Aiming for the Top in Competition Law
Attorney Mikko Huimala specialises in competition law. He assists C&S's clients with the subtleties of competition law in, for example, mergers and acquisitions. His days at the office are full of surprises, with new projects popping up all the time.
'Competition lawyers work very close to the client's business all the time. When a planned transaction lands on your desk, you have to quickly get to grips with the client's business environment to assess if the proposed acquisition requires competition clearance and if there are any factors that could make getting clearance uncertain', Mikko says.
One of the projects on Mikko's plate at the moment is determining the competition law framework that applies to a Finnish group of companies as it plans to start production cooperation with a Chinese company. The number of assignments relating to competition law has increased considerably in recent years, which has kept C&S's experienced EU & Competition practice busy.
'For attorneys, the challenge is that we have to quickly comprehend the business logic of our client's industry, as well as any special regulation that may apply. Out of complex and difficult issues, we have to produce clear-cut solutions for the client.'
The legislative framework governing competition in the EU has remained the same for about 50 years, but its interpretation and the related case law are evolving all the time. The European Commission and the European courts produce new legislation almost daily, in the form of regulations, guidelines or case law. Keeping up with the flow is a challenge for lawyers specialising in competition law.
Mikko's interest in competition law and technology and IPR legislation stems from his master's thesis research on the topic. Right after graduation, Mikko started working in the cartels group of the Finnish Competition Authority. In 2006, he moved to the world of the legal services industry and joined C&S. Three years later, Mikko was appointed a senior associate. In 2009, Mikko was presented with the opportunity to go on secondment working as secretary in two working groups initiated by Finland's Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The groups were charged with updating the solvency requirements of pension funds to match the challenges posed by the financial crisis. This vast project brought together close to a hundred experts representing pension funds and different authorities.
'The secondment was a fascinating learning experience. I was able to dig into the finance and insurance businesses, and was responsible for the timely completion of a fast-paced project with a wide scope. I can also put this experience to good use in my work as a competition law expert.'
Returning to the familiar environment of C&S after the secondment felt pleasant.
'In a law firm, the industries you get involved with change depending on the assignment. Our clients differ greatly from one another, which ensures that you learn a lot about different industries.'
To deepen his expertise in competition law further, Mikko is now studying alongside his job to complete a master's degree in economics for competition law in London, under the guidance of the best tutors in the field. This project will keep him busy for the next two years.
'I'm happy to be able to develop my competences at Castrén & Snellman with my wonderful colleagues.'
Senior Counsel Jouko Huhtala | Office Manager, St Petersburg Anna Medvedeva | Senior Associate Mikko Huimala | Information Service Trainee Laura Laitinen