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The inside track on the two-week vacation scheme in London

September 2023: We asked recent participants Ayra Ali, Lottie Durham and Ammar Osmanourtashi for their reflections on the two-week London vacation scheme, including what was surprising about the experience. Read on to find out more, including their advice for future applicants.

You get a real insight into life at the Firm and the work that trainees do

"Sitting in an office with two associates allowed me to understand some of the day-to-day tasks a White & Case lawyer undertakes. My colleagues were extremely welcoming and sought out several opportunities for me to join calls with clients and learn about current and past projects. Having catch-ups with lawyers from across the Firm was really insightful, as it allowed me to understand how the day-to-day varies between practice areas. Lottie Durham

"The vacation scheme is an intense two-week learning journey which requires enthusiasm and passion as much as it does effort. Filled with tasks from departments, assessments and socials, it was an educational, challenging and rewarding experience." Ammar Osmanourtashi

The reality of working at a City law firm is different to common expectations

"I participated in the 2022 winter vacation scheme and was placed within the International Arbitration department for two weeks. For me, what was most notable was that each point of contact within the Firm was a positive and inspiring experience—from reception to the office executive partner. My supervisor truly made the time to explain the work that he was involved in. I was able to shadow him and understand who the work came from and why it was brought before his team." Ayra Ali

"I completed my vacation scheme in the Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions Practice. In addition to completing assessed tasks, I was able to learn about current projects and have some direct contact with clients of the Firm. Everyone I met was enthusiastic to help me to get the most out of the scheme in addition to wanting to learn about my personal experiences and ambitions. I was pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie and supportive atmosphere where trainees are encouraged to get stuck in and push themselves to grow and develop." Lottie Durham

"I was surprised by the level of responsibility I was entrusted with. I was able to work closely with others, and that made the social time spent together afterwards that much more rewarding. The second surprise was the complexity of issues that White & Case lawyers had to resolve for clients, and the pioneering attitude of all lawyers in striving to resolve those issues." Ammar Osmanourtashi

Diverse teams and international work: Almost every matter and every team

"I was happy to see, as someone who is BME, the diversity of colleagues within the office. It demonstrated the commitment of the Firm to diversity initiatives and how they have succeeded." Ayra Ali

"Almost all the work I completed had a cross-border element to it, with at least three jurisdictions involved. My trainee buddy and associate supervisor were from different countries and continents. The diversity and inclusion panel told us about initiatives such as partner training on neurodiversity and the anti-racism training program. I consistently received notifications and emails about Global Citizenship work. Overall, I left with reassurance that the Firm focuses on all the needs of its employees and the communities in which it operates." Ammar Osmanourtashi

Top tips for future vacation scheme participants!

"My top tip would be to ask many questions and keep a notepad and pen handy to record the answers. Looking back at these notes and all that I had learned at the end of my experience helped me perform my best in the interview." Ayra Ali

"Try to fully immerse yourself in any opportunities presented to you and absorb as much knowledge from the individuals working in your practice area. It may seem overwhelming at times, but enjoy the experience—it will fly by!" Lottie Durham

"My number one tip for anyone beginning a vacation scheme is to maximise the enjoyment of the experience. That is done through your best effort and hard work, but enjoying is about having the best learning experience in this rare opportunity, which allows you to gain from it no matter the outcome. Be your honest self at all times, as the scheme is not about perfection, but rather an assessment of whether White & Case is the best fit for you." Ammar Osmanourtashi