October 2, 2008

The flying lawyer

He views skydiving as a means of developing as an adviser. Meet the partner who competes at an altitude of ten thousand feet.

The sport is formation skydiving, FS-4, where four skydivers
have 35 seconds in which to create as many formations as possible whilst free falling at 200km/h. This is a sport which Johnny Andersson, partner at Mannheimer Swartling’s Helsingborg office, believes develops him both personally and in his position as a legal adviser.

“As is the case when advising our clients, formation skydiving demands that one is thorough and well prepared, focused on the right things and capable of making decisions by weighing the various risks involved,” he says.

Knowledge and preparation are paramount when skydiving, and Johnny believes that formation skydiving and advising have much in common.

“As lawyers we often experience extreme working conditions where the stakes are high and we must be able to think rationally when under high pressure. Nowadays our clients expect us to have the courage and the skills to advise on matters of a purely commercial nature in order to create added business value,” he says.

Johnny has been skydiving since the middle of the 80’s, but has also spent time rock climbing and scuba diving. In his opinion extreme sports are a way of life and as his career has developed, the need for new challenges has become stronger.

Johnny and his team now have their sights set on the 2009 Swedish Nationals and the 2010 World Champions. The results of the 2008 competitions were 2 gold medals in the two largest competitions after the Swedish Championships (Svenska Cupen), a silver medal at the Swedish Nationals, and a Swedish record with the highest score ever to be awarded in one single formation skydive.

He points out that working at Mannheimer Swartling also requires a strong competitive instinct. But, it also requires the ability to be entrusted with significant responsibility under extremely demanding conditions when, for example, one is advising on the sale of a company where tremendous value is at stake or by managing to guide clients through critical phases of a challenging negotiation.

“Formation skydiving has changed my perspective on things somewhat and tricky negotiations actually seem quite manageable. After all, they are quite down to earth problems,” he says with a laugh.

FS-4 is very much a team sport, four guys – one common objective. This suits Johnny, as do the common values of the firm with a true partnership, which include team spirit and common objectives.

“The firm has supported and encouraged me 100 per cent. You can see the value of your colleagues benefiting from other experiences, because a career at the firm is a life-long adventure. My clients are also positive to, and curious about, formation skydiving,¨” he says with a smile.

Watch a clip from the Swedish Championships! [Flash, 1 min, opens in a new window]