How two lawyers created two academies

Carolina (Managing Associate, Finance & Restructuring) and Klara (Managing Associate, Private M&A), both started their careers at Hannes Snellman. Together, they have initiated the business area-specific academies Finance Academy and M&A Academy, alongside our internal learning platform, Hannes Academy. How did they do it? Why did they do it? What main topics are being covered and what are the benefits?

How did you come up with the idea of your own academies? For how long have they been up and running?

The idea to start the “Finance Academy” was born when the two of us were having lunch back in 2015. As the Finance group consists of several individuals, we saw the need to make sure that each new employee got a proper introduction to the practicalities at least once – instead of having only ad hoc introductions. A few hours later we had set the schedule for the Finance Academy and sent out the first invites, and it has thereafter been fine-tuned each semester. All associates and assistants in the group are invited to each session, so it has turned out to be a great way to share knowledge also between individuals that have worked for a while.

The “Finance Academy” then inspired our M&A group to do the same thing, and Klara put together a schedule and took lead on the M&A Academy.

Someone once said that the first project one is working on after law school is like riding a train faced backwards – you are going really fast, but has no idea what is in front of you, you only see (get) things when they have already happened. We wanted to change that.

What are the main topics being covered by the M&A and Finance Academy?

How a typical project can look like from the beginning to the end, who are the typical parties to a leveraged facilities agreement, tips and tricks around drafting funds flows and how to negotiate specific sections of an agreement, to give a few examples.

The above is really basic things for someone that has been working for a while, but hardly anyone joining us from law school have ever heard the word funds flow (and both Finance and M&A love lingo).

What do you think are the benefits of having business area-specific academy?

We recruit talented people that have an excellent legal knowledge, but law school does not teach its students about the practicalities. And although “learning by doing” is one way of learning things, new employees need to be introduced to understand the day-to-day assignments. The time invested in the BA-specific academies we get back when our new colleagues can deliver first drafts with a higher quality. In addition, it is more fun to actually understand how your work in the transaction/assignment contributes to the overall picture!