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Working as a grad in our Australia offices

April 2019: We asked five of our Australian associates, Kevin Chen, Chenez Dyer Bray, Kirsy Ha, Jessie Huynh and Yushu Xie, to share their experience as grads in our Melbourne and Sydney offices. Discover their varied work, why they chose White & Case and what advice they have for future lawyers in Australia.

Why did you decide on White & Case? 

KH: All through law school, I was always interested in international opportunities, especially in Asia. As I went on, I realized that international work was interesting but that I enjoyed the work culture in Australia much more. Working at White & Case is a great combination of both.

KC: It is an exciting and supportive workplace environment that provides me with incredible exposure to the matters I am involved with. Coupled with the exceptional mentoring from the team in Australia, I find myself constantly learning and developing my skills and awareness as a commercial lawyer. 

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

YX: It's a relatively new Firm in Australia and has a lot of potential. With a focus on the infrastructure area, it has become the industry leader within a very short period and will continue to be in a position to provide first-class legal services to Australian and overseas clients.  

JH: As a junior, I feel like my voice is heard, and I get the opportunity to work on business development and recruitment activities—aspects of a business not many firms offer to their junior lawyers. 

CBD: The training is excellent; juniors get a lot of responsibility; the Firm has a supportive culture; and there are numerous opportunities to be challenged and to grow. 

White & Case is a global firm – how have you experienced this?

KH: Australia is a fairly isolated country, and it is great to be in an environment where we are able to undertake international rotations or secondments, and meet lawyers from other countries who second in Australia. It's exciting to have the chance to go to Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Miami and so many other places our lawyers have been, and work on projects in countries such as Kenya and the Kingdom of Bhutan, which I would never have thought to be possible from Melbourne.

JH: You get all the perks of a small firm (more responsibilities and collegial culture) paired with the benefits of a large firm (thorough training, inter-office mobility, administrative support, and sophisticated IT and knowledge systems). This is also one of the only firms in Australia that is truly globally focused. White & Case associates are encouraged to seek work and secondments in one of our many overseas locations.

What sort of work have you undertaken to date? 

KC: I have been involved in the financing of several projects, including a Victoria wind farm and battery storage facility, which will supply affordable electricity to an agribusiness and the national grid. As part of this, I conducted due diligence work; drafted clauses to financing and corporate documents; managed the conditions precedent process; liaised directly with clients and counsel; and assisted with the signing process in the transaction. I have also conducted research on several legislative reforms and developed briefing notes and client alerts for these.

YX: I've been involved in due diligence work, drafting of project documents and finance documents, legal research on a range of topics in different areas, and pro bono matters.

CDB: I have worked on a variety of different projects, including the financing of a solar farm, the refinancing of a coal power station, a restructuring and an acquisition of a renewables project. 

KH: It's been a really great mix of work with a little bit of everything—I've written a few memos on admin law and planning permit application decision-making; I've done a lot of case research in helping our lawyers prepare submissions for VCAT hearings; I've helped with property and contract law advisory work; I've conducted native title research; and I still have the opportunity to be involved with transactional work as we help our project teams with due diligence. The projects I've worked on so far are mostly in the renewable energy space, including solar farms and wind farms. 

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

JH: In the immediate future, I hope to gain as much experience as I can in Australia before heading overseas for a secondment in either Asia or the US. The corporate M&A work in Asia is varied and complex, and the opportunity to work with the talented teams in other Asian offices would be an incredible professional learning experience.

KC: I am most looking forward to developing myself as a commercial lawyer with a wide understanding of the different aspects of a deal. As such, I am looking forward to rotating in several teams during the Graduate Program, including an overseas rotation, to learn more about each particular practice and how they work together on any given deal.