I advise clients, both lenders and borrowers, on the documentation that enables them to complete financing transactions for purposes such as acquisition finance (including public and private buyouts), corporate finance and broadly syndicated lending. My role includes reviewing a large number of documents and emails on a typical deal, including facility agreements, intercreditor agreements and ancillary documents such as fee letters and corporate approvals. I work with a large number of counterparties on multijurisdictional deals, including opposing lawyers, overseas lawyers, debt advisory firms and agency firms to name a few.

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

Paul Hastings encourages involvement in business development by lawyers at all levels, whether it’s organising a large client event for the whole team or reaching out to individual clients for coffee. A selection of the opportunities that I’ve been involved in recently are an annual client event hosted by the associates and trainees, a ‘Women in Private Debt & PE’ fragrance exploration event at Jo Malone and a drinks and canapés networking event at the Sky Garden.

What makes your firm stand out from the rest?

Paul Hastings has a very entrepreneurial and collaborative culture evident in the support it gives to its associates to develop their:

  • legal and transactional knowledge to become leading specialists in their field; and
  • business relationships with clients to build successful long-term careers.

There’s huge momentum at the firm right now, and the London office’s sustained growth over the years also demonstrates the expanding opportunities available at the firm.

What skills/strengths do you need to be a successful solicitor?

A successful solicitor is required to have more than just an excellent understanding of the law. Good time management, attention to detail and resilience to work unsociable hours when required on a fast-paced deal are all skills that I found to be very valuable as a trainee and an associate. It’s also important to be able to build a strong rapport with your clients to ensure that their business needs are met and that you have an enjoyable working relationship.

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

Gain as much relevant work experience as possible and complete your own research to ensure you have a basic understanding of what a career in law entails and the type of law you’re interested in, before making training contract applications. Finally, if you aren’t successful at first, don’t give up!

Does your department largely work independently, in support of another dept or is it routinely supported by other depts?

As a market-leading finance practice in the City, my team advises on large, complex transactions both in a standalone capacity and in support of the corporate M&A team. The international nature of our work means that we provide a full service to our clients across multiple jurisdictions and practice areas together with Paul Hastings’ overseas offices.

How often as a trainee were you communicating directly with clients (calls, attending meetings)?

Paul Hastings encourages direct client communication as early as possible and as a trainee I liaised with clients on a regular basis, for example, to discuss draft documentation and coordinate signing formalities.

What’s been the highlight of the last month at the firm?

I recently attended a padel tournament with a private credit client, which was a brilliant opportunity to network with the investment professionals as well as try out a new sport with my colleagues.

What’s your desert island disc?

It’d have to be Radiohead’s 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool, which coincidentally includes a track called ‘Desert Island Disk’.