Annabelle Arden Maccabee is an associate in the global energy and natural resources group at Reed Smith.
The energy sector offers a truly multidisciplinary and global practice. Clients range from producers and 'giants' of commodity trading to financial institutions and fund managers. They all have one thing in common: they keep the world turning and it is the job of an energy lawyer to help them to do so from start to finish.
The energy sector encompasses a number of different specialisms, including: commodities; power; oil and gas; renewable and clean energy; infrastructure projects; mining; metals and minerals; nuclear and environmental. The continual advancement of energy technologies provides an exciting opportunity to take part in ground-breaking work that has a real impact on people and businesses all over the world.
There are no 'one trick ponies' specialising in energy law; the majority of lawyers undertake both contentious (arbitration and court) and non-contentious work and often deal with 'fire-fighting', i.e. live matters which have to be dealt with as a matter of urgency, be it rejecting contaminated cargo or arresting cargo on a vessel in Singapore. Therefore the areas of law an energy lawyer deals with vary but focus on the law of contracts from production to the sale, transportation and distribution of goods.
As a trainee and a newly qualified lawyer you are encouraged to gain experience in as many of these areas as possible. At Reed Smith there are often opportunities to go on secondment to the legal departments of our clients, helping you gain an invaluable insight into a client’s business and the market.
Trainees are given a lot of responsibility and, if they can show they are up to it, are treated more as associates than trainees. There is always work to be done and trainees are required to work for a number of partners, associates and counsel on a variety of matters. Their involvement can range from research to drafting agreements and case management from an early stage. Some trainees run their own cases under the supervision of a partner or a senior associate while others work in collegiate teams on large-scale projects. Trainees enjoy regular client contact and are often invited to client seminars and other events.
Anyone who has an interest in the global market and wants to develop their understanding of the different players within it will get on in this area. Having an open mind is crucial - you come across a variety of different national and international clients with a multiplicity of attitudes and values.
Why energy? The buzz of working on a huge deal; being part of a large-scale litigation matter which is receiving global press coverage and working as part of a truly global team make for a great package.
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