Survey Results - Trainee feedback on White & Case LLP
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on White & Case LLP
Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘International nature of the work/ international secondment opportunity (there is a mandatory six-month seat abroad for your final seat)’, ‘its arbitration practice, international outlook, diversity of workforce and quality of work’, ‘not only is an international seat guaranteed, the expectation is that you do your fourth seat abroad’, ‘the overseas secondment guarantee’, ‘the culture, diversity, quality of work and friendliness’, ‘
Best thing about the firm? ‘Very collegiate and friendly. Lots of ongoing training’, ‘the free food’, ‘the type/level/stakes of the work’, ‘complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner at BSK (the firm canteen). I would not be coming into the office as much as I do if not for this. It saves money, time and stress!’, ‘the responsibility you are given on deals’, ‘the international element’, ‘the people – diverse, friendly and approachable’, ‘diversity and inclusivity’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘The unequal/inefficient allocation of work at times’, ‘the lack of check-in by supervisors sometimes’, ‘in some cases the hours – I’ve been quite fortunate, however’, ‘the hours can sometimes be a bit bad’, ‘lack of transparency around seat allocation’, ‘the legal technology offering could be improved’, ‘at the moment, my department is very quiet and so I feel rather underutilised’
Best moment? ‘Getting good feedback on a piece of work where my supervisor was genuinely thankful that I had stayed late to assist’, ‘signing a deal that took up a lot of time and effort’, ‘attending a client reception’, ‘attending a client development event’, ‘witnessing multiple hearings in my arbitration seat’, ‘completing my first signing’, ‘presenting at the weekly team meeting about tech applicability in the practice area’
Worst moment? ‘Having to complete multiple conflicting deadlines on the same day (short time frames)’, ‘searching for documents’, ‘being loaned to department B while a trainee in department A, without the supervisor in department A checking in/protecting me from department B’, ‘being allocated a seat that I had not chosen/expressed interest in. It felt like a gut punch. This was not helped by the lack of transparency around the allocation and the knowledge that others were given seats I had chosen/expressed interest in when they had done neither’
The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on White & Case LLP
White & Case is ‘global, not just in terms of the work and clients, but also its people, and the opportunity trainees have to work in other offices across the globe’. The firm is ‘US headquartered, but with a great reputation in London and worldwide’ and offers a ‘wide range of practices’, ‘high-value, market-leading deals’ and ‘amazing financial remuneration’. A ‘guaranteed international secondment’ is also part of the enviable package. It follows that White & Case has amassed six Future Lawyers Winner trophies this year. The diversity of the workforce was a theme that many respondents touched upon: the firm is ‘incredibly diverse, and this diversity is reflected all the way up to partner level’. There is also an ‘open-door policy’ and a ‘genuinely nice culture’, where trainees feel ‘involved in the team and encouraged to contribute to business and client development from the outset’. What’s more, training is ‘rigorous and structured’, with a ‘very intensive front-loaded and ongoing regime’ in place. Another big plus point is the ‘free breakfast lunch and dinner, including free Deliveroo after 8 pm!’. One of the things trainees don’t like about White & Case is the ‘inconsistency of work/life balance’, and although this is ‘to be expected from a top law firm’, there’s no denying that ‘the expectation to be online around the clock at times’ can take its toll. ‘Repeated weekend work’ and ‘late nights with filings’ are examples of times when trainees have felt overstretched. Much more fulfilling were ‘presenting a case update to the department (London and abroad)’, ‘taking the reins on drafting large sections of a shareholders agreement’, and ‘conducting a mock witness cross-examination’. To work for a ‘friendly, diverse, global giant’ where the ‘nature of all the work is cross border’ consider White & Case.
A day in the life of... Ali Shakil, trainee, White & Case LLP
Departments to date: Commercial real estate; Debt finance
University: University of Sheffield
Degree: LLB Law (with a year abroad at Turku University, Finland)
7.45am: Wednesday is an ‘anchor day’, which means the whole team is required to be in the office as per our agile working policy. In the debt finance team, we also have voluntary free ‘Wednesday Workouts’ consisting of spin classes/HIIT workouts at a nearby fitness centre. With this in mind, I wake up earlier than usual to allow enough time to commute to the office and workout.
9.15am: Following the team workout, I have breakfast at BSK (our firm restaurant with complimentary food and drink) with some of the team.
