News & Views

Greetings from Alumni: Vesa Vuorio, Legal Counsel, Nordea Bank

29 October 2020

We interviewed our alumnus Vesa Vuorio, who works as a legal counsel at Nordea Bank and who just recently acted as a tutor in Hannes Snellman and Nordea’s joint associate trainee programme, where an associate trainee continues as an intern at Nordea for one month after completing their four-month trainee period at Hannes. During his time at Hannes between 2013 and 2016, Vesa worked as an associate in our Finance practice.

Hi Vesa, how are you – and how has the second half of the year been so far?

Hi, and thanks for asking! As for all of us, it has definitely been an extraordinary year. Luckily, during the summer the COVID-19 restrictions eased a bit so it was possible to be at least partly back at the office and also have a relaxing summer holiday despite the travel restrictions. At the same time, our team has been busy with a number of transactions of all sizes. As I really enjoy working face-to-face with our team and the business people, the start of the autumn has given me a lot of energy even if the remote working policies should become more strict in the coming months.

You just recently acted as a tutor on Nordea’s side in our joint associate trainee programme. Can you tell us a little bit about the work that the associate trainee did at Nordea?

We were delighted to have Emmi on board with us for a month, and she gave us all a fresh boost in our daily work. Emmi assisted us with work related to all our different product areas, from financial regulation to derivatives trading agreements and loan transactions. In one transaction Emmi also got a chance to assist in the completion of the deal and attend a physical closing, which have not been particularly common lately.

What was the best part of being a tutor?

I enjoyed being a tutor for trainees already during my time at Hannes, but that was about five years ago, so I was really happy to experience it again. It was interesting to hear insights from a graduating lawyer of a new generation. It seems that the graduating classes experience the work-life a bit differently than we did a decade ago. Most importantly, Emmi is a fun person to work with and integrated to our team very quickly!

Prior to your banking career, you worked at Hannes Snellman’s Finance practice for three years. What lessons did you take with you from the Finance team?

In my experience, starting your career in a law firm right after graduation provides an excellent foundation for work in any lawyer position. In Hannes Snellman’s finance team, I learned the preciseness, diligence, and communication skills that are the basic components of a lawyer’s skillset. In addition, the learning curve in terms of the substance was steep, as I got to work with highly skilled people. I remember my time at Hannes fondly and I am still regularly in touch with many of my former colleagues.

From your perspective in the world of banking, what do you consider to be the top attributes for the perfect law firm cooperation partner? What do you appreciate the most?

For an in-house counsel, the number of cases to be handled simultaneously by one lawyer is usually much higher than in a law firm, particularly when compared to the junior-level lawyers. Therefore, we value proactivity and knowledge of the client’s policies and procedures in order to focus our time on the essential. This level of cooperation can be obtained by repetition and constant dialogue. We also want the law firms to provide solutions instead of lengthy negotiations around minor legal points.

When reflecting on your career as a lawyer, what advice would you give to yourself on your first day at law school?

I enjoyed the student life at law school, and I would advise students to make the most out of the time spent as a student! There will be plenty of time later to be spend working in the demanding and sometimes competitive atmosphere. It is also good to remember that studies are meant to be beneficial for the future and not just for passing the exam at hand. Law school also provides an excellent opportunity to try various potential career opportunities through traineeships and part-time work.