News & Views

Career Stories | Julia Ranta, Associate, Real Assets, Helsinki

20 March 2023

You did your law studies at the University of Turku, but you also have experience of studying abroad. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? What have been the greatest take-aways from those experiences? 

I did two exchange semesters abroad and both of them were truly unforgettable experiences for which I am still very grateful. Studying in the US was a great opportunity to improve my English skills and to get to know the basics of their legal system. Although studying there was a lot more intense compared to what I was used to, I still had the time for travelling and spending time with new friends.

Besides the US, I also lived in Germany a couple of times after high school, so I really wanted to experience something different during my second exchange. Colombia definitely seemed like “something different” based on the Netflix TV-series Narcos, and I am beyond happy I took the opportunity to go there. Colombia is still one of my favourite countries that I have visited so far and the nature over there is just stunning. My time in Colombia was more about exploring the country and learning salsa than studying, so the greatest take-aways are the experiences I had and the new skills I learnt, including the aforementioned salsa and scuba diving, just to name a few.

How did you end up working at Hannes Snellman? 

I got interested in energy law during the last couple of years of my law studies, and I really wanted to work somewhere where I could learn more about that field. I first joined Hannes’s Real Assets Team in 2020 as an associate trainee. I instantly liked the team and the projects and felt that this is the place where I would really like to work after my graduation as well. After the traineeship, I continued as a thesis trainee and then started as an associate shortly after.

One thing that has probably affected my career the most so far is that I had the opportunity to write my master's thesis as part of LUT University's multi-discipline feasibility study on an industrial scale power-to-x pilot plant. My thesis focused on assessing the implications of the Recast Renewable Energy Directive on hydrogen and hydrogen-derived power-to-x fuels, such as synthetic methanol, gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. In addition to the legal aspects, I also got to familiarise myself with the basic technical aspects of hydrogen and methanol production, which has helped me to understand the industry a lot better. Overall, I was very surprised by how much my thesis sparked interest also outside of Finland, as it was something that I never could have imagined. Participating in the feasibility study really boosted my interest towards the energy sector even further and, since then, the hydrogen-related regulation has been my main curiosity at work.

What makes our Real Assets Team special is that it is truly a “one-stop-shop” from the clients’ perspective. We have the expertise to cover the entire life cycle of the projects involving real assets, starting from the acquisition of the necessary land areas, planning, and permitting all the way to the potential disposal or the end of the life cycle of the project. In the meantime, our team advises, for example, on all regulatory and contractual matters relating to the development, construction, and operation stages of the project.

You are a hydrogen regulation expert. What kind of assignments are typically on your table?  

Hydrogen regulation is currently subject to several legislative processes at the EU level, so we follow very closely the status of the regulation and the overall development of the hydrogen economy. In addition, we assist our clients in various hydrogen-related assignments together with our Real Assets Team’s colleagues who are specialised in environment, real estate, energy, projects, and construction, give trainings regarding hydrogen regulation, and participate in various energy seminars.

What do you enjoy best in your work? 

As can probably be seen from my answers above, the hydrogen-related regulation is my biggest passion at work. Working at Hannes enables my personal professional development in that field as the Real Assets Team and the firm overall is full of professionals with top-notch knowledge and experience in the energy sector. Meri-Katriina and I are the core of our hydrogen regulation team and working with her is always very chill and fun!

How do you maintain the balance between work life and free time? 

I get very easily carried away with things I find interesting and therefore, to be honest, maintaining the balance between work life and free time is sometimes quite challenging for me. However, I feel like I have already got better at this compared to the time when I first started as an associate. Having a lot of scheduled hobbies and other free time activities has helped me the most to maintain the balance.

One theme that currently stands out in working life discussions is that of purpose. To conclude this interview, we would like to ask you what are the things that keep you going and motivated at work — what is your purpose?

Energy regulation is a key instrument in defining the emission reduction targets to reach the climate goals and the measures we need to take in order to meet them. Therefore, as we are currently in the middle of an energy crisis, working with renewable energy projects and energy regulation is very important for me.


FAVOURITE |  Way of Commuting: Tram; Book: Torey Hayden – Tiikerin lapsi; Lunch: Joe and the Juice’s spicy tuna sandwich and a smoothie; Podcast: Auta  Antti; Work Equipment: Laptop; Afternoon Routine: Coffee break; Mobile Application: Spotify; Relaxation Method: Sports, outdoor activities, and sauna; Work Outfit: Wide leg pants, oversized sweater, sneakers; Social Media Channel: TikTok; Drink: Pepsi max; Weekday: Saturday; Leisure Activity: Horseback riding, tennis, card games

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