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Life as a London trainee

London trainee Anna on her White & Case journey so far.

Why did you choose White & Case? 

Being a truly global firm is clearly at the heart of White & Case, and that is what initially drew me to the Firm. The emphasis on cross-border work together with the opportunity to go on secondment to one of the White & Case offices during the training contract confirmed to me that White & Case was the firm for me. 

Throughout school and university, I had always been attracted to either academic or paid work that included an international element, and therefore I wanted a firm that could truly reflect that interest. 

We are an international firm – how do you experience this in your work and interaction with colleagues around the world? 

Since beginning at White & Case, I have not been involved in a single matter that has been purely domestic which in turn necessitates me as a trainee to reach out to either White & Case's global offices or relevant local counsel to request their assistance. 

My first matter as a first-seat trainee in Private Equity involved incorporating a UK branch for a Dutch company which involved being in constant communication with our Brussels office. The mobility between offices is so high that you could be working very closely with a colleague from the New York office and then the next day they are sitting in the office next door to you.

Tell us something about the projects and matters that you have worked on. 

I have worked on the restructuring of one of our biggest portfolio clients which included implementing a multitude of intercompany loans and sale of different entities. Additionally, I have assisted on many private equity acquisitions which would involve a variety of entities being registered in up to 20 jurisdictions. 

What's the culture like in White & Case generally, and within your team in particular? 

What struck me the most during my first few weeks at White & Case was how welcoming everyone was. The partners make a concerted effort to maintain an open- door policy and regularly welcome you in for a quick conversation on how your training contract is going and how you are fitting in with the team. The Private Equity team maintain a great balance of working hard when the workload requires, but also ensuring that every team member pulls their own weight so no one person is under too much pressure. 

What has been the highlight of your career with White & Case to date? 

I think the highlight of most trainees' career is when a deal or a matter that you have worked extremely hard on completes successfully. 

This Firm is noted for being entrepreneurial – what does that mean in your experience? 

The business development initiatives at White & Case are extensive and, as trainees, we are encouraged to get involved with client events from the get-go in order to start building our network. In addition, we are asked to constantly think of contacts we could be making now that could bring future value to the Firm. 

We are reminded that it is not the sole responsibility of the partners to generate business—we need to take initiative and show our commitment to the Firm from the early stages of our career. 

We are a notably diverse firm – how does this enrich the Firm, in your view? 

The notable diversity at White & Case allows the individuals that make up the teams to challenge one another to ensure that we are producing the best result for our client. In addition, the diversity initiatives that assist female employees of White & Case to further their careers are a huge encouragement for a woman like me who is just embarking on her career. 

Tell us about the formal training or professional development available for trainees? 

In terms of formal training, the Corporate team offers weekly training on different stages of either private equity deals or public mergers and acquisitions. This is mandatory and ensures the trainees and associates are kept up to date with the latest trends and also understand the terms and mechanics of the relevant deal. As trainees, we are given regular training on maintaining professional standards and ensuring we prioritise client care. 

How does White & Case differ from the other big London law firms? 

Instead of having one dominant HQ with other satellite foreign offices, White & Case prides itself on being a truly global firm. Just as our clients are international, we reflect this by our global presence.

What's your advice for anyone applying for a training contract at the Firm?

The Firm is looking for very hard-working and dedicated trainees, but we also pride ourselves on being sociable, personable and welcoming—so try and get that across in any interaction with recruiters. Also, do not rush the application—if you want to make a good impression, take your time.

Where do you see yourself in five years' time? 

In five years' time, I would love to be on one of our many international secondments to one of our offices around the world.

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