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“This is a Firm that appreciates and celebrates who I am”

August 2021: Growing up, Mira Haqqani says becoming a lawyer was simply not on her radar. "No one in my family works in the law. And, with my dual Middle Eastern and South Asian heritage, I didn't see my own background reflected in the 'typical' portrayal of a lawyer either," she explains.

"It wasn't until I was in college that I started to consider law as a career path. When I got to law school, I was so inspired by my classmates and professors who encouraged me to really explore the work that lawyers do. I started to believe that this was an area where I could make my mark."

The importance of inspirational leadership

Joining as a summer associate in the White & Case office in Miami, Mira says that what immediately impressed her was the makeup of the team. "I worked on a cross-border bankruptcy case. Not only was the work both challenging and extremely interesting, the team was led by diverse women. Their talent and their skills were so inspiring to me. And it also brought home to me that this is a Firm which is serious about increasing the diversity of the people that work here—and also somewhere where it's already happening."

Diversity & inclusion: Look for actions and data

Taking part in events held by, respectively, White & Case's Middle Eastern and Asian Affinity networks was an important part of her Summer Program experience. "I really felt seen. This is a Firm that appreciates and celebrates who I am."

What advice does Mira have for future lawyers who want to dig deeper into a potential employers' commitment to broadening representation? "I would say, look for evidence, look at the numbers, look at the makeup of the teams and the leadership. And ask questions! Pretty much every firm will pay lip service to the importance of diversity, but look for data to support this."

"In a firm, you're all on the same side"

As Mira returns to the University of Miami for her final year, what strikes her as the key differences between the practice of law and the way that it's taught in law school? "As a law student, you're often competing against each other, whether that's taking opposing sides in a debate or battling to become top of your class. But in a firm, you're all on the same side. That includes not only your immediate team, but also other teams that you collaborate with, and the close relationships that you have with clients too."

Another example comes to mind: "In the classroom, you're often required to figure something out for yourself. In the workplace, that's not always the most efficient way to get things done. Often it's better to ask for clarification or advice on where to start your research."

She points out some practical skills that are best learned outside the law classroom. "One of the most valuable things that anyone completing a summer program or workplace experience can gain is to build up your essential workplace skills. For example, knowing how to compose a professional email or communicate with clients."

"Remember that you're there to learn on the job"
With US law students now researching and applying for future summer associate programs, Mira reflects on how to make the most of the opportunities available: "First of all, don't think that you're expected to know everything. You'll find that everyone is willing to answer your questions. Remember that you're there to learn on the job." Her final words of advice: "Stay enthusiastic, be proactive—and enjoy yourself!" 

To learn more about current and future opportunities, visit our US careers site or our social media channels. 

Mira will join the Firm as an associate in Fall 2022.