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In conversation with...
London trainee Salewudin Ibrahim and partner Joshua Siaw

Salewudin: I’m in my fourth seat, but you have been with the Firm since 2010. What’s your experience of working here?

Joshua: White & Case is incredibly international. Our diverse range of people represents almost 100 nationalities globally, performing challenging and rewarding work. Since joining nine years ago, every transaction that I have worked on has been cross-border and involved colleagues from other White & Case offices.

Salewudin: What are you most proud of about working at White & Case?

Joshua: I am proud that the trainees and junior associates joining our Firm are more and more diverse. Even at the senior level, we’re seeing a much more diverse pool of associates and partners than when I started. I am originally from Ghana, and I didn’t come from a traditional academic background. I grew up in South London and attended an inner-city state school, so I don’t fit a standard mould. My area of interest is the African continent; I believed in it, and the Firm placed a bet on me to encourage and invest in that interest. I do not believe there is another firm in the world that would have taken that risk, and I have been successful in this practice area because of the investment and support the Firm gave.

Salewudin: So how is White & Case different from other law firms?

Joshua: First, this is a truly global firm: international and diverse. Second, the Firm is very entrepreneurial; we are known as first movers in markets. We were one of the first US-based law firms to establish a truly global presence and the first international law firm to establish an office in South Africa. Third, we have an informal open-door policy, which in my experience is different than other international firms. Ever since I started here as an associate, everyone has been incredibly approachable, irrespective of level of seniority.

Salewudin: Why is now an exciting time to consider joining White & Case?

Joshua: Although many other law firms are retracting, White & Case continues to grow and expand in different strategic practice areas. No matter what your background or your culture, it’s a firm where differences are celebrated. Our environment supports people in their areas of interest from an early stage, with a strong focus on learning and development.

Salewudin: What is White & Case doing to support BAME colleagues?

Joshua: We provide a strong platform for candidates with diverse backgrounds to develop and accelerate their careers. We collaborate with a number of minority focused organisations to attract underrepresented talent and build pipelines to increase our diversity. Recruiting, developing and advancing people of diverse backgrounds strengthens our business and our work across practices and regions. We believe diverse teams that reflect our clients are better at solving our clients’ complex problems.

London trainee Salewudin Ibrahim interviews partner Joshua Siaw

Salewudin: What advice would you give to BAME students considering a career in law?

Joshua: My career advice would be to realise that your grades will determine the level of choice you have. It is important that you work hard, be focused, set goals and try to get the best grades possible, which will provide you with more choices for your career in law. It has become very competitive, so think about your differences and how your application can stand out from the rest. If I were applying today, I would mention that I am Ghanaian and interested in African markets, which would help distinguish my application.


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