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Why expecting the unexpected is a great way to learn
For London trainee Fergus, diversity is at the heart of a White & Case career

“You are included from the outset in everything, from high level discussions with the other side on a deal, to a six-a-side client football tournament at Stamford Bridge.”

A trainee in our London office, Fergus Langstaff has been enjoying the challenges of working in our Private Equity and Financial Restructuring teams. We spoke to him about his first year at White & Case.

“You’ll work on such a wide variety of matters and with so many different people that you’ll find an area of law you like that you’d never even considered.”

Why did you decide on White & Case? 

White & Case is working in the areas I found interesting, both from a geographic and industry perspective. They also had a wide range of seat options for trainees in terms of both international secondments and departments. I had not seen this kind of professional breadth at other firms; White & Case clearly marked itself out as the firm in London that offered the widest range of opportunities in a training contract. 

What was your first impression of the Firm?

A very professional yet social place. My first supervisor surprised me by being extremely laid back as well as sociable and desirous that I get as much out of my seat with him as possible. He was extremely invested in my learning experience to an extent that I hadn’t expected.

Why is White & Case the best place to start your legal career? 

It is expanding and also constantly revamping options for trainees—from different foreign offices in which to spend your final seat to the possibility for client secondments from the very outset of your training contract. It is always easy to narrow your professional choices and expertise as you progress in your career, but it is preferable to have as broad a range of opportunities as possible at the beginning. 

You’ll get the chance to work on such a wide variety of matters and with so many different people throughout your training contract that you’ll find an area of law you like that you’d never even considered as a career before.

What do you think is most exciting about the White & Case experience in London?

The most exciting thing is the variety of work that is offered to trainees and the potential for any day to be completely different to the last. A senior lawyer may ask “to speak with you for five minutes” and then you find yourself helping close a multi-billion-dollar transaction at the end of the first week in the department. I am currently working on deals ranging from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe to Africa and Central Asia, and each has a different challenge almost daily. This adds a complexity and colour to the work that is not prevalent at most firms.

What is the one thing that surprised you most when you joined the Firm?   

The casual atmosphere at the Firm surprised me the most. Whilst people take their work very seriously, they do not take themselves too seriously. Even senior partners are incredibly approachable and willing to speak both socially and professionally to the most junior members in the department. If you can show a sincere level of interest, a willingness to contribute and the ability to execute, you will be afforded as much work and as many opportunities as you can handle.

What type of work have you been involved in so far?

I have been involved in drafting due diligence reports, taking notes on conference calls, drafting non-disclosure agreements, collating responses from local counsel offices across the world, helping coordinate transaction signings and managing a signing with an associate. 

How is White & Case different from other global law firms?

White & Case is working on the premium market deals that the Magic Circle does but it staffs its transactions more leanly—giving trainees greater scope to learn and contribute. It offers international work and opportunities in sending trainees and associates on secondments to offices around the world. Many firms may lay claim to one of those attributes, possibly two, but few can categorically state all these features define their firm in the way they do at White & Case.

What are you most looking forward to achieving at White & Case?

I’m most looking forward to securing an NQ position following working for six months in one of the Firm’s office overseas.

Sum up working at White & Case in three words

Simply getting better.

Culture at White & Case
Find out about career opportunities in London here