Leo Rifkind spent six months in Skadden's New York office during the second seat of his training contract
Tell us about your international seat...
With a background in US business law from my Masters and a curiosity to learn about Skadden's origins, I chose to apply for a corporate M&A secondment to our New York office. The secondment lasted six months, running from September to March, and involved a range of both public and private corporate M&A work. This could not have come at a better time since 2015 was the famous $1trillion of Skadden M&A deals.
How easy was it to settle into another country?
The firm put me up in their corporate housing in the upper-east side of Manhattan and, from the first day, I was introduced to the office as part of the team. There were office events throughout each week that offered the chance to meet new people and get involved in new things. By the end of the first month, I was playing for the Skadden soccer team, assisting with New York based pro bono and working on several deals.
Did the opportunity to work in a different country give you a new perspective on the firm?
What came across was the global nature of the firm. While the transactions in the New York office may be more US-centric in comparison to the London office, the work of the firm and the attitude of the teams are still aligned. This is terrific in that you have the opportunity to easily fit into an entirely different setup, learn about the business of that office and become acquainted with a foreign economy.
How did you benefit from the international seat on your return?
The seat in New York was an unparalleled opportunity to learn. The firm was founded in 1948 in New York and has grown organically since. As a result, working in New York even last year gave me the opportunity to work with some of the lawyers that were integral to the foundations of the firm and its continued success in recent decades.