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“Be proactive, seek feedback and ask questions”

July 2022: Law students in Australia or Hong Kong can apply for four-week vacation clerkships in our Melbourne and Sydney offices and internships in Hong Kong. APAC Recruitment Manager Lauren Evans, Recruitment Advisor Jennifer Lau and Graduate Recruitment Coordinator Oliver Summers answer candidates' most frequently asked questions—a must-read for anyone considering applying to White & Case in Australia or Hong Kong.

What level of prior knowledge do you expect clerks or interns to have?
Lauren Evans: Genuine interest in our industry sectors will set you apart from others, but it certainly isn't prerequisite knowledge. Teams expect you to do your best with the instructions you are given. Those who follow up, clarify and check their progress with supervisors will tend to be more successful in providing a work product that is on-point.
Oliver Summers: We don't expect clerks or interns to arrive with a plethora of knowledge. Our lawyers are looking to see an open and inquisitive mindset, diligent work product, and a can-do attitude!
Jennifer Lau: We expect you to have common sense and a certain degree of commercial awareness. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the corporate world if you want to succeed at a pioneering firm like White & Case. Try to understand how our clients' businesses operate, as well as their impact on the legal industry, as this might create opportunities for our Firm.

Any "dos" or 'don'ts' for aspiring interns or clerks?
OS: Remember to respect associates' time when asking for coffees and lunches. And reach out for support if you need it. Clerks and interns are on a learning curve, and you're not expected to ace it on your own.
JL: As Oliver says, be respectful. Not only to your cohort but everyone, from our front of house to business support staff, associates and partners. "Human" and "United" are two of our core values, as we foster a friendly and collaborative workplace.
Another thing to avoid is poor time management! Sometimes interns try to impress and take on as many tasks as possible. It is important to communicate your available bandwidth to your mentor or work provider. Focus on the quality of your work product, not the quantity of tasks. You should also ensure timely deliverables through your internship.
LE: Remember to be professional at all times. Hybrid working is here to stay, whether you're on a camera at home or in the office, so be aware of how you dress and how you communicate to your colleagues and supervisors. A lack of professionalism will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons. Be proactive, seek feedback and ask questions.

I'm worried that I'm going to feel out of my depth—what's your advice?
JL: It is normal to occasionally feel out of your depth, but we're here to support you and our door is always open. You can also reach out to your assigned buddy, mentor or supervisor for a conversation. Just remember that mistakes are to be expected, but as long as you are eager to learn and avoid repeating them, that is most important. 
LE: Remember that if you do feel outside of your comfort zone, then this is a good thing! It's a sign that you're learning new skills and developing in your professional career.
OS: A clerkship is about three things: understanding the Firm and the work they do; getting to know the people; and ultimately, enjoying yourself! Clerkships are designed with a support structure in place, so be sure to utilize the people around you, and remember the value you can find in those who are going through the same experience.

What's the best thing about participating in a clerkship or intern program at a law firm like White & Case?
LE: You'll have the unique opportunity to see what it's really like to work in a truly global law firm and the career platform we offer to our graduates and trainees across Asia-Pacific.
OS: The exposure to our global network! Not only do clerks and interns get to work on cutting-edge cross-border matters, they also get to meet people from White & Case offices around the world. 11:00 a.m. coffee catch-ups with an associate in Hong Kong? Yes, please!
JL: As an intern, you will work within a practice to obtain first-hand experience of what life is like as a trainee. We give our interns meaningful and intellectually challenging tasks (with guidance and supervision), but there are also plenty of opportunities to have fun. There will be drinks, lunches and social activities planned throughout your program!

Any final advice?
OS: Clerks should aim to interact with as many people as possible. I also suggest that you value and support your clerkship cohort, as they could be your colleagues one day!
JL: Interns and clerks should finish our programs feeling like they have gained invaluable experience and insight into the work we do. Our people are our greatest asset, so an internship is a fantastic opportunity to start building their network early as well.