Legal


Every transaction that takes place in an investment bank has legal

implications. The legal department ensures that contracts are

correct, legal disputes are won and the bank operates within the law."We provide legal support to all the bank's businesses," says Simon Dodds,

general counsel in charge of the UK legal department at Deutsche Bank. "We

manage any litigation the Bank is involved in and work closely with the

compliance department on regulatory investigations.

"We are also involved in structuring, documenting and negotiating transactions

for many parts of the bank, particularly the sales and trading businesses."

Investment banks also work with 'outside counsel' or external legal firms.

Outside counsel is particularly important in corporate finance work.

Along with the investment banks, European law firms have been badly

affected by the drop in M&A activity since 2000 as well as the general

economic downturn. Top law firms have responded by freezing salary levels for some

jobs.

However, there is likely to be growing legal activity surrounding other

banking products, such as credit derivatives. These complex instruments can also give

rise to litigation, including a dispute between Nomura and Credit Suisse First Boston

in 2002.

Players

Investment banks hardly ever train lawyers themselves, so it is necessary

to be trained elsewhere, which invariably means working for one of the big

law firms.

In the City of London, the largest are known as the 'magic

circle': Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer,

Linklaters & Alliance and Slaughter & May. These firms now rank highly in

continental Europe.

Thomson Financial's ranking of legal advisors for European M&A deals

announced in 2001 shows Linklaters & Alliance to be the leading legal

advisor.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer ranked second and Sullivan &

Cromwell, a New York law firm with offices in Frankfurt, Paris and

London, ranked third.

There are also a number of well-respected regional players, for example

Gouldens in the UK, Gleiss Lutz Hootz Hirsch in Germany, and Gide Loyrette

Nouel in France.

The larger the law firm, the more traineeships are offered. Slaughter & May

employs c.700 lawyers globally and in 2002 is recruiting for its offices in London,

Paris and Brussels, offering 85 places at its London office alone.

Careers

The road to working in the legal department of an investment bank is a

long one. Before working for a bank, you will usually need to be a solicitor with

between three to five years' post-qualification experience.

Lawyers trained in Europe are welcome in London offices of investment banks. "The legal systems in continental Europe are different from those in the Anglo Saxon world,"

says Dodds at Deutsche Bank. "It is, therefore, a challenge for

continental European-qualified lawyers to make the move to a London legal

department.

"However, as most of our business is cross border, continental-trained

lawyers are quite attractive to us. …

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