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“I can’t think of a better place to start a legal career”

August 2021: For Hong Kong trainee Candice Lam, her first experience of the international, collaborative White & Case culture started well before she began her training contract. Starting as an intern in the Hong Kong office, Candice had the chance to interact with partners and associates from around the world, including partner John Tivey.

According to Candice, "My first impression of the Firm was the close connection among people here. They are more than colleagues to each other, they are families and friends who get to spend the best time together working and celebrating, regardless of their background and nationality." In addition, Candice says that, "A major difference between White & Case and other firms is the number of interns and trainees. We are trusted with more responsibility and there is more attention on each of us than with a larger intake."

Taking part in a vacation scheme confirmed that her first impressions of the Firm had been correct. "One thing that I noticed was how approachable people are here, including the senior associates and partners," Candice remembers. So how did she feel to be offered a training contract? "I made the decision with no hesitation."

A second internship during a gap year

Before she started her legal career, Candice took a gap year in Australia. During her travels, she reconnected with partner John Tivey and arranged to do another internship, this time in the Melbourne office. During this second internship, Candice found out more about what to expect as a trainee during a catch-up with Aurora Leung, a Hong Kong trainee then on her overseas rotation to Melbourne. Another White & Case lawyer, associate Yushu Xie, mentored her during her internship and guided her work on some pro bono matters.

For Candice, seeing the Firm's international and mobile culture in action confirmed that she had made the right choice: "I am lucky to have such a taste of mobility from an early stage of my career—in fact, even before the start of my career!" She emphasizes how important the promise of an overseas rotation was when it came to her choice of employer: "The guaranteed secondment is not something one can say no to. I am already really looking forward to my international exposure in a year's time."

The benefits of working closely with partners

Now in her second seat with the Funds team in Hong Kong, Candice's first trainee seat was with the Debt Finance team. "Debt Finance was a super-fast-paced transactional seat, where I assisted associates and counsel with tasks like preparing checklists and drafting corporate authorization documents from the start through to post-closing follow-up work." She's looking forward to new experiences in her current role: "I work directly with partners and senior associates on drafting and research. There are less directly relevant precedents, and so the work is challenging in different ways."

Candice is enthusiastic about the benefits of working so closely with partners: "It might sound a bit scary at first, but so far it has turned out to be the perfect way to learn how seniors negotiate with other parties and how they manage clients. Plus, it brings us trainees much closer to the deal and makes us part of the team more easily."

Making her mark

Outside of her client work, Candice has explored all that the Firm has to offer: "I am very excited about joining the Diversity Committee. In the past few months, we have hosted activities like dance fitness and even a floral arrangement workshop!" A personal highlight was her key role in organizing a Wellness Day event for the Hong Kong office. "I was trusted with contacting service providers and getting sponsors. We all had so much fun together and it was a great event."

Looking back on her time at White & Case so far, would Candice recommend the Firm to other aspiring lawyers in Hong Kong? The answer is definitely yes: "I can't think of a better place to start a legal career if you want to work on cutting-edge deals under the supervision of talented leaders across the globe."