Greetings from Alumni | Karoliina Kyläkoski, Mehiläinen
6 October 2023
In the second part of this autumn’s Greetings from Alumni series, we interviewed our alumna Karoliina Kyläkoski, who works as a legal counsel at Mehiläinen. During her time at Hannes between the years 2016 and 2021, Karoliina worked in the positions of an associate trainee, associate, and senior associate.
Hi Karoliina, how has your autumn started?
Hi, very well - thanks for asking. For me autumn feels more like a start of a new year than the actual new year, and I like the feeling of new projects and hobbies starting in the autumn after summer holidays.
You work as a legal counsel at Mehiläinen. Can you tell us a little bit about your work and daily tasks?
Yes, of course. When I started working at Mehiläinen, which is one of the biggest private providers of healthcare and social services in Finland, in August 2021, I mainly assisted the social care services and occupational healthcare services businesses in their legal matters. Ever since February 2022, I have been working mainly with helping our private and public healthcare services businesses in their legal matters. I am really happy that I have got the opportunity to work for the different business areas of Mehiläinen as that has deepened my understanding of the business areas where Mehiläinen operates and I have also got to know co-workers from both social care and healthcare services. My daily tasks include, for example, negotiating and drafting commercial contracts and lease agreements, commenting draft agreements in public procurement processes, due diligence work, and drafting and negotiating share purchase agreements and other transaction documentation, as Mehiläinen is a quite active player in transactions in the private healthcare sector, and advising our private and public healthcare services in all kinds of legal matters and questions that may arise.
What would you say are the biggest differences between working as an in-house lawyer and working as a lawyer in a law firm?
When you work as an in-house lawyer, you are more close to the business than when you work as a lawyer in a law firm. As an in-house lawyer, you thus gain a more deeper understanding of the business and operations of the company you are working for, which helps in a different contract negotiations and transaction process as you can more easily distinguish which contract terms or findings are crucial and which are not, whereas in a law firm, working for one project might last only a couple of months and you do not get that deep of an understanding of the business of the client. As an in-house lawyer, you also have to be more generalistic and deepen your knowledge to cover a variety of legal matters, whereas in a law firm you typically specialise in one specific field of law. In communication, when you work as an in-house lawyer, it is important to remember that your internal clients are not lawyers, so you must always summarise your advice in a clear manner and not just write long legal analyses without opening up legal concepts – this, of course, also applies to communication with external clients of a law firm, and I think one of the valuable things that I learned at Hannes is how to summarise legal findings and present those clearly to the client.
Has the law firm background helped you in your current job?
Yes, definitely. My time at Hannes created a basis for my legal knowledge and professional skills. At Hannes, I worked in the Private M&A Team and gained an undestanding of transaction processes, the roles of different advisors, and legal transaction documentation, and now in my current role at Mehiläinen, I am also actively participating in transaction processes where Mehiläinen is involved. In addition to all the legal skills I learned at Hannes, I would however say that equally important skills that I learned are the project management skills, the level of precision at work, the ability to summarise potential legal risks and their consequences, and service attitude (now towards internal clients).
What is your favourite memory from your time at Hannes?
I really enjoyed my time at Hannes and have many great memories from there. To name a few, I would say that I still cherish the memory of the time when I first came to Hannes as an associate trainee in January 2016. I felt that the welcome was really warm, and I immediately felt like a valued member of the team and was extremely happy that I was given responsibility and had the feeling that my team members really wanted to teach me new things. Also, it was really motivating to see the professionalism, dedication, and vast knowledge of older colleagues. My other favourite memories are from Tahko ski trips, and last but not least, in addition to the fact that my time at Hannes created a basis for my legal knowledge and professional skills, I also got some really good true friends with whom I hope we will have a lifelong friendship.
One theme that currently stands out in working life discussions is purpose at work. To conclude this interview, we would like to know what the things are that keep you going and motivated at work — what is your purpose?
The industry where Mehiläinen operates is really people-oriented, which is one thing that is really important to me. Also, I get motivated when I know that, with my work input and advice, I can on a small scale participate in creating and providing better healthcare services for people and, thus, hopefully in promoting overall wellbeing in our society. Other things that keep me going and motivated at work are variable tasks where you constantly have a chance to learn new things and deepen your knowledge and, of course, great colleagues.