Where focused
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Leo Lou (she/her)

LAWYER, LITIGATION AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

In each of my seats, I was given the opportunity and challenge to take on associate-level responsibilities, such as making first attempts at drafting facility agreements, running closing checklists and coordinating input from local counsels and specialist teams for private equity deals.

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I have a bachelors degree in public policy from Duke University in the US, but moved to London to spend the fourth and final year studying abroad at LSE, where I sampled a few law courses and set my mind on attending law school in London, which was faster and much more financially viable. Having been fortunate enough to secure a direct Training Contract with Clifford Chance, I stayed on this side of the pond and have not looked back.

Before qualifying as an associate in the L&DR group, I completed seats in project finance, private equity and property litigation in London, as well as a private mergers & acquisitions seat in the Beijing office. In each of those seats, I was given the opportunity and challenge to take on associate-level responsibilities, such as making first attempts at drafting facility agreements, running closing checklists and coordinating input from local counsels and specialist teams for private equity deals.

During my international secondment, in particular, I found myself taking on much more responsibility than what I was used to in London. I became the first point of contact on all matters in a pre-IPO financing for a major client. Partly because of the small size of teams, I also developed valuable business development skills, having been involved extensively in preparing pitches and fee proposals for private M&A clients. As a Chinese speaker, I found the opportunity to get to grips with the unique landscape, etiquette and culture of the mainland Chinese market invaluable.

As an associate in L&DR, I am involved in a wide range of contentious and advisory matters, including a tech antitrust litigation at the Competition Appeals Tribunal, a representative action in the Commercial Court and an arbitration. I also support the Firm's cross-practice Global Tech Group on various data/cyber related matters and contribute to tech-focused thought leadership materials and client-facing briefings.

The work is multifaceted and varied – on any given day, I could be drafting pleadings and witness statements, responding to requests for further information from competition authorities, guiding clients through nuanced litigation strategies and advising clients on a time-sensitive data breach incident.

Outside of billable work, I make it a priority to contribute to building an inclusive workplace where diverse talents are seen, nurtured and supported. I am on the steering committee for Accelerate >>> and have been involved with the firm's REACH network, particularly on the client engagement pillar. The opportunity to work across multiple affinity groups allows me to bring an intersectional lens to the crucial work of diversity & inclusion.

In addition to the affinity groups, I am involved in supporting multiple long-term pro bono projects, which the Firm and the L&DR group, in particular, values, prioritises and celebrates. Some of my work includes:

  • Working with the National Autistic Society to provide legal representation for the parents of a six year old boy in an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) for the local council's refusal to issue an educational, health and care (EHC) plan.
  • Working with Protimos, a legal empowerment non-profit, on developing the strategic priorities for their Judicial Action Group, a peer group of leading Court of Appeals and Supreme Court judges from the African continent.
  • Working with ICAAD on the quantification of the effect of gender bias on sentencing decisions of sexual and gender-based violence in the Pacific Islands.
  • Working with Sistah Space on securing, safe permanent premises to serve women of African and Caribbean descent who are survivors of domestic violence.

I've also provided ad hoc research, legal advice and other forms of pro bono support for organisations including the Human Rights Watch, UNHCR, Index on Censorship, Kituo Cha Sheria and the Economist Foundation. The pro bono work is not only engaging, purpose-driven and important in its own right, but also provides me with advocacy experiences, analytical and strategical thinking skills and client engagement exposure that I might not get in billable work.