Survey Results - Trainee feedback on White & Case LLP
The Lex 100 verdict on White & Case LLP
A City office described as a ‘hybrid between a US elite and traditional London law firm’ sums up White & Case as offering the best aspects of a London firm combined with enviable international reach. A Lex 100 Winner for international secondments, White & Case is well known for training opportunities abroad and lauded for its ‘reputation, market position and international opportunities’. One trainee describes the appeal: ‘the firm’s people and work clearly proved its claims of being a truly international firm that settles for nothing short of excellence in every area. I was excited to be a part of that’. White & Case’s profile is strong in financial and transactional work and offers exciting big-ticket deals. One trainee compares the training experience: ‘I think I have more responsibility and opportunities for practical on-the-job growth and learning compared to my peers at Magic/Silver Circle law firms’. Asked about the firm’s best quality, feedback relates ‘the client exposure from day one. I have felt trusted to deal with clients and matters which I didn’t think I would be handling so early on’. With all the responsibility, access to high quality work and international clientele comes ‘long hours and demanding work’ which at times can result in ‘high stress’. Yet, as one trainee comments, ‘I certainly think during the pandemic the firm has compared favourably to others in terms of providing support for its staff, whether that be the twice-renewed tech budget, wellness sessions or bringing in outside speakers. It has helped demonstrate the firm’s commitment to its people’.
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 deals and disputes: 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.
The clients: Nestle, Rio Tinto, Barclays Bank, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Toshiba, Klarna, Bud Financial, Energean Oil & Gas, GSO Partners, Goldman Sachs.
A day in the life of... Amir Mehdizadeh Iranpour, trainee, White & Case LLP
Departments to date: Private equity
University: King's College London
Degree: LLB Law
7.45am: How I spend my morning depends if I am commuting into the office or working remotely. If I am commuting, I spend my morning reading news articles to build up my commercial awareness on the train. If I am working remotely, this gives me a bit of extra time to go on a jog before I start my working day.
9.00-9.15am: If I am working remotely I usually log on 15 minutes earlier which gives me time to review any developments in commercial news I have been following. I start my working day by reviewing my calendar, and going through my emails. I respond to any urgent emails first and then prepare a to-do list for the day.
9.45am: I begin preparing the bi-weekly update for one of our leading private equity clients. I review all the time keeper’s entries on live matters to update the work-in-progress report and to update the workstream tracker.
11.00am: One of the deals I have been working on has now reached the signing phase and it is my responsibility to prepare execution versions of the documents, prepare packs for each signatory and upload the documents onto DocuSign for execution.
12.30pm: A different matter is in the earlier stages; our client is acquiring a new portfolio company and we are preparing the due diligence (DD) report. My responsibility is to review the top ten material supplier and customer contracts of the portfolio company, populate a table with the key terms and flag anything which may be onerous or unusual.
1.30pm: Lunchtime. I meet my colleagues in BSK, our firm canteen, to have lunch if I am in the office. If I am working remotely, I might jabber video call one of my colleagues to catch up while we eat or I might watch the news.
2.00pm: I have a catch-up call with my supervisor.
2.30pm: An associate sends me a share purchase agreement (SPA) with comments for me to implement. This is a great opportunity to have a go at drafting and to receive feedback.
3.30pm: Upon completing the amendments to the SPA, the associate asks me to carry out some research to find standard form ancillary documents for the transaction, and to tailor the provisions to apply specifically to the deal.
5.00pm: I review all comments made on the workstream update from my supervisor and the relationship partner to the client, tidy up the workstream update and work-in-progress report and prepare an email to be sent to the client.
5.30pm: I return to reviewing the material contracts for the DD report.
8.15pm: To ensure I keep my energy levels up and a healthy mind, I go to the gym in the evening. When I get home I have a meal I prepped at the weekend so I am able to enjoy a full and balanced dinner.
9.30pm: If it is a busy period in the team I will log on after dinner to spend some time reviewing the material contracts for the DD report and completing the summaries table. I will then finish the day by sending an update to the supervising associate, letting them know how many material contracts have been reviewed and the number of outstanding ones. I record my time and wind down before going to sleep by reading a book or listening to a podcast.
About the firm
Managing partner: Melissa Butler
Who we are: White & Case is a global law firm of more than 2,500 lawyers worldwide. We’ve built an unrivalled network of 45 offices in 31 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.
