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My story so far
New York associate Adam Conwell

May 2022: Adam Conwell is an associate in our Energy Infrastructure Projects Asset Finance (EIPAF) team in New York, and formerly a clerk, graduate and associate in our Sydney office. He tells us about his career to date and what's next in store for him.

Being a deals lawyer wasn't always the plan

Growing up, I was inspired by the TV shows and movies where the lawyer gets up to deliver the great closing speech. Yet as a deals lawyer, I will probably never see the inside of a courtroom. It's the adrenaline I get from being on a complex, fast-moving deal closing that gets me out of bed every morning. I love the practicality of the law and how it always calls for the application of logic to different scenarios.

You learn the most when you get out of your comfort zone

The biggest challenge that I have faced at White & Case was helping to close a capital markets deal while on secondment at the White & Case Singapore office. I had to step up and assist the senior associate with closing out several items. Once the deal was closed, it was a very rewarding feeling knowing that I had been an integral part of getting the deal over the line.

Time management skills are critical

The biggest learning curve I faced was learning how to manage your time effectively while working on several matters. At times, I've had to work simultaneously on client secondment work, financings with my team in Sydney and also work that I have been staffed on in international White & Case offices. You need to quickly get a handle on where to put your effort and what needs to be prioritized for whom, and when, or else you can really struggle.

You're trusted to take on real responsibility

The most satisfying thing about working at White & Case is being, even from an early stage, entrusted with working on and closing out important parts of complex and large deals. From my experience, the exposure offered to junior lawyers is something that really sets White & Case apart.

Secondments and overseas assignments are a great learning curve

I have been lucky enough to have gone on two client secondments in Australia and an international secondment to the White & Case Singapore office working in the Capital Markets team. I have now permanently transferred to the White & Case office in New York. Much of my second client secondment was done virtually. While this was challenging in its own way, the teams I worked with were resilient during that time, made me feel welcome, and worked together as a team to get the job done.

I'm part of a truly international team

One of the partners here in the New York office calls our floor the UN, as we have so many people from different backgrounds and countries. Our team also joked that there may be more Australians in the New York EIPAF team than Americans, but when we thought about it, there actually are.

How I make my mark

Personally, "making your mark" means being someone whom everyone in the Firm wants to work with because you're not only reliable, but you're also willing to find ways to take the initiative in the way you help your team. Hand in hand with that, it also means being someone who works at bringing your team together, not only socially but also by being supportive.

The secret to success at White & Case: Resilience

The people who succeed at White & Case are resilient and able to deal with the pressure that comes from having to perform at a high-quality level. At the same time, it's important to utilise the team and support around you, prioritising your well-being and recognising the capacity of your peers.

Get to know our Firm before you apply

Talk to as many people in the team at the White & Case office you're looking at joining, especially at your level, and ask as many questions of these people as you can so you can ensure that the team you're looking at joining is the best fit for you. Also, take a look on Inside White & Case at the many resources and videos on offer so you can really get a feel for the culture at White & Case.

Always say "Yes"

As a clerk and subsequently as a paralegal, what I did well was to get on as many deals as possible early on. This really set me up for when I started as a graduate, as I was able to hit the ground running. From then on, as a graduate, I always took the early advice of the partner who originally hired me to basically always say "Yes" —it keeps you busy but always first in line for new opportunities.