The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Name: Kristian Shearsby Firm: Mills & Reeve LLP Location: London University: The University of Edinburgh Degree: History

flexible and work around the clients’ needs means that it can be hard to make plans. But there is a real sense of satisfaction in helping clients, you can really see the benefits that a transformative corporate action such as an IPO or secondary offering bring to a business.” The year in capital markets The corporate world has faced the challenges of covid-19 and political turmoil over Brexit, but Kristian’s team is once again busy. “At the beginning of 2020 the market cleared the hurdle of Brexit uncertainty following the December 2019 General Election,” he explains. “That meant that the start of the year was relatively busy and in January we acted for a client on its IPO on the specialist fund segment of the London Stock Exchange. But then coronavirus hit and inevitably led to an initial lull, before subsequently picking up again. Whilst the IPOmarket has been relatively quiet, companies who are already listed have been seeking to raise further funds and underpin their balance sheets. For businesses whose income has been hit by the crisis, being listed has provided a market to raise additional funds from existing and new investors, so this element of the market has been quite buoyant.” His main tip for budding corporate lawyers? “Everyone says this but for good reason – commercial awareness is important on several levels. If you are looking to secure a training contract or NQ position, you must show that you understand both the sector and the practice area you are applying to. At the same time, doing that initial research and developing your understanding of how businesses work will tell you whether this is something you enjoy, which is vital because this career path is a big commitment. Real commercial awareness comes with genuine enthusiasm and interest. That knowledge and passion tie together as you gain experience and it will make you a better lawyer.”

the due diligence and verification aspects are also important trainee responsibilities. Analytical skills and attention to detail really come into play when working through swathes of information to pick out material issues during the due diligence phase, and then checking all the documentation for accuracy in the verification phase. This often involves trainees working alongside the banks, accountants and financial printers, so it’s also an important time for a junior capital markets lawyer to develop their communication skills – a lot of the best relationships are built at an early stage and you can find that you are working with the same people on transactions 10 years later when your respective roles have developed.” Developing a sector focus One of the main documents in a capital markets transaction is the admission document (for an AIM IPO) or prospectus (if the listing is on the main market). “The admission document or prospectus gives the reader a clear picture of the company and what it does, so a lot of diligence and research goes into preparing that document and it requires a high level of commercial understanding,” he continues. “This is partly why capital markets lawyers often develop a particular sector focus as their careers develop. For example, the more you learn and understand about the life sciences industry, the better you become at recognising what needs to go into these key documents to ensure they are completely accurate and provide the reader with all the information necessary to enable investors to make an informed assessment of the company and its business.” The varied and meaningful nature of capital markets work are key to its appeal. “I enjoy the fact that every day is different; I can start work with a good idea of what I’m going to do that day, then take a call from a client and that goes out the window,” says Kristian. “It’s a double-edged sword, as the need to be


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