The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
From its origins in New York, White & Case has grown to a network of 43 offices across the world, with the London office among the largest law firms in the City. The firm has a longstanding presence in the finance and energy sectors and advises a broad and impressive list of clients which includes banks, financial institutions, global companies and sovereigns.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Asset finance and leasing; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Commercial litigation; Construction; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Debt capital markets; Derivatives and structured products; Emerging markets; Equity capital markets; High yield; Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP); International arbitration; Islamic finance; Mining and minerals; Oil and gas; Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Private equity: transactions; Trade finance.
Acted on the restructuring of $1.9bn in debt for the Republic of Mozambique, and advising ENI on its €400m equity-linked bonds; advised dealers including Barclays plc on a $1bn GMTN programme for Access Bank in Nigeria and a subsequent $183m drawdown; acted for Trafigura on a $450m receivables-backed financing for oil exports from Ghana National Petroleum Company; advising Nordea Bank on the high-profile $2.3bn restructuring of CGG; acted for Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company and its Saudi and Chinese shareholders in relation to the $3.1bn conventional facility and $1.6bn murabaha facility to partially refinance funds used for the construction of a Saudi oil refinery; acted for Flughafen Zurich on the proposed sale of its 5% shareholding in Bangalore International Airport to Fairfax.
Anchorage Capital Group; Avast Software; BNP Paribas; Citibank Global Markets; JP Morgan; Kaupthing; Merrill Lynch; Norilsk Nickel; The Smithfield Group; Vale.
The 'guaranteed seat abroad' is without doubt the main pull for White & Case trainees, and the firm is named a Lex 100 Winner in the international secondments category. Yet the theme of a 'truly global firm' also permeates the feedback in many other ways, not least because of the attraction of representing 'an internationally stellar client base' and handling 'world-class work' that includes 'expertise in cross-border M&A and international arbitration'. 'Emerging markets work' is also a firm priority, a remit which includes 'a strong focus on Africa'. Much is made of the 'true integration with overseas offices', and this is enhanced by initiatives such as 'the conference in Hamburg for trainees and junior associates from the European offices'. Work highlights have included 'reading about some of our live matters in the press' and 'travelling to Romania to complete a corporate transaction'. There can be 'gruesome hours sometimes', necessitating 'regular late nights' and 'cancelled weekend plans'. The trainee and NQ remuneration is unsurprisingly popular, and earns White & Case a second Lex 100 Winner award. We are told that 'internal communication is slow and vague', and trainees perceive a 'lack of efficiency regarding the process and progress of the training contract'. There is 'a genuine camaraderie among trainees', and 'the sociable nature of people at the firm' is rightly praised. This extends to the partners, who 'make an effort to get to know the trainees in the team'. Furthermore, 'departments actively seek to improve the trainee experience by conducting one-to-one and group feedback sessions'. To 'learn from highly-valued industry specialists' at a firm with 'true international scope', apply to White & Case.
A day in the life of...
Ana Louise O'Sullivan first-seat trainee, White & Case LLP
Departments to date: Project finance
University:Trinity College Dublin
8.45am: I arrive at the office early to go through my emails and to see if there's anything urgent I need to do this morning. One of the deals I am working on involves a Japanese client so there are often emails which come in overnight.
9.00am: As there is nothing urgent to do, I meet up with the other trainees on my floor for a coffee.
9.15am: I check in with my supervisor, who is a senior associate, and any other associates who have given me work. It can be tricky to work around everyone's schedules and this helps me prioritise my tasks for the day.
10.00am: I am working on a conditions precedent checklist with my supervisor. I regularly have to communicate with the Turkish and Dutch offices of the opposing counsel, as well as with our colleagues in our partner offices in Turkey and the Netherlands, to obtain the necessary documents. White & Case really does feel like one firm and not a network of individual firms. It is very easy to pick up the phone and speak to colleagues in other offices and it feels as if they are sitting right next to me. I update the checklist as and when the documents are approved. Even though I am still a trainee, I was given the task of co-ordinating this work stream a few months into my training contract. This is a lot of responsibility but I have learnt a lot and there is always someone there to help me if I have any questions.
1.00pm: I go for lunch. There is usually a group of trainees in the canteen around this time so I can always catch up with some of my colleagues. We all know each other really well and spend a lot of time together.
2.00pm: I start work on the 'know your client' checklist on another deal I am working on. I also carry out some administrative tasks, such as redlining and making sure all the document bundles are correct. This deal is particularly interesting for me because my first language is Portuguese, which is also the first language of some of our clients on this deal and the language of much of the original documentation. Because of this I get a lot of responsibility and client contact. One of the great things about training at White & Case is that I regularly get to use my languages in the work that I do and the firm really encourages this.
3.00pm: Because of the scale of the deal, we have regular meetings with the clients. They are currently in London so they come into the office for a meeting, which I attend and take notes.
5.00pm: Once the meeting is over, I start making amendments to the amendment and restatement agreements with the help of a junior associate. We need to draft six of these agreements for different insurers, which requires a lot of attention to detail. The junior associate is good at giving me feedback and I feel like I'm improving all the time.
6.00pm: My supervisor is busy preparing for a signing which is due to happen soon, so I assist by proofreading the project documents. I create a list which I circulate to our colleagues in Milan and to some of our clients to make sure everything is ready for the signing.
7.00pm: White & Case offers a guaranteed international secondment so I take a look at the list of possible destinations which has been emailed to us by the graduate recruitment team. I am hoping to go to either New York or Singapore.
8.00pm: I am part of the White & Case volleyball team. We play in Aldgate so I walk there with one of the associates.
About the firm
Address:5 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1DW
Telephone: 020 7532 1000
Fax:020 7532 1001
Managing partner : Oliver Brettle
Other offices: 43 offices worldwide, spanning 30 countries.
Who we are: White & Case is a global law firm with nearly 2,000 lawyers worldwide. We've built an enviable network of 43 offices in 30 countries. That investment is the foundation for our client work in 159 countries today. Complex client projects, nuanced local market knowledge and global capabilities define who we are.
What we do: As a White & Case lawyer, you'll work on fast-paced cutting-edge cross-border projects from the outset of your career. Many White & Case clients are multinational organisations with complex needs that require the involvement of multiple offices. We actively encourage our trainees to take early responsibility, and there is a strong emphasis on practical training.
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 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.
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, Beijing, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York, 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 senior associate contact from day one, our trainees can be confident that they will receive high-quality, stimulating and rewarding work.
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
Training contracts available for 2020: 50
Applications received pa: 3,000
Percentage interviewed: 10-15% (video interviewed)
First year: £46,000
Second year: £50,000
Newly qualified: £105,000
Turnover in 2015/16: $290m
Total partners: 101
What's involved: Please visit our website for more details.
When to Apply:
Training Contract beginning in September 2020 or March 2021: By 31 July 2018.
Winter Vacation Scheme: By 5 November 2017.
Spring Vacation Scheme: By 31 January 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme: By 31 January 2018.
Open Days: See website.
First-year two-day Insight Scheme: By 31 March 2018.