The world’s largest financial centre is also a huge cultural, social and culinary melting pot.
From high-stakes deals for the world’s biggest companies to an NFL game and drinks on the Hudson, this really is the city that never sleeps…
“J-E-T-S. JETS!” If it’s taken me a while to realise it, I know it now: I am truly in America. As the crowd at MetLife stadium howled at the opposition, everything from the glitz to the patriotic ads and the padded athletes was indisputably American.
I’ve been to New York before but living and working here is a new experience. From the working environment to the bars across town, there is a boundless energy. A long week in the office can be followed by a late-night production of Sleep No More in an abandoned warehouse hotel in the Meatpacking District, some tailgating before taking in an NFL game and some sunset drinks on the Hudson. New York is not only the world’s largest financial centre but one of the biggest cultural, social and culinary melting pots. The legal work is top quality and the choice of extra-curricula activities could fill a lifetime.
The scale of everything in Manhattan is astonishing, like a concrete mountain range stretching out towards the Atlantic. Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ head office is located in the middle of this range in the General Motors building right above the Apple store on 5th Avenue. The size of the office takes some getting used to, especially coming from London where you know everyone by name. But the traditional American approachability made this easy to overcome. As the only trainee, I was often a conduit between New York and London, working closely with both offices on cross-border deals for banks, corporate borrowers and private equity funds making use of the more flexible terms on offer in the US loan markets. I was involved in drafting documents, commenting on opposing counsel drafts and co-ordinating closing with my counterparts at other law firms.
The US is so often part of a finance deal that to experience transactions from its point of view gives me a greater understanding of the cross-border transactions we work on every day in London.
Luke O’Leary is a trainee at Weil Gotshal & Manges