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Top application tips for aspiring lawyers

Are you considering applying for an opportunity with White & Case? In the coming months, many aspiring lawyers will get to meet our Graduate Resourcing and Development team at campus events and careers fairs across the UK. 

Before they set off, we sat down with Gemma Barns, Graduate Resourcing and Development Manager and Yohanna Wilson, Graduate Resourcing and Development Specialist to get their top tips for every stage of the trainee application process. Read on to get their insider advice before starting your own submission.

Tell us your story

Gemma: Remember that we want to get to know you. Show us your personality and tell us about yourself. One of our partners, Joshua Siaw, who has gone on to specialise in African markets said that if he was applying again, he would make more of his Ghanaian heritage and interest in working in Africa as his USP.

Yohanna: Everyone has a story, so tell us yours! Bring your application to life so that we have the opportunity to get to know you. 

Gemma: It's a real shame to see people leaving out parts of their application form, or giving incomplete answers. Without all the information, we can't make a judgement on whether you have the potential to succeed with the firm.

Get ready: set yourself up for success

Gemma: Attention to detail is critical for a lawyer. Check your written application for grammar and spelling – we do read every application form very carefully. We also check academic transcripts, so make sure that you record your academic achievements accurately and with integrity.

Yohanna: We understand that the video interview can be daunting, but you can do the practice response for the video interview as many times as you want. Don't just trail off mid-sentence, pause and collect yourself if you need to and speak clearly. Make sure that you look neat and professional. You don't need to film yourself against a blank wall, but unmade beds in the background are a no-no!

Gemma: Make sure that you are familiar with your own application before your face-to-face interview and anticipate the questions that we will ask you. If you have noted down a project or piece of work on your application form or referred to a specific deal, we are likely to want to know more. I also like it when candidates come ready to talk about other experiences, like part time jobs, volunteering work or their involvement with student societies. 

Yohanna Wilson


Show us that you have the right mindset

Yohanna: When you work here, you'll be working with teams around the world from day one. We want people who have a global mindset and really embrace the idea of joining an international firm. That doesn't mean that you need to have travelled widely – it's about showing that you are interested in working in this environment. All our trainees are guaranteed an overseas seat, so you'll experience working in another country very quickly here.

Gemma: Take time to get a good understanding of what a trainee actually does. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about working at a commercial law firm; talking to us at a careers fair, completing our virtual learning platform, doing some online research or following us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Yohanna: We want to see that you're interested in White & Case specifically, and that you're motivated to be part of a globally-minded, diverse and entrepreneurial firm.

No such thing as a typical candidate

Gemma: I can definitely say that there's no such thing as a typical White & Case trainee. 42% of our current intake is from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, which is a reflection on the importance and value that is placed on diversity at White & Case.

Yohanna: We want candidates to show us that they can think on their feet. That's why a face to face interview is much better than a psychometric or online test. If you can show us that you're passionate, motivated and focused, then you'll be a great fit for us. And if you have extenuating circumstances that you want to disclose or need adjustments made at the interview stage, just let us know. You can speak to one of our Disability and Support Champions in confidence on +44 20 7532 2899 or via [email protected].

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