Greetings from Alumni: Outi Raitasuo
25 May 2023
Outi Raitasuo started as an associate at Hannes Snellman in 1989. During her career of more than 30 years, Outi worked with mergers and acquisitions, company law and tax planning, as well as asset financing transactions. Outi is an internationally ranked practitioner and an author of books on tax planning and agency and distributorship agreements. She has also held several board memberships, including in listed companies. In 2022, Outi decided to step down from the partnership of Hannes Snellman.
Hi Outi! How has your first spring as a Hannes alumna been?
I am very well, thank you. The first spring as a Hannes alumna has been great. I have to admit that it took some time to get used to not having a pile of emails in the morning that need to replied to, Teams meetings, or any hectic timetables. However, as a fast learner I think I have managed that quite well! Spring is the best time in Lapland, and I have spent some time on outdoor activities in Lapland with my husband. Lapland is one of our favourite places.
You worked at Hannes for more than 30 years, of which 25 as a partner in the firm’s M&A team. If you think back to your career, what is the first thing that springs to your mind?
I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to work and develop myself at Hannes. I am also grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of the team that has built Hannes from a 14-lawyer firm to one with offices in Helsinki and Stockholm with superb lawyers and staff of some 400.
You started with the firm in 1989. How did you become a lawyer at Hannes Snellman?
I was completing my LL.M. studies in Toronto, and one of my friends tipped me off that Hannes Snellman is recruiting associates. All I knew about Hannes Snellman was that it was a Swedish-speaking firm. This made me as a Finnish-speaker to hesitate whether I should apply at all. Luckily, I did, and I got an invitation to an interview on the morning after my arrival back to Finland.
What has changed in practicing legal profession in a law firm over the years?
When I started, there were only a few female lawyers in law firms. The balance between male and female lawyers has changed, and now the percentage of female lawyers is higher than that of male lawyers at Hannes Snellman. Thus, diversity has improved,but the gender balance at partner level could still be better in the whole industry.
The work in a law firm has changed drastically over the years. Things have changed a lot in even in the past three years due to COVID, not to mention over the course of thirty years. It is like night and day from the time when I started practicing until today. Technology meant then typewriters, slow computers, telefax and copy machines, and desk phones. Technology has now entirely changed the way law is practiced, everything is more fast-paced. Access to information is easier as a lot of information is available online or research databases.
However, not all things have changed. Certain qualities of a good lawyer have not changed. A successful lawyer is trusted by the client, is a good listener, understands the client’s business, has strong advocacy and analytical skills, and is committed to finding the best solution to the client. In a service business such as law, you must earn your client’s trust.
What is your favourite memory of your time at Hannes?
There are so many happy memories over 33 years that it is indeed difficult to pinpoint an all-time favourite. All my favourite memories are connected to my skilled colleagues, the strength of collegiality, and great humour of the team members even in challenging situations. This is really important in a demanding profession. There are also several unforgettable assignments; the thrill of getting the deal done or the complex case solved.
What advice would you give to a young, newly graduated lawyer?
As a newly graduated lawyer, you are not expected to know answers to everything. But be committed to listening and learning as legal profession requires that you constantly learn and also possess knowledge of the current developments in business issues that affect the firm and its clients. Do not be afraid to ask for guidance. Build good connections to your colleagues as the best person to help you is someone who has been through the associate experience. Be open to every variety of assignments or opportunities that may come your way as all experience will be useful. Take ownership of your assignments and be proactive. If you want to develop yourself, do not avoid stepping out from your comfort zone.
After your long career in business law, can you tell us a little bit about your future plans? Where are you going to put your focus next?
The plan is not to have any tight plans. I am interested in doing matters for which I have not had enough time or which I have opted out. I have always loved books and reading. I had the possibility to start literature studies but I chose law. Now I decided to find out what studying literature would really be like, and I just completed the intermediate studies of literature in Jyväskylä Open University. This has been interesting and inspiring. I will also have more time to play bad golf and better pétanque. It is still early days as a retiree, and I am likely to get involved in more challenging things in time.
In our Greetings from Alumni series, you will meet interesting people and get to hear about their different career stories. If you want to know more about working at Hannes Snellman, please pay a visit to our Careers section.