DLA Piper is the leading global business law firm in the Nordic region with more than 370 lawyers and offices in Oslo, Stockholm, Aarhus, Copenhagen and Helsinki. This strong Nordic presence ensures that our lawyers are offered unique training programs and opportunities to build international networks.
Lykke, Antti and Jesper from DLA Piper in Denmark, Finland and Sweden respectively, are currently working from the Oslo office as a part of the Nordic Secondment program. This is what they say about being a part of an international law firm and how they have experienced their visit to Oslo.
In which practice area do you work?
Lykke: At DLA Piper Denmark I initially started as an M&A associate at our office in Copenhagen. In November 2017; however, I moved to Aarhus in order to be closer to my family, and as part of this rotation, I became part of our Corporate M&A group in Aarhus. This group is divided into minor subgroups such as employment, tax, M&A etc. I am a part of our IP and employment group, where I primarily work with matters of business law for Danish and international business enterprises relating to intellectual property law, employment law and company law as well as litigation on these issues. In particular, I provide advice on IP issues, including on the protection and defense of designs, trademarks, trade secrets, product protection, etc.
Furthermore, I work on employment law, including employment contracts, executive service agreements, individual as well as collective dismissals, severance agreements and litigation on issues of employment law.
Jesper: I'm part of the firm's corporate group in Sweden, which means that I work mostly with M&A assignments, doing, for example, legal due diligence of companies and drafting agreements related to transactions. I also work continuously with drafting and reviewing commercial contracts of all sorts and drafting documents for companies which are taking up capital in various ways. It's a good mix of different legal areas, so I am always seeing and learning new things.
Antti: I am working with the Finnish corporate team, and M&A is my primary field of expertise. In Helsinki we have a compact and dedicated M&A team offering a full range of M&A services. Naturally, we are also constantly advising our clients on all kinds of other corporate legal matters as well. Our clientele includes a wide range of both Finnish and international companies, private equity houses etc.
Why DLA Piper?
Lykke: Denmark became a part of DLA Piper Denmark in May 2017, and DLA Piper was therefore not an active choice of employment for me, as I was employed almost three years ago at the previous LETT Law Firm. So for me the question is more, why I have chosen to stay at DLA Piper Denmark, after the company went from being one of the most prestigious and well-known law firms in Denmark to being one of the most prestigious and well-known international law firms, but somewhat unknown in Denmark? The answer is: because of the opportunities that international relations provide and because clients are becoming more and more international, and as a consequence we as lawyers need to internationalize along with the clients in order to meet them where they are and where their needs are.
Jesper: Definitely I would say the international aspect. I would really love to go and work in a different country someday, and DLA Piper opens that door.
Antti: The slogan “truly global law firm with a strong Nordic presence” is not pulled out of a hat and that adds a new and very exciting layer to the everyday work at DLA Piper. The Finnish corporate team is also expanding all the time, which gives the employees a great opportunity to develop and take responsibility at an early stage.
Why did you want to participate in the Nordic secondment program?
Lykke: I believe that personal relations with people that you have met provide a better foundation for future cooperation. And for DLA Piper to succeed, we need to feel that all offices are part of one organization and not more than 40 small sub-organizations. So my hope and purpose with this secondment is that after the secondment my Nordic colleagues will hopefully find it easier to get into contact with the Danish office, as they know me, and they will hopefully find it natural to just give me a call instead of a formal and neutral email, if they need any kind of assistance in Denmark.
Jesper: I heard from the people who went on the Nordic secondment program last time that it was very good experience and a good way of getting to know our colleagues in other Nordic countries. I can only agree, it really has been great fun. Also, I hadn't been to Oslo before, so I thought it was good way to see the city.
Antti: During my time at DLA Piper there have been several projects that involved cooperation with the other Nordic offices (I am actually currently working on a project that requires cooperation with the Norwegian office). I think it is very good that we are offered a chance to get to know each other a bit better as that improves our ability to work a single pan-Nordic team. This is also why I wanted to attend the Nordic secondment program.
Why do you think it is important for the Nordic offices to work closely together?
Lykke: Compared to e.g. the Chinese and the Germans, the Nordics have so much in common, including common history, culture and almost the same language. The best place to start making relations within DLA Piper is therefore in the Nordics. Why should we then use this advantage? Because a lot of the Nordic offices’ clients have business in all of the Nordic countries. Despite having similar cultures and languages, we still have different legal systems and legislation providing barriers for our clients. Through close cooperation between the Nordics, we are able to provide a full-service counselling package for our clients concerning all jurisdictions.
Jesper: I think it strengthens the firm's offer to clients. I've worked on several matters where we've been working with our Nordic colleagues and it has always felt like a seamless partnership, which I'm sure has to do with the fact that we are continuously working on cooperation . I really think that creates value. Also, of course, with our different backgrounds and outlooks we have a lot to learn from each other, which will strengthen the firm's competitiveness even more.
Antti: As I mentioned above, I think it is a very good service for our clients that we at DLA Piper are able to provide pan-Nordic services smoothly and efficiently. That is something that separates us from our competitors in the market.
After spending a week in the Oslo office: What is the biggest difference between Norway and Sweden/Finland/Denmark?
Lykke: 1. The prices – it is so expensive in Oslo. 2. The food – the canteen in Aarhus and in Copenhagen is exceptional ;) 3. You seem to get together more frequently during the day. You meet during the morning, lunch, for coffee breaks and also for an early evening dinner. We don’t do that in Denmark. Most Danish people eat breakfast and dinner at home and only lunch at work.
Antti: Since December 2016, the Finnish corporate team has worked in an open office space and during my stay at the Oslo office I have noticed that I actually miss the atmosphere of the open office. I have sensed that the general spirit in the Oslo office is very good, but it is still easy to isolate oneself in those private office cubicles.