How you secured your TC and why you chose W&C:
I undertook the summer vacation scheme after meeting White & Case representatives at various events held by my University and Rare Recruitment. Following this, I was offered a TC after the scheme. I chose White & Case because we do innovative work for interesting clients. Further, in terms of practice locations, White & Case also has a particular strength and presence in the Emerging Markets which means you get a lot of exposure to these jurisdictions and the resulting “first of its kind” work. On the practice area side, we have an established Finance practice and a market leading Arbitration practice, as well as an excellent capability in other teams I am interested in, which means there is a wealth of experience to learn from and I knew I would be able to get involved in the type of work I am interested in. Additionally, the scale of matters you work on is immense, and the exposure you can get from an early stage in your career is really valuable. It’s the type of firm where you can take on early responsibility, hard work is expected but appreciated, and people are sociable and enjoy working together – and I got a feel for that when I was on the vacation scheme.
Typical activities and key responsibilities of your role as a trainee at W&C:
For my first seat I sat in Contentious Construction, and I would broadly describe the work I have done as “laying the foundations” for the substantive work. For example, my work has involved finding supporting arguments, documents or evidence to support the points we were making in our submissions. Additionally, attending and taking a note on client / witness interviews which have then formed the basis of witness statements / strategy decisions or preparing annexures / appendices that we have used to support our main submissions. I was also able to go into the office fairly early on in my seat to attend a Case Management Conference with the team where I had helped with the submissions – seeing the advocacy based on our submissions in person was really interesting. There was also a lot of proofing, cite-checking and document management in the lead up to filings but (dependent on your workstream) you can sometimes do a first draft of the submissions. As you get more comfortable in your seat, your supervisor will give you more responsibility – for example, I was allowed to lead a client call. Further, if you want to understand case strategy, or get involved with capacity requests or do different types of work, your supervisor will do their best to accommodate this so even though you’re often staffed on set matters you can take some ownership of your work as a trainee. For example, I was allowed to cover the Non-Contentious Construction trainee when he was away and got to experience this work which was front-end rather than back-end Construction work, a different type of project, and involved more direct client contact / drafting responsibility. Likewise, if you want to get involved in pro bono you are encouraged to do so alongside your billable work.
What training have you received during your TC:
So far my training has consisted of: a three-week general induction which gave us training on a variety of different aspects of starting as a trainee (from IT to billing to stress management). At the start of every seat you have a week or so of department specific training; throughout your seat you attend department specific and general training sessions; and “Lunch and Learn” sessions in which different departments present on their practice so you can make an informed decision on seat choices. There is also a Construction specific Practice Group Seminar which happens every month, which usually consists of a guest speaker presenting on a relevant topic and, over the course of our six-month seat, trainees present twice on legal updates in the Construction / International Arbitration field. This has been really helpful for improving my ability to present and research developments I might not have encountered on the matters I was staffed on.
Your work highlights so far:
Volunteering at ZSL London Zoo as part of our Pro Bono partnership with them!
What you enjoy the most about your job so far:
International work is so woven into all of the work we do that you do not even really think about it when you are working with an office or a client from another jurisdiction – it’s just a normal occurrence. You work with lawyers / clients from across the globe on a daily basis, which helps you to access a wider variety of work which often is more interesting because it brings up complex issues given the cross-jurisdictional nature and scale.
What challenges you have faced and how you have overcome any difficult situations, including support that may have been provided:
Starting work in lockdown was a challenge, but the trainee intake I started with have acted as a support system and we’ve managed to make the best of it! We are also allocated “trainee buddies” on joining which is a more senior trainee that acts as your first point of contact. Graduate resourcing and development have regular catch-ups and drop in sessions, and departments across the Firm have made an effort to have “social / catch-up hours” scheduled in. We would usually be sharing an office with our supervisor but have not been able to do so, but I talk to my supervisor on an almost daily basis and all of the associates and partners have been incredibly understanding and willing to take calls and answer questions at any time.
Why you like working for W&C and your favourite work perk:
I like the people I work with – by virtue of the vacation scheme and LPC, the majority of my intake had known each other for a while before starting the training contract and had come to White & Case events such as the winter party as future trainees together, which has made the whole experience so much more enjoyable. Aside from this, the lawyers we work with are extremely knowledgeable and they are genuinely willing to help you learn and support you – which really helps when you are working long hours. I really enjoy taking a break in the day and visiting BSK (our in-firm café and restaurant), and I am especially a fan of the dessert counter as the sweet treats also help with the long hours!