Could you provide a bit of background on the dispute?
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., the parent company of Boots (the high street retailer and pharmacy chain), brought a claim against its former Chief Financial Officer alleging that he had breached his restrictive covenants by moving to our client, Avon Cosmetics. The key issue of the case was the extent to which Boots and Walgreens are in competition around the world with Avon. The case was listed for an expedited (or ‘speedy’) trial and settled less than two hours before we were scheduled to go into court.
Could you give us a summary of your role?
As the proceedings were expedited, in just six weeks I was involved in a range of work streams that covered a large number of the phases of litigation. My work included preparing the application for Avon to join the proceedings, commenting on pleadings, drafting parts of witness statements, reviewing and preparing disclosure as well as attending strategy meetings with counsel and the client. As a number of these work streams were occurring simultaneously, I also played a role in project managing the case.
What did you enjoy most about working on this matter and why?
Litigation can often be played out over a number of years and each phase of a case (such as disclosure) can take a number of months. However, on this case these phases were condensed into a six week period which proved to be a great experience and enabled me to see how a piece of litigation can play out from beginning to end. After the case settled, the team was given a day off and we were taken out for a delicious celebratory lunch!
Did you learn anything new?
Aside from researching the beauty industry and discovering the world of the lip tattoo, I learned how to analyse a large amount of evidence from various sources and distil it into arguments that contributed towards pleadings, witness statements and skeleton arguments.
Why did you choose to qualify into the litigation and dispute resolution group?
Working in the Macfarlanes litigation and dispute resolution team is an opportunity to work on large high profile cases across a range of subject matters, clients, commercial activities and areas of law. During my six month seat, I learned about finance in emerging markets, the technology and security industries, construction issues in hospitals and much more. Litigation work at Macfarlanes is constantly fascinating and continues to broaden my horizons.
What one characteristic do you think makes a good litigation lawyer?
Clients going through litigation are often out of their comfort zone and operating in very challenging circumstances. A key characteristic of a good litigation lawyer is to be able to listen and guide the client to take the right commercial decisions – including whether to enter into litigation in the first place and understanding when to bring it to a conclusion, whether by settlement or through a trial.
I learned how to analyse a large amount of evidence from various sources and distil it into arguments that contributed towards pleadings, witness statements and skeleton arguments.