Marco de Sousa

Herbert Smith Freehills Trainee


I grab a cup of coffee on my way in to the office before heading to the weekly Middle East projects team conference call. The Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha offices and the Business Development team all participate and the meeting is a good way of keeping up on what pitches have been submitted and what other members of the team are working on.


I get to my desk and go through the emails that have come in overnight and start organising my day. We work closely with the Singapore and Tokyo offices who have already been busy for a few hours, so there is plenty to get on with.


An associate has asked me to prepare the first draft of a document for a transaction that I’ve been helping him with. This is the first time I’ve drafted this type of document, so before I get started I discuss with the associate what needs to be included and what the finished product will need to look like. One of the best (and, occasionally, scariest!) things about working in one of the firm’s smaller offices is the increased level of responsibility that trainees are given.


When I’m done with the first draft I give it to the associate to review before heading out for lunch with some of the other trainees. It’s a busy day so we just grab something quick and head back to the office.


I have a conference call with my supervisor and local counsel to discuss some Kuwaiti law issues that have arisen on one of the deals I’m helping him with. My supervisor has asked me to take a note of the call and circulate it to the team for comments.


Having sent the note out to the team with an explanatory email, I head to a talk being given by one of the Finance partners about a significant Islamic Finance transaction that the Dubai office worked on recently. These talks are particularly useful for trainees because they provide an opportunity to learn about areas of the practice that we might not otherwise have a chance to be involved in (and, of course, to tuck into the biscuits!).


The firm is considering pitching for a role on a large project in the region and one of the partners has asked me to do some background research on the project. I look through news reports and industry publications and start putting together a brief note.


The associate has come back with comments on the document that I drafted earlier and has asked me to join a meeting with him and the supervising partner to go through them. The partner explains the changes so that I understand them, and I have the chance to ask plenty of questions before going back and incorporating what was discussed at the meeting into the document.


I finish redrafting the document and send it to the associate for discussion in the morning. England are playing in the Euros this evening, so I head out to one of Dubai’s rooftop bars to catch the game with some of the other trainees.

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