9.45am: I start my day in the office by catching up with emails, listing my tasks for the day and deciding what needs to be prioritised. Due to the transactional nature of finance work, each day brings new responsibilities and tasks which typically require a quick turnaround. As is often the case in finance seats, there are a large number of parties and documents involved, which results in heavy email traffic. So, as the trainee on the matter, it is very important to keep on top of emails and keep all parties updated on progress.
10.15am: I will have quick catch-ups with fee-earners I am staffed with on various matters to check progress and gain visibility on what’s coming ahead.
10.45am: I spend the rest of the morning actioning tasks for various matters, which include: cross-reference checking transaction documents, carrying out company searches, drafting corporate authorisations and legal opinions, updating conditions precedents and signing checklists, and preparing first drafts of ancillary documents based on standard forms.
1.00pm: I grab lunch from BSK with other trainees and head out of the office (weather permitting) for some fresh air before the afternoon tasks.
2.00pm: I reassess my to-do list and decide whether anything requires immediate attention and prioritise accordingly.
6.30pm: I head to BSK for dinner and a catch-up with fellow trainees, before heading back to my desk to submit my time recording and record any suitable tasks in my Fresh Unity journal for SRA purposes.
7.00pm: Depending on workload, I decide whether I stay in the office a bit longer or head home to finish off any urgent tasks. Sometimes, I attend firm events or join team drinks which is a great way to build a network and catch up with colleagues.
About the firm
The firm: White & Case is a global law firm of more than 2,000 lawyers worldwide. They’ve built an unrivalled network of 44 offices in 30 countries. That investment is the foundation for their client work in 180 countries today. Complex client projects, nuanced local market knowledge and global capabilities define who they are. Many White & Case clients are multinational organisations with complex needs that require the involvement of multiple offices. As part of their training contract, they offer every trainee a guaranteed six-month overseas seat.
The clients: Nestle, Rio Tinto, Barclays Bank, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Toshiba, Klarna, Bud Financial, Energean Oil & Gas, GSO Partners, Goldman Sachs.
The deals: Represented Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy on the c€15bn financing of its acquisition of Tiffany & Co, the global luxury jeweller; represented the lenders on the €1.1bn syndicated Green Loan provided to .italo NTV, Europe’s leading highspeed rail operator; represented GSO Capital Partners and its affiliates on a three tier financing package to support Advent International’s £4bn acquisition of leading global technology and services innovator Cobham plc; representation of the financiers on a landmark US$20bn project financing of Mozambique’s first onshore LNG development, Mozambique LNG, one of the largest project financings to go to market in Africa; represented Avast, the leading global cybersecurity provider, in connection with its £602m IPO on the London Stock Exchange; representation of US satellite group EchoStar on its attempted US$3.2bn takeover of Inmarsat, the UK-based, FTSE 250 satellite operator; representing a leading global financial institution in investigations by the European Commission, the US Department of Justice, the US CFTC, the UK FCA and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on the setting of LIBOR, EURIBOR and SIBOR; representing the contractors in a multibillion-dollar dispute with the Panama Canal Authority relating to the US$5.5bn Panama Canal expansion project.
London office executive partner: Inigo Esteve
UK offices: London
Other offices: 44 in total
Who we are: White & Case is a global law firm of more than 2,500 lawyers worldwide. We’ve built an unrivalled network of 44 offices in 30 countries. That investment is the foundation for our client work in over 200 countries today. Complex client projects, nuanced local market knowledge and global capabilities define who we are. Many White & Case clients are multinational organisations with complex needs that require the involvement of multiple offices. As part of our training contract, we offer every trainee a guaranteed six-month overseas seat.
As a White & Case lawyer, you’ll work on fast-paced cutting-edge cross-border projects from the outset of your career. In London, our key areas of work include: debt finance (including regulatory compliance); financial restructuring and insolvency; capital markets (high yield and securitisation); dispute resolution (including antitrust, commercial litigation, intellectual property, international arbitration, trade, white collar, and construction and engineering); energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance (EIPAF); and corporate (including M&A, private equity, employment, compensation and benefits, investment funds, real estate and tax).
White & Case celebrates and welcomes difference. We strive to create an environment where everyone can bring their authentic, full selves to work and thrive. Our culture promotes a respectful, supportive workplace environment, where all people feel accepted for who they are, experience a sense of belonging and are empowered to unite across differences.