Discover White & Case through the eyes of our people. Read more (https://inside.whitecase.com/) about our work, our people and our offer.
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. 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).
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, Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, 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 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.
Perks: In addition to our core benefits (including a pension, private medical insurance and life insurance) and flexible benefits (including cycle to work scheme, season ticket loan and dental insurance) every employee receives a wellness spending account where you can be reimbursed up to £500 per year towards the cost of fitness activities, gym memberships and relaxation services.
Sponsorship: Course fees paid for GDL and LPC and maintenance grant of £7,500 for GDL and £10,500 for LPC.
Work placements: A vacation scheme provides a great way to experience first-hand what life is like as a White & Case trainee. Playing an active part in the life of the London office, you will receive real work from a dedicated supervisor, attend interactive, informative sessions and be given plenty of opportunities to network at social events.
Open days: You can apply to attend one of our London office open days for a useful insight into the firm and the training we offer. We are holding open days for second-year students, penultimate-year students, finalists and graduates.
First-year two-day insight scheme: As a first-year student, you can apply for one of our two-day insight schemes which will take place from 4-5 May or 11-12 May 2022. Over the course of the two days you will attend presentations, workshops and work-shadow a trainee.
White & Case 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.
Vacation scheme insider
University of Bristol, Law
Why White & Case? I applied to White & Case because it is a truly global firm, and I knew I wanted to work somewhere where the global opportunities were unlimited. White & Case’s international reach puts them in a unique position to serve their clients and attract high-quality and high-profile work. The guaranteed overseas seat is a great opportunity to build a global network, and to understand how the firm operates as one global business. The firm stood out to me as an incredible place to train and learn; all the lawyers I had met before applying emphasised that it was a challenging but supportive place to work. The mix of contentious and non-contentious expertise ensures breadth and experience when training.
Work I undertook: On the scheme, I sat in corporate private equity. I completed work for several people, but most of my work came from my associate supervisor, my trainee buddy and another trainee. I was given a lot of responsibility and I enjoyed being challenged, but there was still constant support and I was not expected to know everything. Everyone in the team ensured I received a wide range of work so that I understood what kind of work a trainee does. December was a busy period, which meant the work was very fast paced. The international nature of the deals added complexity and nuance, which was very exciting. Everyone put in a lot of effort to explain the deals to me; this ensured I understood their wider commercial context and therefore I could carry out the tasks properly. Some of the work I did included: research tasks, proofreading, adding corrections to documents, filling in Companies House forms, drafting cover letters, filling in tables and running red lines for different documents.
Highlights: The scheme was a perfect balance of working, networking, presentations and attending social events. We were given numerous opportunities to meet a variety of people. We had departmental presentations, a diversity and inclusion breakfast presentation, a Q&A session with partners and associates, and much more. The process was made a lot easier by the amount of effort that was put into the scheme’s organisation. Additionally, the other vacation scheme participants were very friendly and diverse. We all became friends and worked well together, especially in the group exercise.
Culture: Everyone I met at the firm was passionate and interesting. The lawyers at all levels were approachable, willing to help and cared about your development. The open-door policy made it easier to meet people. The graduate resourcing and development team were friendly, helpful and they constantly checked in to make sure that we were okay. The experience was very personal; on the scheme I was given feedback from my vacation scheme interview to assist me with my final interview, and after our final interviews we had a chat with a member of graduate resourcing to discuss how we thought it had gone.
White & Case is truly diverse, and the firm recognises that diversity is imperative to the business. There are many diversity initiatives, including affinity groups, mentoring, sponsorship and unconscious bias training. Some other vacation scheme participants and I were taken out to lunch by lawyers from the Black Affinity Network, where we were able to hear their experiences as black lawyers at the firm.
Socials: The socials were a great way to get to know each other, the trainees and lawyers within a more relaxed setting. On our first evening, we had a champagne flight on the London Eye. The following evening, we had an Apprentice-style chocolate challenge where we worked in teams with trainees to create a chocolate brand. Throughout the two weeks, there were networking drinks, department drinks, I was taken out to lunch by my supervisor and I also attended my department’s Christmas dinner. On our penultimate day we had a partner lunch at Natural Kitchen.
I would highly recommend applying for a vacation scheme at White & Case!