Christer Svartström

Counsel Christer Svartström is a member of the Restructuring & Insolvency team at Castrén & Snellman. A culture of cooperation and unique projects have kept Christer at the firm for almost ten years.

After graduating, Christer worked in the financial sector for about six months before joining Castrén & Snellman in late 2013.

‘At the time, I didn’t have a clear picture of what exactly I wanted to do. I approached the world of restructuring and insolvency with an open mind, and based on the last ten years it has really paid off,’ Christer says.

Field of choice crystallised through client projects

From the praise of his fellow students, Christer was already familiar with Castrén & Snellman’s reputation as the top firm in the field. When Christer joined us, the firm was in the midst of the Talvivaara restructuring proceedings. ‘For a freshly graduated lawyer it was quite the baptism by fire,’ Christer recalls. Working on the case showed him how interesting the field of restructuring and insolvency was and how working at Castrén & Snellman would provide him with a front-row seat to this world. ‘I was able to put everything I had learned to use in a case that provided a solid foundation to my career. I have been really happy with my choices, both with respect to Castrén & Snellman and the field of law,’ he continues.

Nevertheless, Christer emphasises that a lawyer should not focus solely on their own specialisation but instead gain experience from other fields of law as well. This allows for more extensive knowledge that supports their core expertise. In addition to restructurings and insolvencies, Christer has sought out cases involving corporate law, real estate transactions and disputes, among others. Disputes and trials related to insolvency are the lawyers’ realm. A lawyer in a trial is like a surgeon in an operating room, as Christer puts it.

Risk management through anticipation

‘Our daily work is not all bankruptcies and restructurings, we also prepare for risks. While we assist our clients when problems arise, we also provide preventative advice,’ says Christer. He is especially interested in getting companies in financial difficulties back on their feet and back to business. An example of risk management is preparing a buyer for a situation where the supplier faces difficulties. The interests of the buyer need to be secured by making sure that the risk and damage to the buyer are mitigated as much as possible if problems arise. In situations like this, cooperation with other teams, such as Banking & Finance, is highly valuable.

Take your time in choosing your path

Law students and freshly graduated lawyers might already have a very clear idea of what they want to pursue in their career. However, it is impossible to know exactly what a legal field or business service entails without giving it a go. The nature of the practical work or legal knowledge of any given field becomes clear only through experience. The trainee programmes of Castrén & Snellman provide an excellent opportunity for this. Christer advises students to keep an open mind: ‘Don’t lock in your field of law too soon. A field that seems dull during your studies might reveal itself to be fascinating in practice.’ Christer encourages students to take advantage of trainee programmes and to explore different fields of law. There’s no need to know your own speciality at the beginning of your career.

Relaxed atmosphere at C&S

Christer noticed the relaxed atmosphere at Castrén & Snellman straight away. ‘The people here are straightforward, and so is the office culture. There is no unnecessary hierarchy. The work can be hectic at times, but when things get busy, the spirit of getting things done together and a healthy dose of humour help,’ says Christer. His colleagues, driven top experts in their fields, are always available to bounce ideas back and forth.

What’s more, Castrén & Snellman supports its employees in different stages in life. Christer has recently moved to Turku for a few years due to his partner’s studies and is currently working remotely. When not at work, Christer can often be found on a tennis court.