From a young age, Alamanda knew she wanted to work in law or international relations, not because she had family members in either profession, but because of a book she was inspired by and an innate desire to make a difference.
Alamanda studied Law at the University of Indonesia, and although she initially considered a career as a prosecutor or a judge, she decided that learning the ropes as a junior lawyer would be a smart move. Shortly after graduating in 2009, she joined an international law firm, where she trained in various practice groups and ultimately worked as a projects lawyer working mostly on oil and gas and environmental law matters. Then, after a busy five years, she took a long overdue gap year to relax and take stock.
“I went to New York to study for my masters in law and then, as it’s always been important to me to give back, I stayed on to do some volunteering including at the New York Legal Assistance Group, a civil rights and social action group, which provides fair and equal access to justice for those who need it most. It was great to be able to support vulnerable people in the community.”
After returning to Indonesia in mid-2017, Alamanda undertook a short contract as a policy analyst for the Indonesian Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, specifically assisting on Indonesia’s participation in the G20 conference:
“I’ve always wanted to spend some time working for the government, and it was a fantastic opportunity to shape the agenda and content for the G20 conference, which took place in Argentina in 2018. I really enjoyed the experience, but towards the end of the contract I realised I wanted to continue my career as a lawyer, so I reconnected with ex-colleagues, many of whom had subsequently joined A&O. As there was an opening in the M&A team, it felt like everything lined up, so I joined the firm in January, 2018.”
Alamanda has gained a vast amount of experience working in the M&A team, including a wide range of shares and assets acquisition deals, joint ventures, foreign investment structuring, and regulatory advisory work covering an array of sectors including financial services, healthcare, and technology. The variety of work is something that she is grateful for, and the number of deals that originate in Indonesia is something she hasn’t experienced at other firms:
“A&O is a truly international law firm where we work seamlessly with colleagues across the region. We regularly bring together teams of lawyers from Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore and Indonesia. There are matters I’m working on where I’m supporting the lead region but equally there are many deals where the Indonesia office leads and the other offices support us.”
Alamanda is also grateful for the open and honest culture that A&O is renowned for:
“I have a great network of colleagues, both locally and in other regions, who are always willing to support me. The partners I work with are both easy to talk to and keen to support my growth, so I can take my career in whatever direction I want.”
There are many opportunities for associates to gain experience in a wide range of interesting and varied projects. Alamanda tells of an important government project she worked on where the A&O Jakarta office assisted in the preparation of a draft law and subsequent regulations, and although the majority of her work is around mergers and acquisitions, there are also opportunities to get involved with pro bono work:
“As a firm, we undertook a global piece of research on behalf of a charity to research the rights that women have to education across different jurisdictions. I was able to take the lead for Indonesia, and my global colleagues completed the same research within their regions.”
A&O has allowed Alamanda to fulfil a lifelong desire to make a difference to people in a less fortunate position. There is much disparity of wealth and opportunity within Indonesia, and working on projects for the government and doing pro bono work means she’s able to give back:
“I am proud to be part of a team offering free legal advice to an award-winning social impact start up called Du Anyam who empower women in certain villages by selling their woven products on a national platform, opening up great opportunities for them.”
When Alamanda attended a regional training in Singapore, she learnt about the Women’s Network, a global A&O initiative, and decided she wanted to become a founding member within the Jakarta office. She spoke with HR about the idea and convened the senior partner and senior women lawyers in the office and got the go-ahead. They now have a regular newsletter and periodical meet-ups, and they invite speakers who encourage them to broaden their thinking.
“At A&O, I have the space and support to grow and learn. I’m encouraged to develop my skills and take on experiences that are important to me, so that I can become whatever version of a corporate lawyer I want to be.”