Case study

Ollie Winters — Trainee solicitor

Employer
White & Case

Ollie studied law at the University of Cambridge. He now works as a trainee solicitor for White & Case

Why did you decide on a career in law?

When I was around nine or ten I was at a loose end on holiday, my mum started giving me John Grisham books to read. Ever since then, I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. I loved studying law at university and the more I met people in this profession and started to see what life as a corporate lawyer would be like, the more I realised how much I wanted a career in it (even if it isn’t exactly how it was in the books).

What attracted you to the firm?

I wanted to work at a firm that had a big US and international presence. I also wanted to work somewhere that was dynamic and always looking to grow its business both in London and globally because of all the exciting career opportunities that generates, even at a junior level.

What was the application process like?

The White & Case application process for a vacation scheme is relatively straightforward - it involves an online application form and cover letter, a video interview, an in-person interview with a member of the graduate resourcing and development team and an associate, plus a written assessment.

What’s a typical day like as a trainee solicitor?

I usually start the day by checking emails and catching up on the FT at the gym before work. Once I get in, I’ll write out my to do list for the day and work out what is most pressing.

I try to check in with the partners and associates I’m working with (always starting with my supervisor) early on to see if I can help them with anything so I can make sure to plan ahead accordingly if they do need anything doing.

I usually spend a few hours day on calls, or in meetings both with clients and other external parties and with the internal White & Case team. I’m a big fan of speaking about things in person so I’ll stick my head around the door of the people I’m working with to discuss the deal and see where I can add value or make suggestions.

I’ll then try and grab coffee and lunch with my friends to try and break the day up.

In the evenings, I’ll usually put some headphones in and work on anything that doesn’t require immediate input from other people or requires me to focus for longer periods of time. I’ll often order food in the office while I work, so once I go home I can be more confident of being able to switch off. I’ll send some final emails and make sure I have some time before bed to decompress.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most and what are the challenges?

The thing I enjoy the most and the biggest challenge is that the job can be very high-pressured sometimes. I love the environment and that fact that I’m always being pushed to deliver my best but it is important to know how to manage yourself and your wellbeing in this environment.

There are a lot of stereotypes about law, can you debunk a myth?

That all lawyers are the same. In just a year at the firm I’ve been able to work with an amazing range of incredibly interesting and different people.

What are your career ambitions?

Fortunately I really like my job and I can see myself doing some of the more senior roles in the teams I’ve sat in. I’m always open to new possibilities but for now, I’m set on trying to keep progressing on the current career path.

Why should future trainees consider applying to the firm?

White & Case is probably one of the most balanced firms in the city. It has all the advantages of being US headquartered and incredibly international with all the benefits that come from working in a large full service London office. It’s also a hugely dynamic and exciting place to work that is constantly growing and adapting but has retained a supportive and friendly culture.

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