Experiences from Hannes Snellman and Nordea’s Joint Trainee Programme | September 2022
27 October 2022
Karla is a final-year law student at the University of Helsinki, who worked as an associate trainee in our Finance Team in the summer of 2022 and has worked in many trainee positions in various law firms before that. At Nordea, Karla worked in the Large Corporates & Institutions Legal (LC&IL) Team, which provides financial solutions to large Nordic and international corporations and institutional customers.
Why have you chosen financial law in particular, and when did your interest in this field begin?
My interest in financial law began a couple of years ago through my eagerness to learn more about the financial markets and the extensive regulation behind the system. My previous traineeships have also played their part, as working with diverse corporate arrangements got me curious about the financing structures behind them.
How did your time as an associate trainee at Hannes Snellman prepare you for your traineeship at Nordea?
The associate trainee programme at Hannes Snellman gave me a solid foundation to continue as a trainee at Nordea, as my work at Nordea mostly consisted of similar assignments that I had worked with before. My learning curve at Hannes was ascending like a rocket as a result of getting challenging assignments and increasing responsibility simultaneously with valuable mentoring and support, and therefore I felt quite well-prepared for the traineeship at Nordea.
What kind of preconceptions did you have about working in a bank before your experience at Nordea?
I did not have any prior work experience from a bank before this traineeship, but I had heard many good things about Nordea and its legal department. Thus, as far as assumptions go, I had a good feeling about the programme and was eagerly looking forward to the new experience and meeting the team.
How would you describe your assignments at Nordea?
My assignments at Nordea consisted mostly of assisting in loan arrangements, for instance drafting and reviewing agreements as well as other related documents. The timing of my traineeship was perfect, because many new projects kicked off when I started. I also assisted the Business Banking Legal team with some smaller loan agreements and amendments.
However, I also became acquainted with new assignments, such as arrangements concerning derivatives, bonds, and ISDA’s. Furthermore, I got to conduct ESG-related legal research from a bank’s perspective, reviewed an NDA, and drafted issuance agreement templates.
What did you learn during your time at Nordea? Any surprises?
The traineeship at Nordea enabled me to better understand the enormous machinery behind financing arrangements. It was very interesting to take part in contract negotiations from the bank’s point of view, and I was surprised to see how many professionals from different departments participated in the process. Additionally, it was enlightening to see and perceive the bank’s involvement in financial transactions on a larger scale, as the bank is engaged in the transactions for a much longer time-period than a law firm typically is. A moment worth mentioning is that I got to participate in an event concerning Nordea’s AML and KYC processes. The event consisted of an eye-opening presentation and fascinating discussions.
It was also interesting to learn about the bank’s way of working. Although I was familiar with some assignments from before, the work itself differed somewhat from what I was used to, even if I had worked “on the same side of the table”. The traineeship allowed me to learn new things every day, even in terms of tasks I had worked with prior to Nordea.
During my traineeship, I got to see how sustainability is integrated in the core of Nordea’s business, by virtue of which I understood much better the effects of the massive and dynamic regulation on the financial institutions. Participating in meetings and discussing topics related to sustainable finance with Nordea’s experts also gave me inspiration for my Master’s Thesis.
Furthermore, a pleasant surprise during the trainee period was to bump into several friends of mine at Nordea’s headquarters in Vallila.
What would you say to applicants applying for our associate trainee programme who are also eager to continue at Nordea?
I am truly thankful for the privilege to experience the traineeship at Nordea’s LC&IL Team in connection with the associate trainee programme at Hannes Snellman, and I warmly recommend everyone even slightly intrigued by the joint trainee programme to grab the chance if possible. Even if the traineeship of four weeks goes by very quickly, it was a rewarding and unique experience, and my new colleagues made me feel like a part of the team since day one.