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Frankfurt lawyer Reetu on mentoring and new challenges
An insight into working in structured finance

For Frankfurt lawyer Reetu Vishwakarma, moving to Germany to do an LLM was a big change from her native India. 

"I was curious about the different culture and food, and I don't speak German," she explains. "In India, I worked as a lawyer in a private bank, focusing on bank finance. I wanted to deepen my knowledge of finance and get some international experience." Studying for an LLM in Finance at the Institute for Law and Finance at Goethe University was the ideal introduction to living and working in this cosmopolitan city. "There were students from 25 countries on my course, so we were all in the same boat and it was great to explore the city together. I felt comfortable here from day one."

The program's focus on both banking and law also gave Reetu the insight she felt she needed to advance her career and, as part of her studies, she joined White & Case's structured finance team.

A friendly and supportive place to work

"What appealed to me about White & Case was not only the fact that it is a leading global law firm, but also the reputation of the Frankfurt team for being friendly and supportive," Reetu explains. What were her first impressions? "I was struck by how nice everyone is! The culture is really supportive and friendly. In my opinion, this helps you to perform better as an individual and also be a better team member. It's a very cordial and collaborative place to work."

Having started her career working within the Indian case law system, Reetu has enjoyed broadening her understanding about the differences with the German system. "The team has been very generous with their time—they are always willing to sit me down to discuss the intricacies of German law and point out the differences to other markets."

An important mentor

Reetu says that the structured finance team has been particularly supportive, adding that Frankfurt partner Dr. Dennis Heuer has become a real mentor to her. "We have amazing discussions; he's very open to new ideas and always hears them out, and he has also really helped me grow my network."

This has also been a route for her to apply the classroom learning from her LLM into client work. "I enjoy that I get to use my master's knowledge on a daily basis." She also appreciates that her previous experience is valued: "I had been working as a lawyer for seven years before coming to Germany to study, so I feel that I have something to contribute and I know that my team appreciate this."

Diversity and an international mind-set

Dennis's support for diversity—including our affinity groups—has made an impact on Reetu. "Dennis believes that diversity makes us both stronger and better, and I can see how this is a real advantage to our clients." 

The global nature of both Reetu's work and the city reinforces her belief in the value of an international mind-set: "This office is truly somewhere that welcomes people from different places and cultures. I am currently working on transactions across Europe for Greek, Swedish and UK clients along with colleagues from our global network of offices. To give just one example, I am in regular contact with London partner Ingrid York who is Australian, studied in Germany and now lives in London." 

“The wonderful thing about structured finance is that no two deals are ever the same”

What kind of work does she do on a daily basis? "The wonderful thing about structured finance is that no two deals are ever the same, and I really enjoy that challenge. At the moment, I am reviewing transaction documents for a deal, but there is never an exact precedent so it's always novel. We get to do work that is exciting and new every day."

What's next for Reetu? "I'm really enjoying the work I am doing now; structured finance is always new and interesting. I'd like to get exposure into more markets, and maybe qualify in Europe." She's also inspired to spend more time in her new home town. "This is a wonderful place to live. I love exploring the old town and taking weekend trips to different cities."

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