How the graduate got the job and why they chose your company
Diversity has always been important to me. At university, I was on the Aspiring Solicitors committee, which aims at promoting diversity within the legal profession. As someone from an ethnic and religious minority background, I have always been aware that people like me are often under-represented on legal work experience schemes. When deciding where I wanted to complete my training contract, it was imperative that I found a diverse and inclusive firm that represented my identity and values.
I applied to White & Case after coming across the firm at a law fair; I was struck by how passionate the firm was about diversity and the number of initiatives the firm had in place to ensure that it recruited from a diverse pool of candidates. Throughout my time at White & Case, I have had the privilege of working with intelligent individuals from a variety of backgrounds. What is perhaps unique about White & Case is that the diversity extends to the firm’s clients as much as it does to its employees.
Unlike most other trainees, I did not complete a vacation scheme at White & Case. I applied directly to a training contract after I had completed the LPC. Through my work experience, I knew that I wanted to work on complex legal issues with a cross-jurisdictional element. White & Case was the perfect match for me as the firm offers top-calibre work on an international basis. The guaranteed overseas seat also provides an opportunity to build networks and really experience the international aspect of the firm.
What the graduate’s role involves: typical activities and key responsibilities
Your role and responsibilities will depend on which department you are sitting in. During my first seat, I sat in Corporate M&A. I regularly liaised with different practice groups within the London office and the White & Case overseas offices to co-ordinate and manage the various work-streams of the deals I was involved in. This experience was invaluable as it helped me build my network across the firm. I was also able to work on a transaction from the initial discussions phase through to the post-completion stage, allowing me to work on all the stages of an M&A transaction. This was a challenging but extremely rewarding experience, particularly on the day of signing!
I am currently sitting in Disputes, in the International Arbitration team. My experience in this seat has been very different to the previous transactional seats I have completed. I have prepared for and attended virtual hearings. I have been entrusted with significant responsibility, and have worked closely with various members of the team, including associates and partners. I feel like I am a valued member of the team. In this seat, I have been involved in various proceedings including an expert determination where I assisted with the drafting of an expert report. This experience was particularly rewarding as our client received a favourable ruling.
What training the graduate has received
White & Case provides a thorough and bespoke training programme. At the start of every seat, there is a training programme that usually lasts between 3-5 days. This gives you an insight into the type of work carried out in the department and what is expected from you as a trainee. The training is extremely useful as there are various sessions on the resources available to you throughout your seat. Each department also provides ongoing training, which I have found beneficial as I am constantly learning and refining my understanding of the work I am doing. Within my current seat, alongside the ongoing training for Trainees there are also departmental ‘Legal Update’ sessions which have been a particularly useful way to stay informed about recent case law developments.
If the graduate is on a structured/formal scheme, what that involves
A training contract at White & Case is a two-year placement where trainees progress through four distinct areas of work for a period of six months each. This allows you to make an informed decision at the end of your training contract as to which practice area you would like to qualify into. During my training contract, I have undertaken seats in Corporate M&A and Project Finance, and I am currently sitting in the International Arbitration team.
At White & Case, there is a lot of support and guidance when choosing which area of specialism you would like to undertake as a seat. Throughout your first seat, the various practice groups’ present ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions where you learn about the teams, the type of work, and the role of a trainee within that team. These sessions really helped me to make an informed decision about my seat choices.