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A Day in the Life: a capital markets lawyer with a multi-jurisdiction platform Back
Noeleen Ruddy is a senior counsel in the structured products and capital markets (SPCM) group in the Dublin office of international law firm Walkers. Noeleen advises international financial institutions, investment banks, managers, agents and trustees in relation to a wide range of structured finance transactions. More recently, in line with market trends, her focus has been on restructuring, life settlement structures, distressed debt deals and other bespoke structured product transactions.
7.30 am Wake up and get ready for work - my commute to our offices on Sir John Rogerson's Quay is short, literally 3 minutes! I have long debated the wisdom of living so close to work - so far convenience has won out over any desire to live near open green spaces.

8.15 am Start the day by checking emails and voicemails received overnight. Respond to those emails which I can deal with straight away and review my list of what needs to be dealt with urgently. Having just returned from a conference in New York there is a fair amount of follow up points for me to deal with.
Noeleen Ruddy: we work hard to differentiate ourselves and constantly examine where we are, what we are doing right and where improvements may be made

9.00 am I then catch up with one of our junior associates, Mary O'Doherty, to see how her capacity is and to prioritise matters for the day.

9.15 am A large part of the morning is spent working on active transactions which include a restructuring of a distressed pan-European MBS deal and an aircraft securitisation. The two deals capture nicely the current state of the securitisation industry in Ireland. Restructuring and work-outs of distressed deals have pretty much been the staple practice areas of most capital markets lawyers in Dublin since 2008. As a relatively new outfit (we opened for business in October 2010), we're grateful for the restructuring work but as transactional lawyers the aircraft deal is altogether more interesting. It arises as a direct result of changes made in this year's Finance Act to the tax regime governing the securitisation industry in Ireland which enable SPVs to securitise plant and machinery. So far we have worked on two such deals and have a couple in the pipeline, not bad for an outfit that is less than a year old.

11.30 am Reply to urgent query from one of our funds clients with a private CDO platform (the fact that all queries are treated as urgent means that one is often distinguishing hyper urgent matters from those which are merely very urgent!).

12.00 pm Meeting with group head, Garry Ferguson, to discuss ongoing capacity and recruitment needs. One of our main challenges in a relatively new firm is to ensure that capacity stays ahead of work flow. Not a huge hurdle to overcome initially but it is something we have been extremely conscious of since Q2 2011. Thankfully we are making good progress and expect to add two new members to the team before year end.

In addition the firm has recently recruited a senior lawyer, Derek Stenson, who specialises in the areas of regulatory insurance and insurance linked securities - Derek will be based in Cayman but will be a terrific addition to the SPCM Group and ILS Group in Dublin providing local time zone support on US originated deals. In the mid to long term the aim of the Dublin office is to have Irish lawyers practicing in the major offices of Walkers around the world – so far the firm has placed lawyers in London and Cayman.

1.00 pm Lunch to welcome a new senior lawyer to our funds group. Outside of our own group we have seen a steady flow of new faces in our other main practice areas of Investment Funds, Asset Finance and Taxation.

2.15 pm Internal discussions and preparatory work on a US life settlements query received yesterday followed by conference call with US legal/tax advisers. The call requires input from our colleagues in our taxation (Petrina Smyth) and investment funds (Paul Farrell) teams - it looks like the deal will be structured as a hybrid QIF/SPV structure.
Click for large image...

Since opening our offices we have seen a significant amount of interest in life settlement structures generally. Not all of them have turned in to actual deals and we have become adept at spotting the well organised and informed players from the "tyre-kickers". This one has come to us from a leading NY-based lawyer so we have a good feeling it will go somewhere.

4.30 pm Group meeting to discuss marketing initiatives for Q4. One of the interesting aspects of life at Walkers is the entrepreneurial spirit of the organisation. We opened for business in a highly competitive market with long-established and well respected firms - we work hard to differentiate ourselves and constantly examine where we are, what we are doing right and where improvements may be made. This aspect of my career has been the single biggest departure from my experience prior to Walkers, and the most rewarding. One of the more novel local profile building initiatives we have launched is a Walkers sponsored art competition for local schools.

5.15 pm Ongoing advice in respect of a new transaction under an asset-backed commercial paper platform – as with most ABCP activity in our experience in the last year, this deal is being driven by US investor appetite.

5.45 pm Check in with Mary to discuss work delegated.

6.15 pm Call with our Cayman marketing and IT teams to discuss our online presence. We have recently launched the Walkers Ireland mini-site on the Walkers Group website and we are looking to expand our materials here.

7.00 pm We wrap up the day with a call to our colleagues in Grand Cayman regarding the recent launch of our new Insurance Linked Securities (ILS) Group. The ILS Group is a group of dedicated, multi-jurisdictional lawyers based in the firm’s Cayman Islands and Dublin offices. It brings together the expertise within the firm on legal and practical aspects of trading, financing and securitising risk involving Irish and Cayman Islands entities in alternative risk transfer arrangements such as cash and synthetic catastrophe bonds, reinsurance sidecars, captives, life settlements and (Regulation) XXX securitisation vehicles. Collectively, the members of our group account for all but a small handful of all CAT bond deals ever done in the Irish market. It is hoped that the experience brought to Walkers from our previous firms will start to pay off before year end – we shall see…

7.30 am Quick final check on emails received during the day, record my time and prepare a 'to-do' list (which I'm sure will have changed radically by 10.00 am tomorrow but it’s a routine that’s too well established to dispense with at this stage).

8.15 pm Start off on my commute home. It's a nice evening– I may take the long route tonight!
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