Ferdinand studied for a master's degree in International Business Law (distance learning) at City, University of London, and graduated in 2019.
Over the past few years, Ferdinand has worked in various law firms across both Vienna and Vancouver. He is currently an associate at a large commercial law firm in Vienna.
Working in Mergers and Acquisitions
I currently work for one of Austria’s larger commercial law firms as an associate in one of the corporate M&A teams, where I get to assist in the execution of larger corporate transactions which are usually cross border transactions where English plays a great role. Besides that, the firm also has a variety of family businesses who come to us for consulting services not only concerning their corporate structure, but also for governance solutions. In Corporate M&A there is no typical day, which is the beauty of working in this field.
I enjoy being able to communicate with clients directly and being somewhat flexible on how legal solutions for them are developed. Everything is done on a team effort basis with different teams for every transaction.
Interest in Law
Coming from the Canadian business school environment, my interest in law studies has always been around certain commercial law topics, especially company, finance, IP/IT and e-commerce law. The City Law School LLM allowed me to study these subjects in greater detail and in a cross border and anglophone context as a way to complement my foundation degree in Austrian law.
Making the time to study
The program allows you to effectively manage your time and complete the coursework according to your preference and career endeavours. I started off with taking one module at a time during my work at the court and my first law firm. Even when busy periods at work arise, it is usually possible to find enough time to complete the assigned course work and exams within that 10-week period.
Before I joined the second firm, I used the opportunity to take a 3 months sabbatical, which allowed me to complete the last module and focus on the LLM-thesis on a full-time basis.
Unlike a foundation degree that requires sit-in exams based on a rigorous course schedule, the LLM is more about making contributions through individual research assignments and participating in (virtual) discussions with peers. These discussions are particularly fun as the peers approach legal issues from different angles as we all come from very different legal backgrounds.
Facilities and resources
As an LLM International Business Law (distance learning) student I got full access to the City Law School facilities on Campus and I always felt like a full member of the City Law School. It is not necessary to attend any lectures, but we sometimes get invited to special lectures and events in London. During those days on campus, for which I flew in, I met with the course instructors, the head of the program and the thesis supervisor to discuss the course content, study plan and research strategy. Having that option to use the Professors as additional resource and catching up during those one-on-one meetings played a very important role for me, as the rest of the studies runs on a self-study basis.
How the course helped
I benefited from learning about English company law as my current and previous work as a corporate M&A associate, serving multinational clients, involved coordination with London-based corporate lawyers. Since many corporate transactions have finance aspects, which is a legal field that is heavily modelled after English standards in most countries, it was key to learn the terminology and concepts in the LLM finance law module. The Foundations of Law module gives candidates from a civil law background a good introduction into English contract law. All the other offered subjects also have great relevance to lawyers working in business law in an international context.
Gaining work experience between the foundation law degree (LLB or equivalent) and Master of Law studies allows you to appreciate university life and develop an interest for certain fields from a more practical perspective. With this work experience the thesis composition is likely more fun. The City Law School has a very nice vibe and London is a great city - even as distance student you can participate in the University life and enjoy the city.
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