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Frankfurt associate Thorsten Rohde on why White & Case is a great fit

For Thorsten Rohde, the experience of studying abroad plus a love of travel meant that his career needed an international element. A personal encounter with a White & Case partner at a recruiting event persuaded him to complete an internship and then a clerkship at the Firm.

"I completed part of my clerkship at another firm, which ultimately persuaded me that White & Case offered a much richer experience. I had great responsibility from day one and experienced a level of personal connection that made me re-join White & Case as an associate. I chose White & Case as a Firm but, more importantly, I chose my mentors—great people that I have in fact worked with already."

A sharp learning curve and real responsibility

Thorsten was interested in transactions from an early stage and, so far, his experience in this area has been both varied and wide-ranging. "Since starting as an associate, I have done far more than I could have imagined in just a few months. I attended client meetings on my own, interacted with EU commissioners, travelled for my work and provided support on billion-dollar transactions. It's been amazing to be able to contribute to deals of that scale and complexity."

He adds that taking on a high level of responsibility has been an exciting learning curve. "I benefit from a great level of trust and when the lead partners are travelling or tied up in meetings, I have been the point person in the office on certain matters. A higher level of responsibility can certainly be challenging but is a great way to really step up."

The importance of building commercial knowledge

Although there are formal learning programs available, Thorsten says that developing commercial knowledge is also vital for success. "There are so many opportunities to build your knowledge here—not least the fact that we have so many great lawyers. However, the Firm also brings in best-in-field experts in various technical areas, and I have found these learning sessions really useful. We have covered topics like how to read a financial statement, understand cash flow in a company and structure earn-out mechanisms specifically tailored to the parties' commercial understanding and agreement. I think this really helps us add value to what we bring to our clients."

Where do his ambitions lie? "The most important aspect to me is to add value. I don't necessarily strive for a certain position within the Firm, but I want to be able to support a transaction from the early stages through closing or even post-closing integration with practical legal advice and a sound understanding of the underlying commercial aspects."

Top tips for future candidates

Thorsten gives some thought to how future interns or associates can get to know the Firm. "I would recommend attending a recruitment event and get to know some of our people. Our legal teams and people are open to being approached, and it's really helpful to actually speak with someone who is doing the job that you're interested in."

Finally, what kind of qualities does he think you need to succeed at White & Case?

"It's important to be globally minded—you'll be working with people from different cultures and on matters that span different law systems. It's important to be able to communicate really well in English—and to enjoy working with people from different parts of the world."

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