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Jason Fraser's London Adventures

Friday, 20 January 2017
Jason Fraser
Jason Fraser's London Adventures

"Over the past few months I have been enjoying one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life so far after having been selected for a six month ISP seat in our London office. "

Over the past few months I have been enjoying one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life so far after having been selected for a six month ISP seat in our London office. Norton Rose Fulbright is the only South African firm that I am aware of which offers its Candidate Attorneys the opportunity to work in an office abroad, and I feel very fortunate to work for a firm which is willing to invest so much in me and my career right from the start.

I am currently working in the Shipping Finance team, one of the many Banking teams here in our London office. I feel lucky to have been placed here as this team prides itself on being ranked globally as one of the best shipping finance legal teams in the world, and boasts some of the most distinguished shipping lawyers you can find. We deliver a highly professional and top-notch product while working on some of the biggest and most exciting deals in the global shipping industry.

I arrived in London with no previous banking law experience – having spent my previous two rotations in a litigation seat. I was aware that my lack of banking experience, coupled with the fact that I was now in an entirely different legal system, would mean that finding my feet here in London would be a challenge at first. But I enjoy challenges and I felt ready for it!

It definitely did turn out to be a challenge on day one. I arrived at a busy time when my immediate team was short of an associate who was away on secondment at a time when deals were closing. I was given substantive work and considerable responsibility for elements of these deals even though I had never worked on a single banking transaction before. I really had to hit the ground running and had to think and learn fast. Thankfully in addition to being a highly skilled team, the team is also very supportive and willing to assist the Trainees (as we are called here) when needed. And so with the support of the team I was able to learn a lot in a very short space of time, and was equipped to make a valuable contribution to the deals I was working on.

While my time here in the office has certainly been challenging in many ways, these same challenges have afforded me great learning experiences and the opportunity to develop very important legal and practical skills. I was certainly not just tasked with mundane and administrative work, but was allowed to contribute to the deals I was working on in many stages right from the start until completion. Being entrusted with more responsibility while having a support structure when needed has also allowed me to become more confident in my professional abilities. The skills and knowledge I have gained here in our London office will definitely assist me in advancing professionally back home.

However, I have gotten a lot more than just professional advantages and opportunities out of my time here in London. Living in this vibrant, diverse and exciting city has also been a very rewarding experience for me. I absolutely love the fact that London on the one hand is such an old city rooted in so much history which you can still explore and discover, while on the other hand it is also one of the most modern and world-class cities there are. The blend of old and new is perfect and makes for many varied and wonderful experiences to be had here. It is also an incredibly culturally rich city, something that I have enjoyed taking advantage of as well.

London has been the perfect host city for someone like me who enjoys a night out at the theatre, an afternoon spent getting lost in the wonders to be found in a museum or gallery or a morning stroll through a market with interesting and unique merchandise on offer. Getting to meet and spend time with both the locals and many foreigners from all over the world that live here has also been a lot of fun. I have also enjoyed doing some travelling around the UK, and visiting some more interesting and exciting places in this great country. I have had some great personal experiences during my time here, and have made some good memories that won’t be forgotten.

I am incredibly grateful to have been offered an ISP seat here in our London office. I firmly believe that an ISP seat, whether in London or any one of the other offices, provides a unique and exciting opportunity to grow professionally as a young lawyer in an increasingly global legal market.


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