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Ravenna Long - Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan

Alumni spotlight

Ravenna Long

Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase

Ravenna Long qualified into our London Commercial practice in 2013. She joined the firm’s growing TMT team in Hong Kong – the country of her birth – on qualification before moving in-house to JPMorgan Chase, where she specialises as a cyber and emerging technologies lawyer.

Why did you want to become a lawyer?

When was I was a little girl, the thing which preoccupied me most was whether or not something was fair. For this reason, when I watched Liar Liar I thought the Judge in that movie had the best job, as he was tasked with making a balanced decision on the insane evidence put before him.

This unorthodox beginning inspired my desire to become a judge, and to pursue a career as a barrister. As a teenager, I observed court cases but quickly realised that I did not have the presence of mind required to withstand a Judge’s brutal questioning towards barristers!

This naturally led me to explore the idea of working in a law firm, as I wanted something which offered international opportunities having grown up in Asia.

What attracted you to join Eversheds Sutherland as a trainee?

After my LPC, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to work for a City firm. I had two tempting offers on the table, including one from Eversheds which, at that time, had offices in Asia and the Middle East.

My impression of the firm – and this was borne out during my interviews – was of a collegiate atmosphere where colleagues supported one another. I sensed they had a human touch and that sealed the deal.

I was genuinely so proud to join the firm – especially as it was during the fall-out of the global financial crisis when many training contracts were being deferred or cancelled.

What is your fondest memory from your time here?

Probably the induction week when all the trainees bonded. Even though you felt like a small fish in a big pond, it was an exciting time.

That induction set us up well. When we returned to our seats, you would get the odd late-night email from a stressed trainee needing help. Because we had had that bonding experience, someone would always offer support.

I distinctly remember one cringe moment: a partner invited me to a client meeting within my first month. I looked at her doe-eyed and said, “Sorry, I have some mandatory HR training so I can’t go.” To her credit, she just smiled and reassured me it could be rearranged.

Christmas Party - 2011

Ravenna (fourth from right) with fellow trainees at our London Christmas Party, 2011

What was your proudest achievement for us?

In 2011, Corporate Partner, Alison Brearey, was acting for the London Legacy Development Corporation on outsourcing engagements for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in preparation for the Olympic Games. She brought me into this project with Principal Associate, Paola Scagnelli Walsh, and fellow alumnus Tim Richards.

The four of us were a solid, collaborative team. There were lots of long nights and high-stress situations, but I had the best few months working with them. Finally signing those contracts (which ran to close to a thousand pages each) was a huge source of pride.

Can you tell us about your role as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase?

My focus is on the broad spectrum of cyber security and emerging technology projects in Asia Pacific, comprising approximately 17 markets. I advise on regulatory issues and transactional matters.

It is an evolving and very much still a niche area within the more traditional IT, TMT and technology space. When I joined JPMorgan Chase, cloud computing was the new tech solution in financial services. Now that’s business-as-usual and applications of blockchain or AI are at the forefront.

The constant evolution of technology, and the intellectual stimulation of understanding the regulatory implications, is fascinating.

How well did you adapt to an in-house role?

Fortunately it was a smooth transition. Eversheds Sutherland had taught me well; not only technically, but soft skills like teamwork and the confidence to express a view to senior colleagues.

After qualification, I ended up returning to the Hong Kong office where I had completed a banking rotation as a trainee. I was taken on as an associate in the TMT team. Eighteen months later, I was seconded to JPMorgan Chase and it eventually became a permanent role.

People often think going in-house makes your life easier. That hasn’t been my experience. There’s a huge variety of work which is more hands-on. Your legal advice has a practical relevance and its impact on the business always has to be front-of-mind.

Eversheds Sutherland had taught me well; not only technically, but soft skills like teamwork and the confidence to express a view to senior colleagues.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of going in-house?

Figure out which aspects of your skill set make you well-suited to life in-house. It’s also worth thinking about the kind of in-house role that will excite you and suit your skill set. Do you want to be scrapping for a grass-roots challenger or part of an international corporate? Experiences vary greatly so choose wisely.

Collaboration is king. Your client is not some abstract entity on the other side of a phone call; in many cases they are sat round the corner from you. Finding common ground with your colleagues is important because you don’t have the option of selecting which clients you work with.

Are you still in touch with anyone at Eversheds Sutherland? Or with fellow alumni?

I often bump into Stephen Kitts, Managing Partner Asia, on the Bowen Road Fitness Trail when out jogging with my dog.

I’m still friends with Kirstin McCracken, with whom I worked as an NQ whilst she was a Senior Associate in the Hong Kong office. Kirstin helped shape my early experience by making sure I had big-ticket work to get stuck into.

I wouldn’t be a London trainee without mentioning Richard, Stewart and the team in Reprographics. They saved my life on many occasions and I managed to visit them the last time I was at One Wood Street (which sadly was several years ago now).

I’m in touch with a few trainees from my cohort, some of whom have also left the firm. I would love to hear their news, so it’s great the firm has launched its Alumni Network.

If you would like to add Ravenna Long to your network, you can connect with her via LinkedIn.