Successful first edition of Hannes Snellman Summer School

9 October 2019

We are proud to announce that the very first Hannes Snellman Summer School took place on 24 and 25 August. 30 law students from all over Finland and Sweden got together in our Helsinki office for two days to learn about corporate responsibility and compliance.

The official programme started with our Managing Partner Mikko Heinonen’s welcome speech, in which he emphasised the importance of networking and continuous learning. After Mikko’s speech, we got to enjoy three engaging presentations by Hannes Snellman’s Managing Associate Caroline Snellman and Partner Heidi Haanpää, as well as UPM-Kymmene Oyj’s (UPM) Compliance Counsel Essi Heinänen.

Caroline gave an inspirational introduction to corporate responsibility and compliance, explaining through examples why compliance should not be a programme but a way of doing business. As the students were going to carry out a corporate responsibility and compliance related fictional legal due diligence (LDD), Heidi walked our guests through the LDD process. She focused on the areas of interest of LDD and on how to address the findings. Finally, Essi presented real life examples of how corporate responsibility and compliance issues are handled in a company as big and multinational as UPM. Great questions from students and Hannes Snellman hosts alike further livened up the presentations.

After the expert sessions, we moved to the highlight of the Summer School, a three-part workshop built around an imaginary transaction. The students represented a fictional Nordic law firm, and their equally fictional client considered acquiring a mining company in a developing country. The students’ task was to find the main corporate responsibility and compliance related problems of the target company. Students dug into the LDD material and prepared questions for an interview with the management of the target company scheduled for the next morning.

What first appeared a daunting stack of paper with thirty-something pages slowly started to reveal a company that definitely did not have its compliance matters in order. Good teamwork and communication carried the day, and the students even demanded we extend the workshop’s duration. Finally, when we were done working, we balanced things out by ending the first day with a relaxed meet and greet event where our participants had the chance to mingle and get to know each other as well as Hannes Snellman’s employees better.

On Friday morning, we jumped straight into the management interview, during which Heidi coached the students to form their questions in the best way possible and, just as importantly, to ask the right questions. The management, portrayed by our Associates Olli Mäkelä and Lauri Marjamäki, were put through almost two hours of tough questions and even tougher follow-ups. Even though the management was quite unaware of the target company’s corporate responsibility and compliance related problems, the students found various glaring issues with the target company during the interview. In the afternoon, the students presented their findings and recommendations to the fictional client company, with Stockholm University Professor Mårten Schultz providing great comments on the presentations.

The official programme of our Summer School ended with Hannes Snellman’s Managing Associate Anna-Maria Tamminen’s presentation on compliance and disputes. Anna-Maria presented a very practical view to handling suspected compliance wrongdoings. She also taught the students a valuable lesson on how difficult it is to prepare for such situations thoroughly; the phrase “it depends” became very familiar during the last hour and a half of the official programme.

When the last presentation was over, the participants received certificates of participation, and we wrapped up the Summer School with a tasty dinner and fun after-party in the Helsinki night. We would like to warmly thank all the participants and everyone else who contributed to the first ever Hannes Snellman Summer School for the two days of interesting lectures, interactive workshops, and laid-back networking. We had a blast, and we hope the participants did too!

Feedback from Summer School participants can be found here.