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Changing sides
From client-side to trainee solicitor

“Working here means that I get the international career that I've always wanted.”

Law graduate Seema knew that she wanted a career in the City and to put her legal skills to use. She tells us about how her experience working with White & Case as a client inspired her to apply for a training contract.

“All trainees get real responsibility, but I also got the chance to really put my knowledge to use.”

“I got to know White & Case as a client before I got to know them as a trainee,” explains Seema Walji, now a third-seat trainee solicitor in our London office. She began her career at a leading financial services group, before moving to a private equity firm.

“Working in legal and compliance roles at financial institutions was a great chance to really understand the inner workings of these institutions,” explains Seema. “For example, I was able to get involved with and gain a good understanding of the different legal and commercial considerations of private equity firms: from initial fund structuring and capital raising, to the deal process and the management of portfolio companies.”

Applying her first-hand experience

For her second seat, Seema joined the London Private Equity team and says that her previous experience was a real asset. “All trainees get real responsibility, but I also got the chance to really put my knowledge to use.” 

Reflecting on what she’s most enjoying about her trainee experience to date, Seema says that the size of the London office is a real bonus, as it allows for greater exposure to a variety of work with many different colleagues. “I didn’t want to join a firm with a really huge trainee intake, but I did want international exposure, and to work with people from around the world.” 

Building a strong network

Working in a law firm with a global footprint has real benefits for trainees, according to Seema. She emphasizes the importance of building her own network, saying, “In an office this size, you can really get to know not just your immediate team, but colleagues from across the Firm. I’ve been able to build up my own expertise simply by making connections and getting to know people.”

Insider insight into the trainee experience 

As well as her upcoming overseas seat, Seema is excited about the possibility of going back into industry on secondment at some stage in the future. 

In fact, it was Seema’s interaction with a White & Case associate secondee at her previous firm that helped her make the decision to apply to White & Case. “When I was considering completing my legal training, talking to someone who was both familiar with the Firm and also knew my skills and interests was a definite plus.” And once she had successfully applied to White & Case, the same associate became her supervisor.

Future plans and advice

So what’s next for Seema? She’s considering options for her fourth overseas seat at the moment. No matter where that takes her, she’s happy being part of a firm that has a truly global footprint. “For many big UK or US firms, their international offices are satellites or part of a ‘best friends’ network. At White & Case, our transatlantic roots and presence in emerging markets are at the heart of what we do and how we work.”

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Seema Walji - Why White & Case?
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Find out more about career opportunities at White & Case.