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London Office Executive Partner Melissa Butler's advice to prospective candidates

For White & Case's London Office Executive Partner Melissa Butler, working at the heart of the City of London is the fulfilment of a long-held personal ambition.

"I've always wanted to live in London," says US-born Melissa. "Not only is it a great city, but this is the epicentre of international law. It's the second-largest White & Case office; we're a first-class team and can take a lot of pride from the work we're winning and the matters and transactions we're working on." 

Working on global deals from London also means frequent opportunities to travel for work; Melissa recalls weekend trips to see mountain gorillas when working in Rwanda, or evenings spent at the Bolshoi Ballet after a day in the office. 

"Our guaranteed overseas seat means that all trainees will experience working life in a new city," she notes, adding that, "This Firm represents the best of all worlds. Whether you're exploring a career in the law on one of our vacation schemes or rotating between practices as a trainee, you'll be part of diverse teams with unmatched experience across English and New York law and deep local knowledge."

Take control of your career

So what does it take to succeed at White & Case, according to Melissa? "The history of this Firm is entrepreneurial and pioneering, whether that's in new markets or crafting solutions for clients in areas where the law is still being written. I believe that those who succeed here share this global mind-set, plus the determination to take control of their own careers." 

Melissa is clear that there's no such thing as a cookie-cutter White & Case lawyer. "Increasing access to law is something I'm passionate about because our office should represent the diversity of the country and city we operate in. Law is often seen as a career only open to the select few, but we want to challenge that assumption because, if we don't, we could be missing out on some incredibly talented people who are driven and hungry for success."

“Increasing access to law is something I’m passionate about”

Invested in the success of the next generation 

She points out that there's a culture of mentorship and stewardship that means that partners and associates are invested in the success of the next generation. "That's why we give trainees significant responsibility from day one—as well as the support and guidance to succeed. No matter where your career may take you, I believe that working at White & Case will give you valuable experiences and help you develop your skills and talents."

For Melissa, striving for the right combination of resilience and adaptability is key. "Looking back on my own career, I can see that many of my own personal successes came from being persistent—for example, going the extra mile for a client or partner; trying to find a novel solution or new approach. I'd also say that keeping a sense of the 'big picture' is important too. Not every deal, colleague or experience will be positive. So knowing when to change things is important too—but there's always something that you can learn."

The power of putting your hand up 

She adds that, "This is a firm where those who put their hand up—for more responsibility, new experiences, secondments or international opportunities—will succeed. Look for opportunities to work with as many different people as possible, in different practice areas, in one of our global offices."

Melissa's final words of encouragement for all prospective candidates: "I've not only worked with many smart, interesting and inspiring people here, I've also made some lifelong friends. I encourage you to get to know White & Case and see where working here could take you."

Learn more about student and graduate opportunities in London