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Advice to my younger self
Hong Kong partner Steve Sha looks back on his career so far

May 2021: Steve Sha is a partner in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity Practice in our Hong Kong office. He looks back on his career to date and tells us about what he's learned so far.

This is truly the city that never sleeps
Before coming to Hong Kong, I lived in a quiet California suburb, where nothing was open after 10:00 p.m. and you needed a car to get anywhere. In Hong Kong, you can walk down the street in the middle of the night and the lights are all still on. The energy here is incredible. 

The White & Case entrepreneurial legacy is stronger than ever
This Firm has always had a reputation for pioneering work, opening offices in emerging markets. What I've learned is that this is powered by collaboration. The first time I attended a global partner meeting, I was struck by everyone's enthusiasm for collaborating. The question was always, how can I help you? That was eye-opening for me.

Don't forget the bigger picture 
As a junior lawyer, I was good at putting the hours in. There were many cancelled plans and I made a lot of personal sacrifices. I developed my legal skills and built up a great deal of experience, but I see now that I would have benefited from taking the time to think about the bigger picture. It's really important to consolidate relationships with clients, build a network and think about where you want your career to go.

When it comes to diversity, working at a global firm opens your eyes
As a member of the Hong Kong office Diversity Committee, I can see first-hand how the Firm is taking action to increase the diversity of our people. In Asia, we have more to do on gender equality in particular. In other parts of the world, right now the focus might be the Black, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities or other underrepresented minorities. Ultimately, we want a Firm that reflects the diversity of our people, our clients and the societies that we work in.

Empathy is key when it comes to mentorship
Mentorship has been important in my own career, and I have greatly benefited from those who took the time to answer my questions and spend time with me. I now strive to do the same for junior members of my team. Sometimes it's as simple as checking in with them; other times it's walking them through a legal problem or sharing knowledge. What's most important is to build a rapport—if there isn't a connection there, it's hard to either learn or share knowledge.

Don't follow any advice that doesn't resonate with you
Earlier in my career, I would try to act on any advice from those more senior than me. Whenever I did something that didn't feel true to my own instincts, though, it invariably failed. Now I have more faith in charting my own course and I know what works for me. Find your own path.

Hong Kong is the very best of global and local 
This is such a diverse and international place, but it's also a small island. You see the same faces regularly, which makes networking easy too. But it's also very easy to get away from the buzz; my family and I spend weekends on local beaches, country parks and strawberry farms. It has something for everyone.