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Melbourne associate Kirsty on why White & Case is a great place to start her career

“One of the most surprising things for me is how supportive the Firm is about flexible working.”

Melbourne associate Kirsty has been impressed at how her colleagues achieve a work-life balance, as well as building international careers.

Why did you decide on White & Case? 

All through law school, I was always interested in international opportunities, especially in Asia. As I went on, I realized that international work was interesting but that I enjoyed the work culture in Australia much more. Working at White & Case is a great combination of both, so it was a simple choice for me. 

What was your first impression of the Firm?

My first impression of the Firm was through a clerkship. Everyone was so warm, friendly and welcoming toward us, and there was a real sense of excitement around the office at being able to build something new in the Melbourne office. It was really refreshing, and I was—and still am—excited to be a part of it.

Why is White & Case the best place to start your legal career? 

White & Case is currently a relatively small firm that is working on some of the biggest projects in Australia. Any exposure to large-scale projects is invaluable for me as a new associate, and the size of the team and its flatter hierarchical structure means I also have greater and more meaningful exposure than I might have in a larger team of lawyers. 

What do you think is most exciting about the White & Case experience in Australia? 

The exciting thing about White & Case Australia is its strong connection with other White & Case offices around the world. Australia is a fairly isolated country, and it is great to be in an environment where we are able to undertake international rotations or secondments, and meet lawyers from other countries who second in Australia. It’s exciting to have the chance to go to Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Miami and so many other places our lawyers have been, and work on projects in countries such as Kenya and the Kingdom of Bhutan, which I would never have thought to be possible from Melbourne.

What is the one thing that surprised you most when you joined the Firm?

One of the most surprising things for me is how supportive the Firm is about flexible working. Almost every lawyer in my team has a flexible working arrangement where they have a day off or work from home for a day or two of the week, which lets them spend more time with their families and do things like pick their children up after school. It really surprised me that a corporate law firm can still afford its lawyers that flexibility.

What type of work have you been involved in so far?

I completed my rotation in the Environment & Planning team. It’s been a really great mix of work with a little bit of everything—I’ve written a few memos on admin law and planning permit application decision-making; I’ve done a lot of case research in helping our lawyers prepare submissions for VCAT hearings; I've helped with property and contract law advisory work; I've conducted native title research; and I still have the opportunity to be involved with transactional work as we help our project teams with due diligence. The projects I’ve worked on so far are mostly in the renewable energy space, including solar farms and wind farms. 

How is White & Case different from other law firms?

Working at White & Case is a unique blend of being a completely new office and one that is part of a very well-established global network. Being so new, everyone is genuinely happy and excited about being here, and so motivated; being established means that this is happening with support from all around the world as the Firm grows. 

What is your most memorable moment with the Firm?

The Graduate Celebration Night was a definite highlight. To celebrate launching the Australian Graduate Program, the Firm invited us and our loved ones to drinks and canapés, and there was a jazz band, speeches and lawyers from around the network in attendance. It was really special to have had the chance to show my parents where I work, and a great way to kick off our time in the Graduate Program. 

What are you most looking forward to achieving at White & Case?

I’m really looking forward to learning as much as I can from the people around me—there’s still so much that I don’t even know that I don’t know!

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Find out about career opportunities in Australia here.