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Two German female partners share their perspective on success

May 2021: We asked two female partners in Germany to share their own positive experiences as women in a large commercial firm.

"It can take a long time to qualify as a lawyer in Germany," explains Frankfurt local partner Dr. Julia Sitter. "By the time that women start their careers, they are thinking about how to balance their personal and professional ambitions. That's why many women choose legal careers that they imagine to be more family-friendly, such as working for a small firm." 

Her own experience, as well as that of other female partners in White & Case's German offices shows that working for a larger firm can deliver both personal and professional fulfilment.

“A firm like White & Case can support you at every stage of your career”

For her, and others in the four White & Case German offices, the reality of working for a large global firm is misunderstood. "We want to share our own stories with the next generation of women lawyers and inspire them to set their sights as high as possible," says Carola Glasauer, a partner in Frankfurt. "We also want to show how a firm like White & Case can support you at every stage of their career and offer opportunities that they might not have thought possible."

“We work hard to encourage our female associates to grow and develop”

Carola points out that increasing the number of women working in law brings multiple advantages. "It has been repeatedly proven that more diverse teams produce better results and it's also something that's important to our clients." 

As members of the Firm's Global Women's Initiative leadership team in Germany, Carola and Julia are keen to show young women how much support is available. "We work hard to encourage our female associates to grow and develop. This includes dedicated programs including leadership coaching, mentoring and practical advice like working with a voice coach so that you can make yourself heard."

Career advice: make your ambitions known and build your network

What advice do they have for female students or aspiring lawyers? Reflecting on her own experience, Julia says she now realises the importance of being vocal about her ambitions and looking for support and guidance from others to help her achieve her goals. "You need to be assertive and proactive."

Carola echoes this, noting that women often assume that the quality of their work speaks for itself, but it's equally important to have the relationships and networks in place to help you succeed. She adds that, "In my experience, when managing cross-border teams, leadership characteristics many women demonstrate such as empathy and the ability to create a collaborative work environment are important and add real value! Try to understand and develop your personal strengths." 

An inspiring new program for female law students in Germany

The first Women@CommercialLaw Program was a huge success with more than 20 participants from all over Germany. Carola's and Julia's enthusiasm and passion is clear and they're looking forward to connecting with more female students across Germany for the next program, which is planned for early 2021. This is open to junior students who have already completed their fourth semester of law studies all the way through to those undertaking postgraduate studies.

Understand the work of a commercial lawyer

Julia explains more about what the program includes: "This is a chance to understand the work and the role of a commercial lawyer, to ask questions and learn more about our different practices. We introduce participants to international transactions and there will be a case study exercise." 

Everyone attending receives a certificate of participation and the participants have the opportunity to stay in touch with the female lawyers leading the program and will be invited to future trainee events. "I think that it will really open the eyes of students to career paths and types of work that they may not have considered before," says Carola.

To attend one of our upcoming Women@CommercialLaw events, please visit our careers site here