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“Turn your nerves into excitement!”

March 2024: 2026 London trainee Emil Ali reflects on his recent vacation scheme experience and shares advice for future applicants who are interested in applying to the Firm.

Tell us about yourself

I graduated from UCL in 2023 after reading law. I completed the Winter 2023 Vacation Scheme, and I am now seeking out paralegal roles and plan to go traveling before commencing my SQE in September 2025. Outside of law, I am a keen sportsman and avid musician, which are passions that I hope to foster throughout my career.
How did you first get to know White & Case?

In my third year of University, I attended the White & Case Careers Dinner for UCL students, after which I was inspired to apply for an Open Day in the London office. Before my successful application for the vacation scheme in 2023, I completed the Virtual Learning Programme, which gave me a taste of the work completed by trainees at the Firm.

Talk us through the vacation scheme application process

I successfully applied for the vacation scheme during my second application cycle—this is important, as it demonstrates that just because you fail the first time around does not mean you don't belong at your dream firm.

What did you want to get from the vacation scheme experience?

Firstly, to network with senior lawyers from as many practice areas as possible, secondly, to learn about the Firm's diversity and inclusion affinity networks, and thirdly, to discover first-hand from trainees about their experience training at White & Case.

What was unexpected or surprising about your time at the Firm?

One of the most unexpected things about my vacation scheme was the sheer amount of diversity within the Capital Markets team. I was working with, and meeting lawyers from, not only the UK, but also continental Europe, South and East Asia, Africa, Australia, and the US, to name but a few.

What did you discover about being a lawyer at White & Case?

Firstly, being a lawyer at White & Case means that you will be regularly working on high-value international matters for global clients, which often requires cross-border collaboration with international offices. Secondly, you are surrounded by driven individuals who are generally experts in their fields, yet they are consistently supportive and forthcoming, which creates an extremely conducive working environment.

How can you make the most of a vacation scheme?

My key advice for future vac schemers is to set yourself personal goals for your scheme and keep your blinkers on so as not to be deterred by what anyone else is doing. In that same vein, however, the other vac schemers are your biggest asset, so make sure to support one another.

Finally, what was your personal highlight from the experience?

My personal highlight of the experience was the London Taxi Challenge, an amazing evening social that required us to ride by taxi (and sometimes run!) across London to complete challenges in a scavenger hunt-type activity.