Utilities

Hridi Chowdhury - Associate

Associate, Banking and finance

You’ve recently qualified as an associate. Can you tell us a bit about the team you’ve moved into?

I qualified into the general finance team. I completed three finance seats during my training contact - project finance, commodities finance and structured finance – and I loved each of them, but I also wanted to avoid specialising too early. I think particularly as you start out, it’s beneficial to be a generalist, expanding your skills in a range of different directions.

Since qualifying I’ve been working on a significant restructuring project that involves five different jurisdictions and just as many time zones. It’s exciting work, but the highlight is my team. They’re supportive, willing to teach and available to answer my questions. It’s an excellent learning environment where I feel valued and supported as a member of the team.

What’s been the main difference between life as a trainee and as an associate?

For me, the key difference between being a trainee and an associate is the level of responsibility. I run my own work streams, I review security documents, I draft agreements and I often take calls from associates on the other side. It can be quite daunting at times, but we have on-going training in both hard and soft skills – everything from being an effective presenter to drafting security documents – so I’m more confident every day.

Looking back, what’s the most useful thing you learned as a trainee?

I learned to trust myself and what I was capable of. At the beginning of my training contact, I often felt overwhelmed with the tasks I was given. Throughout my work to date, I’ve definitely learned how to be resourceful. If there’s a difficult task ahead, I know I can do the research, I can ask around and I can discuss with my colleagues. Now, I trust that even if I don’t know how to do something, I can always figure it out by learning something new.

After all you’ve learned, if you were to give one piece of advice to someone thinking about a career in law, what would it be?

I think the question that a potential lawyer should ask themselves is – once you’ve stripped back all the glamour from the profession, is law still something you want to do? Being a lawyer can sometimes mean exciting events with excellent clients, but it also means trying to solve complex problems at odd hours of the night for those same clients. You have to be really passionate and genuinely interested in the whole picture.

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