White & Case LLP - The Inside View

Welcome to White & Case, a global dealmaker that “accepts people as their whole selves.”

Having sown its seeds in the Big Apple some 120 years ago, White & Case has borne fruit in 46 offices across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. It’s this international presence that drew our interviewees to the firm: “I was looking for a firm with a strong presence in the Middle East – where better to go than White & Case?” Naturally, the firm has attracted people from all walks of life, which in turn has created a rich, diverse culture: “People here are from all sorts of backgrounds; it creates a global mindset.” Case in point, the firm has picked up no fewer than 21 rankings in our sister guide, Chambers Global, for everything from private equity and capital markets to banking and finance and projects. Back on home soil, the firm’s bases are in key locations such as Chicago, LA, Miami, New York, Silicon Valley and DCChambers USA  has dished out more than 50 rankings for its domestic work. In terms of regional strengths, both the New York and DCbranches are recognized for their expertise in litigation, while Florida stands out for its bankruptcy prowess. 

White & Case is a Top 25 firm for Associate Satisfaction and a Top 10 firm for career development and two other categories in our 2023 survey.

Learn all about becoming a tech transactions lawyer with White & