Junior Lawyer, Webb Henderson
“I feel very lucky to be able to call my colleagues good friends, and to be able to learn from top lawyers in the corporate and M&A field.”
What kind of work have you been involved in at Webb Henderson?
Since joining Webb Henderson as a graduate almost a year ago, I have been involved in a wide range of corporate matters and transactions, all of which have provided me with unique and valuable learning opportunities. The great thing about being a graduate is that everything is new so you are always learning! For example, I have worked on a number of M&A transactions (for both domestic and international clients and from both a buy-side and sell-side position), advised on a range of corporate governance matters (including for large NZX-listed companies), assisted with an initial public offering, and carried out extensive research on complex corporate and commercial matters – all with a tonne of learning done along the way.
What do you enjoy most about working at Webb Henderson?
The people and the culture. While Webb Henderson regularly acts on the top corporate transactions and for top 10 NZX listed companies, it is the team and working environment which really sets the firm apart from others. Having interned and summer clerked at a large firm during my last university years, I joined Webb Henderson with something to compare it to. For me there was no comparison; the working environment is supportive and the team is close-knit, so I genuinely feel I can perform my job to the best of my ability, whilst having a full network of support around me. Above all, Webb Henderson is fun, friendly and inspiring. I feel very lucky to be able to call my colleagues good friends, and to be able to learn from top lawyers in the corporate and M&A field.
What was the most challenging part of working at Webb Henderson?
Well…I joined Webb Henderson as a graduate in March 2020 –exactly 3 weeks before COVID-19 hit us with the first national lock down. What a start to my legal career! This was definitely the most challenging part of my time at Webb Henderson so far. From being in the office for just a few weeks and settling in, to being isolated and working from home, I felt quite removed from my new work environment and colleagues. However, the team were extremely supportive and made this challenge a lot easier than it could have been – we had daily team calls at 9am where everyone caught up and relayed their work-flows, the juniors had regular virtual coffees, we had small group social catch-ups at 4pm, and my supervising partner called to check-in very regularly. In some ways I think I became more connected with the team than I otherwise would have so early on (albeit virtually!).
The social opportunities at Webb Henderson were definitely a drawcard for me. We have weekly Friday night drinks at the firm and monthly team drinks out at a venue which are great opportunities to catch-up with colleagues in a more relaxed setting. We also go for regular team coffees and lunches and have weekly morning teas. The firm also has a biannual retreat to Fiji where the full Auckland office meets with the full Sydney office for sessions on longer-term business development, and social activities. This range of social opportunities is an important part of building and maintaining the cohesive trans-Tasman team we have.
What makes Webb Henderson different from other firms?
The combination of a small team, top work and great people. As the only graduate at the firm in 2020, I was exposed to a variety of learning opportunities across a range of matters. This is unique to graduates in boutique firms and a key reason I chose to join Webb Henderson to start my legal career. Further, as a graduate I worked directly with colleagues at all levels, including directly with partners. The ability to work with, and learn from partners who are industry leaders is a fantastic opportunity.
The exposure I have had to top-quality legal work at such an early stage of my career. Transitioning from university to full-time work is a big step up and while it is true that legal practice is far different from what you learn at university, it really is surprising how much you can contribute as a junior.
What has been your favourite experience whilst working at Webb Henderson so far?
From a work perspective, attending my first in-person meeting with clients was a real highlight. It is great to put faces to names and make a personal connection with the people you are working for. I also enjoyed assisting with due diligence on my first M&A transaction and writing my first memorandum – it really is satisfying when you see your contributions reflected in a final piece of important work. From a social and personal perspective, a real highlight was having my family invited to join the firm for celebratory drinks when I was admitted to the Bar. It was nice to have such a special occasion recognised in a meaningful way.
What would be your advice be to students wishing to apply to Webb Henderson?
Do it! Applying for graduate jobs is an intimidating experience for everyone, however as cliché as sounds, there is absolutely nothing to lose by putting yourself out there. Interviews and recruitment processes are great learning experiences in any event. The most important thing is to be yourself and enjoy yourself along the way! Whilst your grades and academic achievements are important, the partners at Webb Henderson are really looking for someone who they think will be a great fit in the team and will be willing to give the job their all.
“The glue that binds the firm’s outstanding team, clients, and work is its distinctive values based culture. The partners are actively committed to creating a highly engaged and rewarding work environment.“
About the firm
Webb Henderson is an international, specialist law firm with offices in Auckland and Sydney. The New Zealand office specialises in strategic legal advice for corporate and finance transactions, with significant experience in private M & A and finance matters. The 21strong local team are proud to have been recognised at the New Zealand Law Awards by winning:
- Deal Team of the Year 2018, 2019 & 2020, and;
- Employer of Choice 2020.
Working at the firm
If you join the firm, you can expect to work directly with all partners and staff on:
- major corporate transactions, such as acting for private equity firms and corporates on their most significant transactions (across the full range of transaction sizes –from $15m to more than $500m);
- drafting unique and sophisticated commercial contracts and agreements for high profile clients including some of New Zealand’s largest businesses;
- providing specialist advice on significant and complex corporate and governance issues; and
- advising and drafting in relation to complex structured financing transactions for banks, corporates and corporate trustees.
Culture of the firm
The glue that binds the firm’s outstanding team, clients, and work is its distinctive values based culture. The partners are actively committed to creating a highly engaged and rewarding work environment. This includes supporting the team to manage their careers alongside other personal goals and aspirations, whether they relate to health, family, hobbies, study, travel or other professional interests. Examples of the culture in action include;
- active, regular personal mentoring from partners and more experienced lawyers;
- access to an external professional coach for team and individual sessions focussing on personal growth and soft skill development, along with access to external conferences;
- 6 monthly career discussions and day-to-day development feedback;
- provision of various types of support people may require to respond to life’s challenges from time to time;
- team sessions to revisit the firm’s values, exchange feedback and continually shape the team culture;
- firm wide training and development sessions and off-site retreats at which everyone from both offices comes together to learn and contribute to the firm’s strategy and goals;
- the opportunity to learn about the “business of law”. Growth and development of the firm is discussed openly and transparently with the team in financial meetings. Everyone understands, and is invested in, the firm’s performance;
- being able to give to communities in need, by such things as volunteering at Eat My Lunch, giving blood, or working pro bono for chosen causes;
- being able to take action on climate change, by helping to reduce carbon emissions, as a member of a Toitu Carbon Zero Certified business;
- flexible working hours and working from home, supported by leading technology;
- top of market remuneration including bonuses, based on team and individual performance; and
- regular social events–the firm is a close knit team who genuinely enjoy having fun with one another
Opportunities for Students in Auckland
Most years, the firm recruits one or two people at graduate level through to 12-18 months’ experienced. These positions are advertised via Seek and Law Students’ social media groups. Your proactive approach is also welcome, any time. For more information, please visit the firm’s website www.webbhenderson.com or contact Victoria Fletcher (details above) with any questions.
Location: Auckland, Sydney
Areas of Expertise: Auckland – Corporate and Finance
Staff: 6 partners and 15 legal and support staff
Contact: Victoria Fletcher (email@example.com 021 300 982)