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UK Recruiter Christina shares her advice for aspiring lawyers

“This Firm never stands still! We are growing strategically on a day-to-day basis…. It’s a creative and entrepreneurial place to work.”

Christina heads our Graduate Resourcing and Development group for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, commonly referred to as EMEA. We asked her for her 60-second guide to what it takes to join us.

 

In three words, what makes a great White & Case candidate? 

Ambitious, team-oriented, enjoys a challenge.

What is the typical application and assessment process to join the Firm?

Candidates (who can be in their first to fourth year of study, postgraduates or industry professionals) start by submitting an online application. 

If you’re successful at each stage, the process is: online video interview, a face-to-face interview with a senior associate and a member of the graduate resourcing team and the final stage of an interview with two partners. Eighty-five percent of our graduate trainees are offered places on our vacation scheme, but a number also join following a one-day assessment centre.

Tell us more about the vacation schemes.

We run three vacation schemes per year, and they are two-week programmes. Typically they involve research and drafting tasks, ongoing assessment, a half-day team exercise, a presentation and a 45-minute interview with two partners plus lots of social activities! Our training contract assessment centre is a condensed version of this programme.

Tell us about your own White & Case experience. 

I’ve been here for four years and seen considerable change. When I joined, we were embarking on our 2020 strategy, and now it’s coming to fruition. Although I’m focused on EMEA, we offer candidates global careers, so I spend time with my colleagues across our global network. We share best practices and help each other understand opportunities outside our jurisdiction.

We’re a truly global Firm with a vast network—how will new associates and trainees experience this? 

We guarantee an overseas seat as part of the two-year trainee program. However, on a day-to-day basis, you will find yourself working as part of a global team on multijurisdictional cases. Our clients are international, and our work echoes this.

In such a global firm, how important are intercultural sensitivities? 

I like to see candidates who are not just mindful of differences between cultures, but excited and energized by this. They see working as part of a diverse global team as a genuinely exciting aspect of a potential career with us.

“A great candidate is ambitious, team-oriented and enjoys a challenge.”

Christina Churchman

What are your top tips for making a good impression at an interview?

Preparation! Of course, we expect candidates to know who we are and what we do. However, we also find many people forget that they will also need to explain aspects of their own application.

For example, if you have already mentioned that you won a prize or completed a dissertation, you should be able to discuss this. We look for people who can express themselves and be articulate in interviews, just as we would expect them to interact with clients.  

How is White & Case different from other US-UK law firms?

We’ve been in the UK market for 40 years. London is not just a satellite office; we’re equally strong in US and English law, unlike Magic Circle firms. We offer a unique combination of substantial infrastructure, resources and opportunities you may not get elsewhere.

“We look for people who can express themselves and be articulate in interviews.”

Christina Churchman

What support can students and graduates expect to get from their colleagues? 

You’ll get a dedicated supervisor, usually a senior associate. They will act as a mentor and guide you through any challenges. Each practice has a trainee partner who looks out for the interests of trainees (i.e., welfare, managing evaluations and organizing social activities). You’ll always be working as part of a team with lots of feedback and guidance.

What questions do you like to hear from candidates at an interview? 

Ask questions that you genuinely want to know the answer to! This is a great opportunity to have dedicated time and ask anything you like to the interviewing partner and associates. Ask what you really want to know, not something that you think might sound impressive. 

Tell me about career development and learning at White & Case.

Learning here is very hands-on. You expect to learn on the job and get involved from the beginning. We encourage you to reach for extra responsibility. There’s also a formal professional and legal training programme.

Discover more about White & Case in London.
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Find out about UK graduate roles including our vacation schemes here.