The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Global heavyweight White & Case is among the largest law firms in the City, and has 39 offices across the world, the latest being Cairo which opened in June 2016. The firm is a leader in the finance and energy spaces with a longstanding presence in the market, earning an enviable list of clients. It was nominated twice at the Legal Business Awards 2016, in the Restructuring and Private Equity Team of the Year categories.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Asset finance and leasing; Bank lending – investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Debt capital markets; Derivatives and structured products; Emerging markets; Employee share schemes; Employment: employers; High yield; Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP); Islamic finance; Mining and minerals; Oil and gas; Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Rail; Securitisation; Trade finance.
Acted for the government of Ukraine on its $15bn sovereign Eurobond restructuring; represented CIT Group on the ECA-supported financing of over 50 Airbus aircraft on lease to various airlines; advised Trafigura’s oil business Puma Energy on a $1.25bn term loan and revolving credit facility; advised GTECH on a multi-billion dollar covenant-lite issuance to fund its acquisition of International Game Technology; acted for Cabot Credit Management on a €310m offering.
Aliaxis Group; Barclays Bank; Deutsche Bank; GSO Capital Partners; Goldman Sachs; JPMorgan; Jackson Square Aviation; Qatar Rail; Standard Chartered; Thomas Cook Group; UK Export Finance.
The ‘international opportunities’ available at White & Case feature heavily throughout the firm’s feedback. The ‘truly global approach to legal matters’ ensures that trainees regularly work on ‘large cross-border transactions’, and the ‘emerging markets focus’ earns particular plaudits. The ‘guaranteed overseas seat’ is very popular, with destinations as varied as Tokyo, Paris and New York offering ‘a brilliant opportunity for trainees to enjoy a new culture’. The Lex 100 Winner award for international secondments comes as no surprise. Back in London, trainees rave about White & Case’s status as ‘project finance market leaders’, and about the ‘high-quality, prestigious work’ on offer. Trainee work highlights include ‘having a lead role in the closing of a large deal involving 16 aircraft’, ‘drafting an underwriting agreement from scratch’ and ‘playing an important part in a huge cross-border deal with a high-profile client and reading about it in the FT’. Respondents report that there is a ‘lack of consistency between different departments in terms of the quality of work given to trainees’, and though there is a ‘diverse range of departments’, it is regrettable that ‘some of the smaller practice groups take on few trainees’. Trainees lament that the ‘long hours’ often mean that ‘weekends are no longer your own’, but having ‘one of the best trainee salaries in the City’ helps to make up for this and secures a Lex 100 Winner spot for salary satisfaction. Recruits have entered into a ‘very warm and team-oriented culture’ as the firm ‘considers its people as key to success of the business’, earning a third Lex 100 Winner gong for confidence in being kept on. To train at a firm with a ‘truly global profile’ and a ‘particular focus on career progression of junior lawyers’, apply to White & Case.
A day in the life of...
Amelia Smith fourth-seat trainee, White & Case LLP
Departments to date: Capital markets, litigation, project finance
Degree:Middle Eastern Studies; 2(1)
8.45am: I get into the office pretty early to go through any emails that have come through since last night (and eat some breakfast). I am currently on secondment in our Singapore office and many of the transactions are spread across time zones so there is quite a bit of overnight email traffic.
9.15am: Having dealt with any urgent emails needing only a quick response, I check in with the project finance associates on the main deal I am working on, to get a feel for what deadlines are coming up this week and which tasks need to be done today. I get started on the most urgent task first, which involves comparing various precedent master services agreements to determine which we should use as our base document, and whether that base document is missing any important clauses. This agreement will set out how all utilities and services will be sourced and provided to an oil and gas project.
11.00am: A coffee break is needed so I head downstairs with a couple of associates and along the way we discuss the different aspects of the deal we are all working on – this can be a good way to find out a bit more about the context of the deal and to ask questions informally.
1.30pm: After reviewing one of the master services agreements and running through the morning’s emails, I head to a nearby food market (one of the benefits of a secondment to Singapore) with another trainee for some lunch.
2.15pm: I get back from lunch and check through my emails, dealing with a few less urgent tasks left over from this morning.
2.30pm: A short but more urgent task comes in so the master services agreements have to wait while I deal with that. The request is from the capital markets team and involves proofreading a short agreement and updating the definitions and cross-references.
3.40pm: Proofreading done, I send a quick chaser email to one of my colleagues in the Jakarta office regarding the hard copy originals of various non-disclosure agreements, which need to be compiled into full sets of originals and sent out to our client.
5.45pm: The master services agreements are all reviewed so I put together an email explaining the most pertinent differences between the agreements, and hand over my mark-ups to the senior associate (making copies for myself and the rest of the team). I then catch up on some time entries from earlier in the week.
6.00pm: A new task comes in which involves preparing a time line setting out the conditions precedent documents for a share purchase agreement – this will help the team see which documents will need to be delivered prior to closing and which should be conditions subsequent.
7.10pm: I do one final check through my emails and file anything which has been dealt with. There is a small, but not urgent, task which involves pulling together a few articles from various legal search engines. I have training tomorrow morning on contract drafting so I get these together before I head home and send them off to the associate who requested them.
7.40pm: I meet up with some trainees from another firm for drinks and dinner, making the most of a relatively quiet week!
About the firm
Address:5 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1DW
Telephone: 020 7532 2899
Fax:020 7532 1001
Managing partner : Oliver Brettle
Other offices: Abu Dhabi, Astana, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Bratislava, Brussels, Doha, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, Milan, Moscow, New York, Paris, Prague, Riyadh, São Paulo, Seoul, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Shanghai, Stockholm, Tokyo, Warsaw, Washington DC.
Who we are: White & Case is a global law firm with nearly 2,000 lawyers worldwide. Our network of 39 offices provide the full range of legal services of the highest quality in almost every major commercial centre and emerging market.
What we do: We are proud to represent some of the world’s longest established and most respected names alongside many start-up visionaries.
What we are looking for: White & Case is looking to recruit ambitious trainees who have a desire to gain hands-on practical experience from day one. 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.
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. Our vacation schemes introduce candidates to the type of work our lawyers are involved in on a day-to-day basis.
Perks: We offer core benefits (including a personal pension plan, private medical insurance and life insurance) and flexible benefits (including cycle to work scheme, season ticket loan and dental insurance).
Sponsorship:Course fees paid for GDL and LPC. Maintenance grant for each full-time law school year.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 50
Applications received pa: 3,000
Percentage interviewed: 10-15% (video interviewed)
First year: £44,000
Second year: £48,000
Newly qualified: £90,000
Total partners: 95
When to Apply:By 31 July 2017 for training contracts to commence in September 2019 or March 2020.
3-13 April 2017 (apply by 31 January 2017).
19-30 June 2017 and 10-21 July 2017 (apply by 31 January 2017). Open days: 24 November 2016 (apply by 10 November 2016) and 12 January 2017 (apply by 14 December 2016). First-year two-day insight scheme: 17-18 May 2017 (apply by 31 March 2017).
12-21 December 2016 (apply by 2 November 2016).