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Building a career in our EIPAF practice
Los Angeles associate Kevin Kinder’s advice to law students

Los Angeles EIPAF associate Kevin Kinder offers advice to law students

Before joining White & Case, Los Angeles associate Kevin Kinder completed a summer internship program with JetBlue Airways after his 1L year. "This was a great overall introduction to working as a lawyer across various concentrations – from antitrust and regulatory to corporate work and litigation – and it helped me realize that I wanted to pursue corporate law. After my experience at JetBlue, I searched for law firms that would provide opportunities to combine my interest in corporate transactional law with my passion for aviation and I was fortunate to discover White & Case." 

Discovering the Firm through the eyes of an associate

A White & Case associate who had also completed JetBlue's program encouraged Kevin to apply to White & Case for the following summer program and get to know the Firm. "It was interesting to first discover White & Case through the eyes of an associate, rather than via a recruiter," Kevin reflects. "By the time I got to the OCI stage, I felt that I had better insight into the people and the day-to-day experience of associate-level work compared to relying on firm websites or other third-party resources." 

He recommends this approach to any current law students exploring their options, "When you're in law school, it's hard to get a real sense of what different groups within various firms do, and which would be the best fit. Try to talk to someone who is already working there. I recommend leveraging your law school's alumni network first; however, if you can't find a match at a firm or practice group you are interested in, don't be shy about sending a polite quick note to an associate requesting information. And, it goes without saying, do your research before you reach out. The more prepared you are the more likely you are to make an impression and receive information that will ultimately assist you in making decisions." 

The following year, Kevin joined the summer program in our Los Angeles office and elected to work with the Energy, Infrastructure, Project Finance and Asset Finance (EIPAF) practice group for the duration of the program. 

The White & Case summer program

"The White & Case summer program is a chance to really explore your interests, meet and learn from an array of practicing attorneys and see what kind of work is right for you," Kevin explains. "In my case, I wanted to stay with the same aircraft finance team for the duration of the summer. Most summer associates rotated and explored multiple practice groups and some even went on client secondments or rotations in our international offices."

So, did the experience as a summer associate in our EIPAF practice group confirm that this was the practice for him? "Yes, absolutely! When I joined the Firm, I came straight into the EIPAF team here in Los Angeles and have been here since." 

Taking on responsibility

Kevin talks us through a typical working day and the skills that he relies on to get the job done. "Two things that I have really developed since starting as an associate are my time management and organizational skills. When I'm drafting complex and lengthy documents such as loan or lease agreements, it's important to have a keen eye for detail. With experience I am learning to anticipate potential obstacles and get the job done."

What have the highlights of his time at the Firm been to date? For Kevin, the depth of experience that comes from working in small team stands out. "Often, the deals that I work on – typically aircraft financing matters – are staffed leanly with small teams. It is not uncommon to work directly with just a partner or senior associate. I have a great deal of responsibility for handling every aspect of a deal – drafting documents, communicating with our clients, working with opposing counsel, etc. After just two years, I'm closer to running and managing deals myself. In a bigger team, I likely would not have the chance to take on this level of responsibility yet. This type of hands-on experience is common throughout the various practice groups at White & Case."

"You will get out what you put in"

According to Kevin, there is no specific one-size-fits-all answer for what kind of person succeeds at White & Case. He says it's a question of effort and being proactive: "You will get out what you put in, so you should make yourself available and be willing to take on challenges that may seem daunting at first. Effective communication with colleagues is one of the more challenging transitions from law school to practice. I would advise future junior associates to take on opportunities without hesitation, but just as important, do not hesitate to put your hand up and ask for help when necessary. Everyone senior at the Firm has been in your shoes before, appreciates your awareness, and will constructively work with you on how to proceed." 

This reflects the broader Firm culture: "This is somewhere you can be entrepreneurial with your career. Ambition is appreciated here, so embrace the challenge."

What is his final bit of advice for law students preparing for OCI interviews? "Prepare diligently and show that you have taken the time to really try to understand our business and people. This is a global law firm, so having a mindset that is not just open to other cultures, but actively interested in working with people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints – and potentially even working on matters that shape other countries' judiciaries and policies – is a must."

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