On March 13th, the Harvard Association for Law and Business (HALB) student delegation traveled to London for HALB’s fifth-annual International Trek. The delegation was composed of eight talented students and was led by Saeed Ahmad 24’ and Nicholas Gonzalez 24’. The trip aimed to give pupils the opportunity to meet chief officers, executives, and partners of world-renowned law firms, investment banks as well as multinational consumer goods companies and learn from their work experience. “One of the key tenets of HALB is to introduce students to the various opportunities present at the intersection of law and business and to introduce a global perspective,” said Mr. Ahmad, one of the two people who led the coalition.
HALB’s fifth-annual International Trek started with a visit to the UK Supreme Court. Here students had the chance to have a tour of this historical building, where they admired works of art celebrating the role of women in law over the last hundred years and venturing into the Justice’s Library. Harvard students also had the opportunity to sit in a criminal hearing while also engaging in conversations with barristers, solicitors, and judicial assistants.
The following day, Tuesday 14th, the students headed to the headquarters of Unilever, a British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company, selling a variety of products ranging from food to drinks and cleaning supplies to over 190 countries. The HALB student delegation also had the pleasure to meet the company’s global CLO, Maria Varsellona, to discuss the current state of the company. This was followed by a meeting in which Unilever’s Chief IP Officer, Sarah Orchard, and Chief Business Integrity Officer, Kim Morgan-Verlaque, talked about the necessity to manage and protect Unilever’s most valuable intangible patents, copyrights, and assets.
Following the meeting, the students went to the headquarters of DLA Piper, a multinational law firm with offices in over forty countries and the sponsor for this year’s trek. Here they took part in a roundtable discussion in which three DLA Piper partners, Stephen Bottley, Martin Bartlam, and Ruth Hoy, discussed the law firm’s emerging legal issues as well as the day-to-day roles of its associates. This was soon followed by a Q&A with executives from Silicon Valley Bank, the perfect opportunity for the delegation to learn about the bank’s recent collapse and consequent acquisition by HSBC UK.
On Wednesday the 15th, the HALB student delegation traveled to London’s Canary Wharf, part of London’s central business district, to visit the Morgan Stanley offices. This American multinational investment bank and financial services company has over 75,000 employees all over the world and clients which include governments, institutions, corporations, as well as individuals. Here, the students had a meeting with Managing Director Barra Little, a Harvard Law School alum. In the interactive Q&A session, Mr. Little discussed tips on how to advance in a dynamic company, as well as the ideal way to transition between legal and business roles.
On Thursday the 16th, the delegation had the honor of meeting Jeremy Barker, the Legal Director of Moët Hennessy Europe, Through to this meeting, Harvard students learned about the company’s strategy in the Europe/Middle East Region, the day-to-day roles of a legal director, as well as the importance of networking in the industry.
On their last day, Friday the 18th, the delegation went to Patron Capital, a European private equity real estate fund, representing roughly 4.0 billion euros of equity across several funds and related co-investments. Here, they met the founder and managing partner Keith Breslauer as well as senior advisor Farhod Moghadam who talked about the legal/compliance matters in connection to real estate and private equity.
“This London Trek showcased the diversity of global business through our visits to companies such as Unilever, Moët Hennessy, Silicon Valley Bank, Morgan Stanley, Patron Capital and even government entities such as the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,” said Mr. Ahmad.