Will shares his experience as a Trainee at White & Case

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Will McGarrigan

White & Case LLP

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

I secured my training contract by applying directly through the Firm’s training contract application process. Although I did not follow the traditional route of first completing a vacation scheme at the Firm, White & Case stood out during my research and networking with numerous law firms due to their reputation, the breadth of their portfolio and feedback about the workplace culture. The Firm engages in work across the globe, with a very strong client base and has become a market-leader in various sectors. The cross-border nature of almost every transaction the Firm is involved with and the fact that the Firm also guarantees the opportunity to work overseas during the final seat of your training contract, was a huge selling point for me.

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

During my first seat in Asset Finance, I had the opportunity to assist with various tasks such as helping draft agreements, reviewing and amending corporate documentation and supporting the closing processes of numerous deals. An overarching theme throughout the seat was my role to continuously liaise with clients, counterparties and local counsels throughout, in order to progress each stage of a transaction.

What training have you received during your TC

In addition to ‘learning on the job’, we have received a variety of both external and internal training to assist with our development. Throughout the training contract, the Firm has organised numerous sessions from external bodies, which include information on a range of commercial topics to keep up to date with the legal sector and business affairs. This is in addition to skills-based sessions such as drafting and presenting, all of which are fundamental to a solicitor’s role, whether face to face, by conference calls or by distance learning.

Trainees are also provided internal training within their current practice area, both at the start of and throughout their seat. These sessions provide vital background and allow experienced staff to coach and mentor, which for a trainee working in a new department is increasingly beneficial to refer back to when starting a new task or if you are unsure on a particular issue.

Your work highlights so far

My main work highlight of the training contract so far would be when my team and I closed the first deal that I was involved in. There were many complexities and setbacks during this transaction, which were often difficult and challenging to overcome. Finally seeing this deal through, with a successful closing, was a huge achievement.

In addition to the challenging and engaging work, the Firm ensures that regular social events and gatherings are organised to create and develop team morale, collaboration and reward employees for their hard work. Attending these socials provides a release from the office and an opportunity to network with different individuals across the Firm, which is another highlight of being part of the team here (with a personal favourite being Go-Karting at Canary Wharf!).

What you enjoy the most about your job so far

I have enjoyed the high level of responsibility I was allowed to take on throughout my first seat. On numerous transactions, I was able to help the liaison with clients and other parties to progress the transaction. In particular, due to the cross-border nature of the work at White & Case, this involved liaising with numerous local counsels across Europe and Asia, which was challenging but rewarding and developmental.

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

The biggest challenge I have had to face so far, was simultaneously working on numerous transactions, across different time zones and languages, all of which were scheduled to close within days of each other. However, I was able to overcome this difficult period with support of the team and by planning and hard work. Trainees sit with their supervisor and they provide excellent, timely and experienced guidance and encouragement. Similarly, many departments have a Professional Support Lawyer, whose role includes assisting trainees and other lawyers through challenging periods and helping find useful resources to aid with any task. This internal support is essential in helping navigate busy work schedules.

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

In addition to the engrossing and complex work, the people here are the heart of the Firm. Having supportive, empathetic, and approachable colleagues, especially those more senior to you, is vital in a challenging workplace. This encouraging environment makes coming to work enjoyable and helps feel that you are making a difference, even during the difficult periods.

My favourite work perk would be the remote working allowance, which helps us to purchase office supplies for working from home one or two days a week. This approach allows trainees to make the most of the agile working policy, but still ensures productiveness and focus by granting access to necessary equipment (for example, given the type of work we do, being able to purchase multiple monitors, headphones and even a desk is invaluable!).

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