White & Case
In 1901, two Wall Street lawyers chipped in $250 each to found a new law firm. Oh how times have changed! Today, White & Case’s annual revenue is just over $1.3 billion and it employs over 2,000 lawyers, across 38 offices globally.
- Very flexible over hours and working from home
- Excellent training and you're guaranteed an international seat if you want to go
- Friendly and lively office with lots of socialising amongst solicitors
- Trainees are given responsibility from the very beginning
- Stressful and sometimes overly competitive
- A lot of internal politics at times
- Lack of mentoring
In 1901, Wall Street lawyers, Justin DuPratt White and George B Case, chipped in $250 each to found a new law firm. Oh how times have changed! Today, White & Case’s annual revenue is just over $1.3 billion and it employs over 2,000 lawyers, across 38 offices in 26 countries.
Leveraging their friendship with J.P. Morgan financier Henry ‘Harry’ Davison, the ambitious co-founders began to build a legal practice adept in banking. Davison hired White & Case to organise Bankers Trust Company, and retained the new firm's services to represent a succession of banking ventures and provide legal services to numerous companies financed by J.P. Morgan – US Steel being the marquee deal. During World War I, the firm handled the legal leg work for J.P. Morgan on behalf of the British and French governments’ purchase of US war materials. Besides providing an array of legal work for the firm, the French government made DuPratt White a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, in recognition of the firm's efforts.
Fast forward nearly a century, and White & Case’s linchpin remains finance, with Deutsche Bank its largest client. Unsurprisingly, J.P. Morgan still ranks amongst its roster of illustrious global banking clients, alongside behemoths Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS.
As one of the largest full-service global law firms (with one of the largest global footprints), White & Case is more than just banking experts; eminently proficient in dispute resolution, the firm regularly arbitrates on construction, trade and energy disputes. In fact, its global litigation and arbitration practices account for more than a third of the firm’s work worldwide. The firm is also a leader in project finance and has strength in depth in key areas such as M&A and capital markets.
White & Case’s City branch remains the largest of any US originated firm in London in terms of revenue. While the London office is only second in size to the New York HQ, the firm’s first European office was actually in Paris, in the 1920s. Expanding across Europe, White & Case was among the first international law firms to cement itself in Eastern Europe in 1990. The firm has also had a presence in the Middle East for over 50 years and has a long track record of work in Africa. With a truly international reach, White & Case prides itself on employing lawyers who are ‘either native to or fully integrated in the regions where they are based’.
White & Case’s London centre is renowned for its uncommonly flexible working environment. In 2007, the firm implemented a radical programme allowing its lawyers to request their ideal working arrangements. This stretched to include part time hours, working from home, working deal by deal and even job sharing. There is no guarantee that all and sundries’ wishes will be granted, but it is more than a token PR manoeuvre, allowing flexibility in an otherwise largely rigid profession.
Liberal and flexible attitudes wouldn’t be complete of course without a dose of social conscience and altruistic practice. White & Case actively seeks out and takes on matters referred to them by numerous legal organisations. The firm's pro bono work includes political asylum, prisoner rights, discrimination suits and other human rights. White & Case actively encourages philanthropy amongst its solicitors, by judging time devoted to pro bono equal to efforts spent on billable work.
Working overseas is without a doubt an exciting personal experience and professionally it is also a key part in the process of developing White & Case’s trainees into highly skilled lawyers and integrating them into the international nature of the firm. White & Case guarantees all their trainees an opportunity to complete a six-month overseas seat. And with offices in 38 cities across 26 countries there are plenty of international locations to choose from.
White & Case started its training programme in London in 1996 and now receives approximately 1,400 applications every year for 25 training contracts, accepting applications from all around the world. This policy makes for an international and diverse office environment, with more than 33 nationalities currently working in the London office.
Although separated by background, there are a number of character traits shared by all the firm's solicitors. Besides the usual prerequisites of intelligence and communication skills, confidence is essential for anyone hoping to beat the odds and earn a training contract.
The recruitment process is fairly straight forward: you’ll only have two interviews, an English language test and an online application to complete; there’s no assessment day. Interviewers can be relatively tough though, so be warned; stand your ground and show them you have the confidence to work at the firm.
White & Case Graduate Recruitment Info
Shahnaz Begum – Graduate Resourcing & Development Manager
Training Contracts: 31st July 2013
Vacation Schemes: 31st January 2013
No. of lawyers firm-wide: 2,057
No. of lawyers in London: 286
London Partners: 67
London Solicitors: 200
London Trainee intake: 25
London Trainees retained: 69% (Aug 2012), 93% (Feb 2012)
Approx. no. of applications per year: 1,400
1st year trainee: £41,000 (rising by £1,000 every 6 months)
2nd year trainee: £43,000/£44,000
Newly qualified: £70,000
1 year PQE: £85,000
2 years PQE: £95,000
3 years PQE: £105,000
Employment & Benefits
Financial Restructuring & Insolvency
Mergers & Acquisitions
Sovereign Wealth Funds
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5 Old Broad Street
London EC2N 1DW
Tel: +44 (0)20 7532 1000
No. of worldwide offices: 38