Meet Camilla, who shares her experience as a Trainee

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Camilla Bertocchi

White & Case LLP

How you secured your TC and why you chose White & Case

I applied for an internship in the Milan office, which gave me insight into how the Firm operated, the international scale of the work, and the people it attracted. I applied for the training contract off the back of this internship, which straddled the period when we all started working from home during the pandemic. The seamless transition to online working at a time when this was not the norm, combined with the support that I received from my mentors in the office, convinced me this was the Firm I wanted to train at. Alongside the guaranteed overseas seat for all London trainees, the main attraction for me was the supportive and brilliant colleagues I met during my internship.

Typical activities and key responsibilities of your role as a trainee at White & Case

During my first seat in Debt Capital Markets, my main tasks involved working with precedents and preparing first drafts of transaction documents, as well as researching previous issuances of specific bonds, such as sustainability-linked bonds. As a trainee, you are also heavily involved in managing workstreams and liaising with other teams to receive or provide comments to transaction documents. At White & Case you are given a high level of responsibility early on, and an opportunity to show proactivity and take ownership of your work.

What training have you received during your TC

The firm provides a two-week induction organised by the Graduate Development team when you start your TC. These two weeks are spent doing essential training and transitioning into working life. This includes Professional Skills Courses (PSCs) covering the basics of how the City works, as well as the basics of financial and commercial transactions (such as accounting principles, parties involved, and investments). The induction also provides training on some key tools that you will use in the job, for instance the internal document management platform, time recording software, and the Microsoft Office tools.

At the end of the two weeks, each trainee has an additional week or so of seat specific induction (the exact length of time depending on the department to which the trainee is assigned). In Capital Markets, department training entailed learning the main features of debt and equity capital markets, derivatives, and structured finance, as well as training sessions on specific software or IT platforms which are predominantly used by the group.

As a trainee, you are also expected to attend “Lunch & Learn” sessions, which happen approximately every three weeks. These provide ongoing training to new trainees and are designed to help settle you into your training contract. There are also firm-wide Learning and Development Sessions, which can provide training on a wide variety of topical matters, such as sanctions and UK/EU legal services bans, or general discussions on practice areas or industry groups.

Finally, as a trainee you are also expected to take responsibility for your own professional development. This can be achieved by attending recordings of previous training sessions on the Learning and Development portal, or getting involved in researching and submitting current updates which would be of interest to your department.

Your work highlights so far

The main highlight of my training contract so far has been the chance to travel abroad to a client’s headquarters. This involved two days of meetings with various representatives from the client’s business and legal teams, and was an excellent opportunity to be fully immersed in a transaction and be a part of the negotiations and discussions which are then translated into an Offering Memorandum. Our team also included attorneys from other White & Case offices, which meant I was able to see first-hand how the firm’s network of professionals works seamlessly across the globe on big-ticket deals.

What you enjoy the most about your job so far

The most enjoyable element of my training contract so far has been the level of responsibility we are given as trainees, which encourages you to take ownership of your work. This may appear daunting initially, but you quickly realise that associates and partners are available and happy to provide clarifications on a task. The fast-paced environment means you are working on many different tasks and can learn quickly, and it is truly satisfying to see your team come to rely on you and your work.

What challenges you have faced and how you have overcome any difficult situations, including any support that may have been provided

Embarking on a training contract can present challenges, especially when operating in a fast-paced environment such as White & Case. Luckily, my trainee cohort, as well as the cohorts from other intakes, have been a great support network. We rely on each other, as often other trainees will have recently gone through what you are experiencing. We also have a “trainee buddy” system at White & Case: first seat trainees are allocated a trainee buddy to act as a helpful point of contact. Each department will then have its own “buddy” system whereby you are put in touch with a junior associate in your team, to be able to raise any issues or concerns or simply to have catch-ups over coffee. In addition to this, each trainee will have a supervisor who is not only a point of contact for professional concerns, but can become a mentor in other aspects of your training as well. The Firm places a great deal of attention on ensuring there is a wide support network in place. This means I know who to go to whenever I encounter any issues.

Why you like working for White & Case and your favourite work perk

I have loved the international aspect of almost all of the deals I have worked on. I have been involved in big-ticket transactions in both Capital Markets and Private Equity and have greatly enjoyed being mentored by leading lawyers in these fields. Besides the quality of my work, the key thing that drew me to White & Case was the supportive network that I experienced during my internship, and I am happy to say that this appeal of the Firm has been borne out during my training contract. My favourite work perk is definitely the free barista coffee bar we have in our canteen, Broad Street Kitchen!

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