An in-depth look at Ursula Rath of Schoenherr covering her career path, education, and top projects as a lawyer as well as a few insights about her as a manager at work and as a person outside the office.
- Schoenherr, Partner, 2014-present
- Schoenherr, Attorney at Law, 2006-2014
- Admitted to Austrian Bar, 2006
- Schoenherr, Associate, 2003-2006
- Hausmaninger Kletter Rechtsanwaelte, Associate, 2000-2002
- London School of Economics and Political Science, LLM, 2003
- University of Vienna, Dr. iur., 2001
- University of Vienna, Mag. iur., 1999
- Out of office activity: Running, traveling, reading, and spending time with my family
- Quote: “People will forget what you said and what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), The Buddha of Suburbia (Hanif Kureishi), or Too Big to Fail (Andrew Ross Sorkin)
Top 5 Projects:
- Advising the Republic of Austria on the successful repurchase offer and funding of approximately EUR 11 billion in debt instruments issued by Heta Asset Resolution AG and guaranteed by the Province of Carinthia;
- Advising the ASFINAG Austrian road toll operator on its EUR 12 billion Euro Medium-Term Note Program guaranteed by the Republic of Austria and the various draw-downs thereunder;
- Advising the joint lead managers on the Republic of Austria’s inaugural EUR 4 billion green bond issuance;
- Advising the Vienna Stock Exchange-listed UNIQA insurance company on the successful placement of EUR 600 million of senior and EUR 200 million of tier 2 green notes;
- Advising Vienna Stock Exchange-listed Immofinanz on the first ever notes exchange offer on the Austrian market as part of its debt restructuring following the financial crisis.
What would you say was the most challenging project you ever worked on and why?
Rath: During my 20+ years in the legal profession, I have had the privilege of working on many challenging projects. But if I had to single out one in particular, it would be advising the Republic of Austria on the successful repurchase/exchange offer related to the approximately EUR 11 billion in debt instruments issued by Heta Asset Resolution AG (one of the largest regional banks in CEE at the time) which were guaranteed by the Province of Carinthia, and the funding of that offer. It was a very complex international restructuring transaction and was the second try after one failed attempt to agree on the restructuring of HETA’s debt with its senior and junior creditors, many of which included the most prominent global hedge funds. Because that debt was largely guaranteed by the federal province of Carinthia, there was a lot of pressure on the federal and state governments to agree on a deal with creditors to avoid severe adverse consequences for the federal province and the national economy. We worked alongside the Austrian Ministry of Finance on multiple workstreams, which included drafting and negotiating the relevant transaction documents with the federal province of Carinthia and HETA’s various creditor groups. Because of its public sector nature, the deal not only involved many challenging and novel legal issues under state aid, insolvency, budgetary, and securities laws but also was permanently scrutinized by national and international media and thus quite complex and intense.
And what was your main takeaway from it?
Rath: That projects of this size and complexity can only be achieved when you work seamlessly as a team, both internally and together with your client and other advisors/stakeholders. And that, sometimes, it’s worth trying harder and giving it another go.
What is one thing clients likely don’t know about you?
Rath: That I grow chickens in the countryside.
Name one mentor who played a big role in your career and how they impacted you.
Rath: I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work with many partners at our firm over the years, all of whom had a major influence on my professional development. That said, my mentor, Peter Feyl, has always been my role model in terms of work ethics, client service, and the way he respectfully treats others, even when under stress.
Name one mentee you are particularly proud of.
Rath: Both my Associates Viktoria Stark and Max Nusser deserve to be mentioned for their can-do attitude, endless enthusiasm, and work ethic while, at the same time, being pleasant and fun to be around. It is amazing seeing them develop and take more and more responsibility with every project we complete.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself fresh out of law school?
Rath: Be patient and gentle with yourself – what’s meant for you won’t pass you by. Take time to travel the world, meet people, and enjoy life – you’ll be working long hours soon enough.
This article was originally published in Issue 10.2 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.