Nanette Arvesen fondly remembers her first encounter with Thommessen as a trainee in the dispute department. On 1 January 2024, she will become a partner in the firm.
– I was a trainee at several major law firms, but there was something about Thommessen that felt like home. I had a very good traineeship experience, enriched by a great social environment, which made staying in touch afterwards easy, says Nanette.
She also participated in the first "Thommessen Academy" in 2012. Her involvement included regular contact and attending several academic and social gatherings at Thommessen.
– During my studies, I developed a keen interest in business and corporate law. The Thommessen Academy sessions on this subject confirmed my aspiration to pursue a career in corporate law, she continues.
However, it was not given that Nanette would end up as an associate in the M&A department after completing her studies.
– I was initially offered a position in IT contracts at Thommessen's technology department. However, someone noticed my interest in corporate law at the Thommessen Academy, and I was redirected to M&A and equity capital markets instead. This turned out to be a very fortunate development! I have gained immensely from working in transactions and equity capital markets, she says.
After seven years in M&A, she became a part of Thommessen's new dispute resolution team.
– Several lawyers within the firm worked on dispute resolution, but we were scattered across different departments. In 2019, it was decided to unify us into a single department. My experience with M&A disputes led to an offer to join this new team, she says.
Thommessen has one of Norway's largest litigation departments with approximately 35 employees and nine partners, who handle around a hundred different cases before the courts or arbitration at any given time.
Today, Nanette mainly works with disputes related to transactions and corporate law, including liability cases, shareholder disputes or disputes following an M&A transaction between buyer and seller.
– In dispute resolution you tend to meet clients in a more desperate situation than in transactions, where everyone work towards a common goal. It's very rewarding, but also challenging, to be the "problem solver", Nanette says
On 1 January 2024, Nanette joins the partnership together with Henrik Møinichen and Anders Sundsdal.
The RenoNorden case
When asked about a memorable case in her career, Nanette highlights the RenoNorden case – a liability case where Thommessen represented seven board members against a claim from an investor for 55 million NOK. This case reached all three judicial instances and marked Nanette's first trial in the Supreme Court, which which she passed.
– The RenoNorden case has been a significant part of my career journey, with four litigations in court, including the Supreme Court. It has been instrumental in my professional development, she reflects.
Not every case goes to court – many disputes are settled before they become lawsuits.
– Our role is to protect our clients' interests in the best possible way. Often, the optimal outcome is a settlement. However, if a case proceeds to court or arbitration, we navigate our clients through unfamiliar territory, says Nanette.
Lawsuits can be resource-intensive and distracting from a company's main business. At Thommessen, all dispute cases are managed using a project model that enhances predictability and fosters better collaboration.
– Our aim is to ensure that the clients bear as little of the lawsuit burden as possible. The project model facilitates effective collaboration with clients for information sharing and work planning, offering predictability and a smoother process for both the client and our lawyers, she explains.
All the steps at Thommessen
When Nanette becomes a partner in January, she will have progressed from trainee to partner within the same law firm. This is a testament to Thommessen's nurturing professional and social environment, she emphasises.
– Additionally, it demonstrates Thommessen's adaptability to different life phases, like my current situation with young children. The project-based approach we adopt here has been a game-changer. Throughout one's career, there are times when you wonder about exploring other paths. However, I cannot envision a more fulfilling or exciting role than being a lawyer here, says Nanette.
She further adds:
– At Thommessen, you're given opportunities and responsibilities that match your aspirations. If you seek more responsibility and new challenges, they are provided. This approach ensures continuous professional growth.
This philosophy underpinned her ambition to become a partner.
– Communicating your ambitions, even if they seem distant, is crucial. I believe it's particularly important for women to be bold in expressing their ambitions. When your superiors understand your motivations, it's easier to tailor your development. It's also clear that promotions aren't simply handed to you, regardless of your career stage.