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Checking in with three of our overseas seat London trainees
Updates from Dubai, Paris and Hong Kong

Earlier this year, Harriet Doble, Viraen Vaswani and Christopher Thorn told us what they were most looking forward to, as they got ready to start their overseas seats. After a few months abroad, they tell us about the experience so far.

“The opportunity to do something like this is what really makes the Firm stand out in my mind, and was one of the main reasons why I wanted to work here.” 

Christopher Thorn

What's been the highlight of your experience so far?

Viraen: Simply being overseas in this spectacular city. The office is located in arguably the most beautiful square in all of Paris, and the architecture is absolutely stunning. I often have to pinch myself on my walk to work. 

Christopher: The whole experience has been a highlight—everything from the work, the people and the city has far exceeded my expectations.

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“The more you put into the seat, the more you get out of it.”

Harriet Doble

How different is the work to what you were doing in the London office?

Harriet: One of the reasons I wanted to work in Hong Kong was because of the opportunity I would get to work with jurisdictions that I had not previously. Currently I am working on deals in India, Korea, Singapore, PRC and Japan.

Viraen: The team in the Paris office is smaller than the one in the London office. This has meant often doing NQ-level work and being trusted with a very high level of responsibility in managing the flow of the transactions that I have been involved in so far. 

While initially quite challenging, the high levels of responsibility have greatly accelerated the speed at which I have learnt new skills in the Capital Markets practice area. Being supervised by a senior partner has also taught me a tremendous amount in a very short space of time.

Christopher: The work here is incredibly varied and involves both regional and international work, so you are working with a wide range of clients and a number of White & Case offices. The Middle East offices in particular tend to work very closely together, so I have had the opportunity to get to know colleagues from the Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Riyadh offices.

Viraen Vaswani

 

“The greater level of client contact has also been a particular highlight. I am often the client’s direct contact on a particular aspect of a matter.”

Viraen Vaswani

In contrast, what's still the same? How do you experience the White & Case culture in your new office?

Christopher: Although you are working in a smaller office in a different geographical region, you definitely still feel that you are part of a wider global network. The office also continues to embrace the Firm's emphasis on diversity as you are working with a genuine cross-section of people from all over the world and a variety of backgrounds, which makes for a unique working environment. There also continues to be an emphasis on fostering a strong team atmosphere, both within the practice areas and the office as a whole. 

Harriet: The open-door policy in London extends to the Hong Kong office too. Everyone is approachable and happy to explain things to trainees. Equally, the expectation to work hard also applies. The more you put into the seat, the more you get out of it.

Viraen: The open-door nature and lack of a strict hierarchy. Everyone in Paris is just as friendly and approachable as the people in London, and even the most senior partners are receptive to having conversations and being asked questions. 

Tell us a little about the culture, social life, travel opportunities and the lifestyle that you have experienced in your overseas seat?

Harriet: The office culture here is fairly different to in London, but everyone is very welcoming and helpful, so it has been easy to adjust. As it is a smaller office, there's a really strong collaborative, supportive atmosphere, both in terms of work and also when it comes to office social events, such as during training sessions for the annual corporate dragon boat race in June. 

One of the great things about Hong Kong is that it has a constant buzz about it, so even when you finish work late, there is always something going on. There is a great restaurant culture—I don't think six months is anywhere near long enough to try all the incredible food Hong Kong has to offer. In terms of travel opportunities, I don't think you can get much better! You have all of Asia at your doorstep, which is a real draw. 

Christopher: There is a great social scene here, and you will never be at a loose end on the weekends (and also often the weekdays). There is a large trainee contingent from other firms here, so there is always something going on. There are also plenty of travel opportunities from Dubai and it is a great base to explore the Middle East. 

In terms of living arrangements, the serviced apartments are very conveniently located (less than a ten-minute drive to work) and have great views overlooking the city. You also get the added perks of having free hotel breakfast, a swimming pool, gym and a cleaning service three times a week, which is a real treat to say the least.

Viraen: The Paris office is widely known as one of the Firm's most social offices, and my experience so far has been consistent with that. I was warmly welcomed into the team. Certain PAs even make a special effort to tutor me in French each time I walk past their desks. I tend to learn a handful of words every day. It has been a social and enjoyable experience.

“The level of international opportunities the Firm presents its employees is second-to-none.”

Has the experience so far shaped your thinking about what direction you want to take in your future career?

Viraen: The multijurisdictional nature of the work that the Firm does means that we often rely on colleagues from other offices for their input. Within the last two months, I have found myself consulting many associates and partners from the London office for their English law take on active Paris Capital Markets deals. The different offices work together seamlessly—and to my mind, overseas secondments are a large contributor to this.

Harriet: Being in Hong Kong has solidified my ambition to work internationally. 

Christopher: Being here has affirmed my desire to work abroad over the course of my career. The possibility of meeting and working with people from different walks of life and experiencing different cultures and working environments is something which particularly excites me and I am passionate about doing. 

I hope to have more experiences like this over the course of my career and would be hard-pressed to find a better place to do this than at White & Case, as the level of international opportunities the Firm presents its employees is second-to-none.

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