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Ten Insights into working in Real Estate in our Prague office

January 2022: Barbora Vaculová, an associate at the Prague office, is a member of the M&A/Private Equity Practice, focusing primarily on real estate matters. She shares her top advice for internship or associate candidates in the Czech Republic.

1. People sometimes mistakenly think we sell houses…
Working on commercial real estate transactions involves large commercial or housing portfolios. We work on complex transactions that involve the divestment or purchase of standalone landmark assets or entire real estate portfolios. Following the acquisition itself, we may also get involved in all the legal aspects of the ongoing management of those assets.

2. … but I do like working on projects with real-world impact
Sometimes I see a great building in Prague and it gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that I have played a part in its development or acquisition. The work that we do has a tangible and physical element. That's very satisfying.

3. Working with international clients is part of the job
Our clients are in Germany, France, the UK—or they can be anywhere in the world. The deals that we work on span multiple countries. Even while still in a junior role, you get exposure to really important, international work. That's an amazing opportunity.

4. I first joined White & Case as an evening secretary
As a first-year law student, I worried that the Firm might be big on corporate hierarchies with a very formal environment. But as I moved through the ranks from secretary to student to associate, I realized that nothing could be further from the truth. The atmosphere is very friendly and supportive.

5. Every day is different
You gain new skills and experience with every transaction, but I can never allow myself to become complacent. Every day brings a different challenge! Luckily, one thing does not change: you can always rely on your team.

6. The work can be unpredictable
The hours can be long and if there's a deadline, then the work has to be done. You also have to be quite flexible, as the workload is often unpredictable. But for me this has always been balanced by the invaluable competencies and knowledge you acquire in the process.

7. A "can do" attitude is essential
What's most valuable in a new team member, whether as a student or an associate, is not so much your legal skills (though these are of course important too!) – but your attitude. I encourage juniors to take ownership of their work, look for support if they need it and always do their best.

8. Work with as many different people and practices as you can
Although I have worked with the Real Estate team ever since I started working for the Firm, I also took on assignments and sought out opportunities from other teams. It makes you a more well-rounded lawyer.

9. Take advantage of the formal support programs available
The Firm organizes a formal mentoring program for interns. You get regular meetings with one of our senior associates who can give you feedback on your work, offer career guidance or just help you navigate your way through the Firm. This program is amazing and really distinguishes White & Case from its competitors.

10. You can own your career here
At White & Case, there's no limit to where your career can take you and you get a lot of support to explore the options that are right for you. How far you go is up to you. You can very quickly get ahead of your peers who do not have that kind of experience. That's a really exciting position to be in.