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Advice to my younger self
Paris partner Noor Davies reflects back on her career

Noor Davies is an International Arbitration partner in our Paris office. She looks back on her career to date and offers advice to her younger self.

Seize opportunities that come your way
I graduated from law school in the midst of the financial crisis of 2008 – 09, which made the typical path to a career in law very challenging. It was through the Jessup Moot Court Competition that I met White & Case associates and partners who offered me work experience, first in London and then with the International Arbitration practice in Paris, where I discovered my passion for international arbitration. And here I am today, more than ten years later. 

Find yourself a mentor
I am incredibly lucky to have had mentors who have stood by me in good times and bad times, and invested in my personal and professional development. Find someone who will bet on your success, rise to the challenges they set for you, and remember that mentorship is a two-way street.

Take the time you need to regain purpose
As a junior associate, I often questioned whether I had made the right career choice. Having joined White & Case at the age of 21, I also felt that I had missed the opportunity to travel and explore the world. After a few years at the Firm, I took sabbatical leave to work on a development project in my home country, Lebanon, and travel. That year out was determinative in my career. While I really enjoyed my time away from the Firm, I missed my team and the thrill of the job. I returned to the Firm with renewed focus and energy, determined to make a career in international arbitration at White & Case.

Get to know your clients and their business
Take the time to get to know your clients, their business, the industry and market in which they operate, their competitors, and their needs and priorities. This knowledge is key in deepening your relationship with individual clients and delivering the best result for them.

Stay on top of legal developments
The law is constantly evolving—stay on top of developments in your field of specialization by reading commentaries, attending conferences etc. 

Your colleagues can be your friends too
One of the most attractive features of the International Arbitration practice in Paris is the sense of collegiality and friendship across seniority levels. The Firm fosters this environment through regular off-site gatherings, including the bi-annual karaoke. Many of my colleagues over the years, whether legal assistants, associates or partners, are amongst my dearest friends. This makes the job so much more enjoyable and fun.

Take care of yourself
Take time for yourself every day—be it for a physical activity, a cultural activity or whatever helps you disconnect and relax. Prioritizing self-care, even if only for a few minutes, will enhance your productivity and help you cope with challenges.