Insights/9 Nov 2020

The NY Legal Scene Never Sleeps

The City That Never Sleeps has fallen into hibernation during the pandemic in all ways but one – the legal scene is as bustling as ever. Despite COVID-19, Borenius continues to provide legal advice to Finnish and Nordic-owned companies operating in the United States.

In the heart of Midtown Manhattan, Monika Dziewa works as a Law Clerk at Borenius’ NY office. Monika specialises in connecting our clients with the right experts to help establish their businesses in the US and advises on questions related to M&A transactions. Monika joined us in 2016, and she has recently graduated from New York Law School. Read more about Monika’s career path and her thoughts on the current situation in New York.

When did you join the firm?

I joined the firm in 2016 as an assistant upon graduation from college where I majored in business and finance. At the time I was studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and I was in the process of applying to law schools. I joined Borenius because working for a law firm that deals with client cases on an international level means that the work is more varied and diverse.

Who is on the New York team?

We are a small and a well united team. Partner Juha Koponen heads our New York office and Senior Associate Kenneth Kraszewski is our primary US senior associate. Juha and Kenneth are both based in Helsinki, but under normal times they travel frequently to New York. We also have a very active short-term associate rotation program at the New York office to our senior associates from the Finnish offices, which also makes the office nice and lively. This rotation program allows the associates to experience the lifestyle and work culture in New York, and develop networks with law firms and international firms located in the City. Many of these people build lifetime friendship and professional relationships upon their return. Due to the COVID-19 situation I am temporarily the only employee physically present at the New York office, but we still work with our Finnish clients as we always have.

Has your role changed at Borenius in the last four years?

One of my very first tasks as an assistant was to provide support in the transition process where our strategic focus was shifted towards larger Finnish clients in the US and we wanted to enhance our representative office function towards US firms. This means that when we moved from our office in Downtown Manhattan to Midtown and started doing a lot of things differently, such as working more with US firms on M&A mandates for Finnish companies. Soon after I started New York Law School, I was promoted to a paralegal position. After my second year of law school I spent the summer in Helsinki, Finland, working as an associate trainee with the M&A team. I was involved in several M&A processes doing due diligence and helping draft ancillary documents. Borenius’ trainee program gave me first-hand experience of working in a dynamic law firm in Finland. I recently earned my law degree from New York Law School, took the Bar Exam in October, and now I am working at Borenius as a Law Clerk.

For the last four years I had an opportunity to assist attorneys providing legal advice primarily to Finnish and Nordic-owned companies doing business in the US, and with M&A transactions for Finnish companies in the US. I assisted my team with providing help to company clients in establishing a US entity. I was responsible for legal research, drafting memos and supporting attorneys providing guidance to our clients on all aspects of starting a business, including choice of corporate form, drawing up of memorandum of association and articles of association, bylaws, registration of the company, state and federal filings, requirements for base capital, as well as day to day corporate matters. In addition, I helped drafting contracts, licensing agreements, NDAs, cooperation agreements.

Whether it is a question of starting a business, a start-up company, the establishment of a subsidiary company, a holding company, our team provides a comprehensive legal advice and helps clients determine the appropriate steps to take when forming or expanding their business in the United States. Moreover, Borenius offers legal advice for US companies looking to invest and do business in the Finnish, Russian and Nordic territories.

Does Borenius provide any other services?

Besides providing legal services, our New York Office hosts numerous breakfast and lunch seminars with guest speakers. In 2019, we hosted the Annual Pan-Nordic M&A Breakfast Seminar; Transaction Structuring and Tax Trends in the Nordics Seminar; Technology event with Nordic Law firms and the Finnish consulate in New York. Our events are well-attended and highly regarded. We also have a quite active social calendar highlighting the Finnish Independence Day party in December and the IBA M&A seminar closing drinks that draw a couple of hundred people from our friends and law firm contacts in New York to our office. Due to COVID-19 we had to cancel most of our in-person events this year, however, we offer a multitude of webinars on important current topics that are designed to provide important and relevant information to our clients and networks

Do you continue to provide legal services despite COVID-19?

We continue to provide legal services. In addition, our team helps clients navigate legal and business challenges arising from the pandemic. Lawyers in our office are ready to assist in every way possible, providing strategic business guidance and practical legal advice.

Do you predict any changes in the legal services that Borenius provides due to COVID-19?

We are convinced that despite COVID-19 the US economy will remain strong in the long run and that the US market should be attractive to Finnish and Nordic businesses when seeking growth or new market segments. Borenius’ experts are available to assist you in this process and in addressing any questions you may have regarding your business situation.

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Additional information

Juha Koponen


Helsinki, London, New York