Discover White & Case through the eyes of our people. Read more about our work, our people and our offer.
Vacation schemes: So you want to be a City lawyer? Taking part in one of our three annual vacation schemes is the best possible way to experience what our lawyers do every day. Try out real client work and see if our firm is the right fit for you.
We recruit the majority of our London trainees (on average 80%) from our vacation schemes, with 25 participants in each intake. There’s no limit on how many training contracts we offer per scheme, so you won’t be in competition with your peers.
Wherever your career takes you, we guarantee that you’ll build skills and experience that will last: do real client work – draft memorandums, write client alerts, research areas of the law, attend meetings or court hearings, for example; learn about different practice areas and deepen your knowledge of the law; ‘Ask Me Anything’ Q&A session with partners and associates; attend social events, including supervisor and buddy lunches, and fun activities such as sushi making; build your networks, both professionally and personally; receive feedback and advice on your work and performance; as part of your training contract interview, you’ll have the opportunity to prepare a presentation on a commercial topic.
Open days: If you’re curious about working as a City lawyer, our London office open days are a great place to find out more. You’ll learn more about White & Case, and meet our current trainees, associates and partners.
Learn about City law; network with the White & Case team over lunch; get practical tips on how to do well in your applications and interviews; put your decision-making skills to the test in an interactive business game; speak to trainees, associates and partners about their work and our firm.
Open day dates: 14 and 22 November 2023 (apply by 29 October 2023).
First-year two-day insight scheme: Attend one of our two-day insight schemes to understand more about what City law firms do and about different areas of the law. Discover what lawyers really do and see if this is a career that matches your interests and ambitions.
Learn about White & Case; find out how we compare to other law firms; shadow one of our trainees; understand the day-to-day role of a trainee; enhance your future applications; meet White & Case trainees, associates and partners; attend networking events.
The deadline to apply is 31 March 2024.
Virtual learning programme: Our virtual learning programme offers the opportunity to gain first-hand insight into life as a White & Case trainee and experience the realities of cross-border law.
There is no cost to access the programme; it is self-paced to fit around your schedule, and no application form or legal knowledge is required. You’ll gain insight into the fast-paced, cutting-edge projects our lawyers and trainees work on, and gain valuable skills by undertaking true-to-life legal tasks. Participation in the learning programme will be recognised on our application forms, and it is a great way to demonstrate your interest in law and White & Case.
Wherever you are based, we want to give everyone the opportunity to get to know us.
If you’re globally minded and ambitious, join our virtual learning programme.
What we’re looking for: White & Case is looking to recruit ambitious trainees who have a desire to gain hands-on practical experience from day one and a willingness to take charge of their own career. We value globally-minded citizens of the world who are eager to work across borders and cultures, and who are intrigued by solving problems within multiple legal systems. They should have an understanding of international commercial issues and an interest in working on big-ticket, cross-border work. We recruit both law and non-law students and owing to the nature of our work, language skills are of interest. Applicants will be welcomed for their individuality, their ability to contribute to the cutting-edge work we do and the energy with which they approach the job at hand. They should have achieved, or be on track to achieve, a solid 2.1, have a positive and friendly attitude, be enthusiastic and work well in teams.
What you’ll do: The training contract consists of four six-month seats, one of which is guaranteed to be spent in one of our overseas offices, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, Helsinki, Houston, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Singapore, Stockholm and Tokyo. The remaining three seats can be spent in any one of the firm’s practice groups in London. Receiving a high level of partner and associate contact from day one, our trainees can be confident that they will receive high-quality, stimulating and rewarding work. Trainees work in small, focused teams, so their colleagues trust them to perform tasks accurately and efficiently. White & Case is a ‘high-stretch, high-support’ workplace that celebrates individual excellence and team success. We actively encourage our trainees to take early responsibility, and there is a strong emphasis on practical training, with plenty of support and feedback. Alongside the training contract, our trainees are encouraged to get involved in all aspects of our globally renowned pro bono programme, often working directly with clients and even managing small matters. White & Case recruits and develops trainee solicitors with the aim of retaining them on qualification.
Sponsorship: We will cover your PGDL and SQE fees and provide a maintenance grant of £17,000 for the PGDL and £20,000 for SQE.