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Hong Kong associate Aurora Leung

April 2021: Aurora Leung tells us why she believes that starting her career at White & Case was the right choice.

Why did you decide to start your career at White & Case?
As a summer intern, I was able to experience what it was like working as a trainee. I was assigned some meaningful and challenging tasks and enjoyed getting to know people at the Firm. We truly have an open door policy with outstanding and approachable senior lawyers and partners who are excellent mentors.

How is White & Case different from other law firms? 
White & Case believes that people are its greatest assets and takes the view that the Firm thrives only when its people thrive. For example, both the Hong Kong and Melbourne offices offer a guaranteed secondment to their trainees, even though it may not bring immediate reward to the Firm. With that overseas experience, juniors have a better understanding of how the Firm works across borders and how teams work across the globe.

Was the prospect of overseas opportunities for trainees an important factor for you?
The guaranteed secondment opportunity was a big highlight of the training program. My cohort of trainees could choose between London, Melbourne and Sydney. I chose Melbourne; there is a lot of overlap of work between the Hong Kong and Melbourne offices so I thought it would be a good opportunity to work with colleagues on the ‘other side' of the same deals.

What were the highlights of your overseas experience?
The workplace culture was a real highlight – the Melbourne office is a very pleasant place to work and everyone is extremely friendly. Being exposed to project- and energy-related deals is another highlight. This work is rare in Hong Kong but are common for the Australian offices.

Personally, I have loved every second of my time in Melbourne. It is extremely diverse, with alternative culture to be found on every corner of the city. Free diving was also extremely fun and accessible in Melbourne, which is something I absolutely love doing in my spare time.

Why is White & Case the best place to start your career?
White & Case provides its people with an environment to grow and succeed, both as part of bigger teams and as individuals. You get great opportunities and a strong support system. Even as juniors, you feel valued as an integral part of a team. 

What do you think is most exciting about the White & Case experience in Hong Kong?
I would say that it's the variety of work and experience. Trainees that go through rotation in our different teams will get hands-on experiences across multiple practices, helping them to understand what kind of lawyer they want to be, and what kind of project they would like to work on in the longer run. These teams also work together to create a matrix of expertise that attract potentially more complex transactions and clients, which in turn generate valuable project experiences for the team members.

What is the one thing that surprised you most when you joined the Firm?
One thing that surprised me the most is the dynamics of the team and the working environment. I have always imagined that the environment of a law firm would feel conventional and formal. In reality, the teams are accommodating and flexible, with an understanding that everyone works the most efficiently in slightly different set-ups and at a different pace.

Tell us a bit about the work you do.
I am in the corporate M&A and PE team. I have worked on a number of pharmaceutical company buyout transactions, distress sales and even re-listing of a listed company which trading has been suspended. They are of very different nature but one commonality is that they are all transactional. I have learned a great deal about project and timeline management.

What is your most memorable moment with the Firm?
Recently we celebrated International Women's Day by organizing an all-female client event – a two-hour flower arrangement class where you get to create your own vase arrangement. It provided an informal environment for teams to interact with the clients over flowers, strawberries, cupcakes and champagne. In addition, all male partners and counsel baked or bought cake for the office. It was great fun!