Since starting the graduate program at Ashurst, I have been trying to rewire my sleep schedule to make use of the corporate Fitness First membership before work. Attending a hot yoga or HIIT gym class before clocking on is a guaranteed great way to start my day, though admittedly some mornings I am more successful than others at getting out of bed at this time.
Sitting down at my desk, the first thing I do is run my eyes over the emails that have come in overnight. As a graduate in the Project Finance team, it's not unusual to be working on five or six different transactions at the one time. Adjusting to the constant flow of incoming emails that results from this was definitely something that took some getting used to!
I reply to some of the more straightforward emails received from clients or lawyers on the other side and update my "to-do list" with a few of the trickier queries that I will have to run by a supervising lawyer or partner.
I have a "CP call" scheduled at 9 30 am with my supervising lawyer and counsel acting for the Banks on an acquisition finance transaction. I circulate the dial-in details for our teleconference and review the current status of the various conditions precedent.
After the call, my supervising lawyer and I discuss the remaining action items going forward. We agree that I will start drafting the verification certificates for the various entities involved in the transaction and she will begin preparing the whitewash documents (a staple of any acquisition finance transaction involving "financial assistance").
I return to my desk and have just enough time to ditch my notepad and pen before heading to a local café with some of the other Projects graduates for our fortnightly "juniors coffee". This regular coffee catch up is a great chance to find out what everyone else has been working on recently and to see how they are tracking in general.
Now caffeinated, I return to work and start drafting the verification certificates. This involves running ASIC searches on all relevant entities and reviewing the documents that each company will need to certify. Once I have progressed these, I update our conditions precedent checklist and circulate this to the client with a summary of the action items from our call that morning.
One of the transactions I am currently working on is a solar plant refinancing which is due to reach financial close in a month. We have a meeting later this afternoon with the client and their commercial advisers, so I begin reviewing the latest draft of the Syndicated Facility Agreement. I also compile a list of the drafting notes which we will need further instructions on.
As a graduate at Ashurst, there are countless opportunities to get involved in the many, varied pro bono and CSR initiatives that the firm champions. Over lunch, I head up to the ballroom for a fortnightly "LEAPS" (Lawyers Encouraging & Assisting Promising Students) session. LEAPS is a mentoring program where staff from Ashurst and our client NBN mentor year 9 students from Rooty Hill High School over the course of 6 months.
In this week's session, a junior lawyer gives a presentation on resilience and we chat about this with our mentee over lunch. After giving the students a tour of the building, they head back to Rooty Hill and we head back to work!
I have some downtime before my meeting at 3 30 pm, so I manage to finish off my College of Law assignment for the week. I also progress some non-urgent tasks, like a research memo I am drafting for a lawyer on the Australian laws and regulations which are similar to the UK's "put up or shut up" rules in relation to takeovers of publicly listed companies. After struggling to find any resources on one particularly tricky point, I give the library a quick call and pop down to grab a copy of a textbook they have suggested reviewing.
On the way to the library, I run into a fellow grad who tries to convince me to sub in for tonight's game of mixed netball. I have dinner plans, so I decline my disappointed colleague's offer – despite the desperate pleas that the team will be forced to forfeit the game and lose their coveted position at the top of the competition leader board.
Reception calls to let me know the client and their commercial advisers have arrived for our meeting on the solar refinancing project. I grab my print outs and head up to our client floor with the partner and senior associate. The partner has brought me to all the meetings to date for this transaction to get me on top of the commercial background for the matter. This is always useful context to have before diving into the technical legal detail.
During this meeting, we do a page turn of the Syndicated Facility Agreement and address any potentially contentious points as we come across them. The aim is to anticipate and consider any comments that the lenders might have when they are sent the first copy of the document. Discussions are had around what our negotiating position is on different issues and my role for the meeting is largely to keep notes on what changes need to be made to the agreement going forward.
After seeing the client and their advisers out, I debrief with the partner and senior associate which gives me a chance to ask questions on some of the issues which went way over my head. We chat about which of us will be actioning what, and the partner confirms that the intention is to issue an updated draft to the client by the end of the week.
After a late afternoon coffee stop on the way back to my desk, I begin work on some of the more straightforward changes to the Syndicated Facility Agreement which I've been tasked with.
I've now finished off with the simpler changes, but have a number of questions regarding some of the more substantial amendments which need drafting. I check in with the partner briefly, who tells me these can wait until morning. This is my green light to head off for the evening, so after posting my time I call it a day.
Tonight I am grabbing dinner with some good friends from work who I did my clerkship with. I chose to defer my graduate job for a year to travel overseas, which means that my fellow clerks are now mostly admitted lawyers who will be shortly settling into their preferred teams at Ashurst.
We grab tapas near Circular Quay, and chat about what everyone has been up to. More importantly, we discuss in detail whether we think the new "Bachelor" as an astrophysicist will make good TV.
After arriving back home, I end up chatting with my housemates for too long, meaning that my intentions of meal prepping for the next day quickly fall away… (it's the thought that counts right?) After curling up with an episode of the new Stranger Things season, I set my alarm and get ready to do it all again the next day.