Cate Dean is a University of Edinburgh graduate who now sits in the equity and debt markets practice of Linklaters LLP, based in London.
Capital markets is the term used for the markets where securities, such as shares (equity) and bonds (debt), are traded. Entities such as banks, companies and countries frequently 'visit' these markets to raise funds.
The work is mostly transactional, revolving around the issue and purchase of debt or equity securities. Daily tasks include drafting and negotiating documents and structuring transactions. Lawyers also advise clients on general queries regarding market practice and related legislation.
This area of law is practised by large, often international, commercial firms. The working environment is office-based with frequent attendance of meetings and the occasional opportunity for overseas travel. Working hours can vary as the area is often sensitive to market conditions. During busier periods the working day is fast paced and varied with multiple on-going transactions.
Capital markets work is very 'current', often correlating to topics discussed in the financial press and the area requires the use of both legal and transferable skills on a daily basis. Capital markets also offers the opportunity to apply the technicalities of the law with a commercial perspective and is frequently viewed as an area which offers high levels of client contact.
Our clients include global investment banks, large corporates, sovereign nations and municipalities. They will often have a sophisticated team of in-house lawyers and advisers and will generally instruct a firm like Linklaters for larger transactions, often involving a multinational aspect. As such, they look to us to provide efficient management of the transaction process alongside in-depth advice on legal issues and current market practice. Linklaters also advises clients on complex capital markets products such as securitisations and derivatives.
The Eurozone crisis recently provided Linklaters with the opportunity to work on the €206bn Greek debt exchange.
Trainees are involved with drafting documents, transaction management, liaising with clients and discussing transactions with regulators or lawyers from other jurisdictions. They will work on a transaction with more senior lawyers while taking responsibility for aspects of the deal. Each transaction typically lasts for one or two months and trainees frequently work on a number of matters, which offers a varied experience. Capital markets trainees at Linklaters also often spend six months working at one of our overseas offices, for example in Hong Kong or Dubai.
Capital markets is an area which is impacted by economic conditions. The recent Eurozone debt crisis has caused investors to become more selective as to which securities they hold. This has provided many interesting opportunities for capital markets lawyers as companies and banks attempt to raise capital and restructure outstanding securities. For example, the Eurozone crisis recently provided Linklaters with the opportunity to work on the €206bn Greek debt exchange, the largest bond restructuring ever undertaken.
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