A Global career
For my second seat, I was seconded to HFW's Paris office. I was formally part of the English-law Commodities team, but had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of matters: contentious and non-contentious, English language and French language, English law and French law. It was, therefore, a fantastic learning experience – not only in terms of the breadth of matters I worked on, but also in terms of improving my French language skills and my understanding of civil legal systems.
Paris is recognised as one of the world's leading centres for international arbitration (it is where the International Chamber of Commerce is headquartered) and my seat reflected this. My work highlights include drafting submissions in a USD60 million French law, English language ICC arbitration and successfully appealing a first-tier GAFTA arbitral award on behalf of a leading French grain trader. I also worked on ship recycling transactions and gave a presentation to French Masters students on the Paris office's Commodities department.
The office is extremely social and I made a number of good friends during my time there. Eating lunch at restaurants at least twice a week was a bit of a culture shock, but it's definitely something you miss when you're back in the UK. I was also lucky enough to go in September, which is when the Juris Cup takes place. A group of us from the office travelled to Marseilles for the weekend to attend. There is a regatta (sailing is optional) and a series of networking events that take place on yachts in the Old Port.
Paris itself is, of course, a vibrant city, crammed full of cultural sites, museums, galleries and incredible architecture. There is always something to do, whether via colleagues at the office or the Paris trainee network. I had a brilliant six months. I would recommend the Paris seat to anyone, especially those looking for a genuinely international experience.