News & Views

Greetings from Alumni: Kaisa Himmanen, Legal Counsel, KONE

20 May 2024

In the fifth part of this spring’s Greetings from Alumni series, we interviewed Kaisa Himmanen, who now works as a legal counsel at KONE Corporation. During her time at Hannes between 2017 and 2023, Kaisa worked in the positions of a trainee, associate, and senior associate in our M&A and IP & Tech Teams.

Hi Kaisa, how are you?

I’m doing great, thanks for asking! May is a wonderful time of year as the city (and people) become alive and vibrant! Both my professional and personal lives buzz with activity at this time of the year: many interesting projects accelerate before the holiday season kicks in (which is, of course, eagerly anticipated by all). And I love the summer-like weather we’re currently having so there’s no better time to enjoy outdoor activities with our dog and to do some gardening and other preparations at the summer house.

You work as a legal counsel at KONE Corporation. Can you tell us a little bit about your work and daily tasks?

As part of global legal team, I am responsible for supporting the KONE supply chain, particularly in the procurement of ICT and digital services/solutions. My daily tasks include drafting and negotiating a variety of procurement contracts. I work closely with stakeholders and business partners, including the procurement team and various operational teams such as IT and R&D, and support them with whatever legal (or sometimes non-legal) questions that may arise from time to time. My involvement concentrates on the pre-execution phase although occasionally, if the project team faces wrinkles during the execution, some assistance is also needed at a later stage. Also, at the legal team, our role is to provide training for relevant stakeholders and to develop the legal processes within our respective areas of responsibility.
Digitalisation is highly topical area for the business at the moment (and in the legal landscape in general) relating to which new initiatives keep emerging continuously, so I am excited to be in this role to see what all the future holds!

What would you say are the biggest differences between working as an in-house lawyer and working as a lawyer in a law firm?

I must echo many other former Hennes and Hannes people who have contributed to the Greeting from Alumni series, but when working as an in-house lawyer, the focus is on long-term relationship building and gaining a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the business. Also, work is more autonomous, in fact, you are typically the only person in the team representing the legal side of things. The role requires balancing legal risks with business objectives and providing clear, pragmatic, and concrete solutions (in as summarised a form as possible). At the same time, it involves dealing with a variety of non-legal matters that must also be taken into account.

Has the law firm background helped you in your current job?

In my opinion, law firm background has been immensely beneficial in various aspects — not only in terms of legal expertise and substantive knowledge but perhaps even more so regarding professional skills that I acquired during my years at Hannes Snellman. The project managements skills and overall “get things done” attitude have proven to be helpful every day.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Hannes?

There are many! The rollercoaster ride of dynamic and challenging M&A projects was thrilling, and navigating these as a team was extremely rewarding. Yet, the most cherished memories stem from the various events and other moments shared with wonderful colleagues and the friendships forged, beginning right from the trainee days!

Hannes Snellman is cooperating with Päätös, a podcast focused on decision-making, for its fifth season this spring. Inspired by the podcast, we would like to conclude this interview by asking you about decision-making — what would you say is the most significant decision you have made when it comes to your professional life?"

During my final studies at law school, I was still pondering between two completely different fields of law on which to concentrate. Therefore, I would say that applying to traineeship at Hannes Snellman (which was my first job in the industry) set the scene for my future career within business law. For me, ending up at Hannes Snellman meant exceptionally wide-ranging role within the M&A team, but also at a later stage an opportunity to completely shift my focus to IP&Tech matters. I am grateful for the support I received in exploring the various paths. Little did I know about the impact of that decision back in the day. 😊

More News