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From virtual learning programme to trainee
Charlotte Kail's story

September 2023: London trainee Charlotte Kail first got to know White & Case through our Virtual Learning Programme. Next she attended an open day in our offices, successfully applied for a vacation scheme and finally started as a trainee in 2022. Find out more about how she got to know the Firm and how she made the decision to start her career here.

It started with the Virtual Learning Programme
I first heard about White & Case at university; the Firm sponsored the non-law student sub-section of my university law society. The Virtual Learning Programme gave me the opportunity to undertake simulated White & Case tasks in the M&A, Project Finance and Intellectual Property teams.

As a recent history graduate, this was an invaluable opportunity to familiarise myself with potential trainee tasks. I then took the next step and attended the London Open Day.

The Open Day stood out from others that I attended
The day was a chance to see the Firm in action. We were able to ask questions of current trainees and participate in group activities focused on a commercial theme. The individual feedback I received on the day from the Graduate Recruitment team regarding my application highlighted the Firm's supportive culture.

I left believing that the Firm wanted us to succeed and supported our development. I then successfully applied for a place on the Winter Vacation Scheme in December 2019, where I sat in Project Finance.

The Vacation Scheme is when you really get to know the Firm
I thoroughly enjoyed being able to get to know the Firm and its lawyers on a more personal level. I spent the two weeks with the Project Finance team. I formed relationships that have continued into my training contract.

It gave me unparalleled exposure to the workplace culture and indicated what working for the Firm might really be like as a trainee. From there, I was offered a training contract, which I began in August 2022.

People take their work seriously, but don't take themselves too seriously
The Firm encourages collaboration, proactiveness, teamwork, and embraces and celebrates diversity in its many forms. The work will sometimes be challenging, but team members are always willing to guide and support you. Hard work is appreciated and recognised.

Trainees are given the opportunity to 'have a go' at something and can then gain feedback afterwards. I have found that this way of working has encouraged me to push myself and has helped to increase my confidence. The occasions when I have been pushed and challenged the most are the moments when I have produced some of my best work.

Charlotte Kail

I experience the global nature of the work that we do every day
Before starting as a trainee, I hadn't realised how often and seamlessly the various global White & Case teams work together. Our clients are from all over the world, we work on multijurisdictional matters with our networks and colleagues in overseas offices, and the lawyers in our London office come from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities.

As a trainee, I have been able to meet with clients and factual witnesses who have travelled from abroad to the London office. Attending events which celebrate the international nature of the work that we do has been a highlight of my training contract so far. In my International Arbitration seat alone, I attended the African Arbitration Academy and the Arbitration in India panel discussion event.

Being a trainee is a huge learning curve
From my perspective, organisation is paramount! As an example, I have found that my daily to-do lists are essential for keeping up the tasks set.

Managing expectations of colleagues in terms of timing and progress should not be underestimated. I've also come to learn that being proactive as a trainee is always appreciated. I was surprised at the level of responsibility given to a first-seat trainee at the Firm.

Finally, the scale of the work: It was not until I properly started my training contract that I really comprehended the size and scale of the many matters we work on. The matters are often market firsts, whether that be by size, complexity or jurisdiction.

What advice do you have for aspiring lawyers?
Complete the Virtual Learning Programme and apply for an Open Day to get a flavour of the kind of work you might carry out in your training contract, and the workplace culture in which you will do it.

White & Case is the firm for you if you want to be challenged daily, work with incredibly intelligent and agile teams on exciting cross-border transactions, but also want a friendly culture that is supportive of your development and growth and wants you to succeed.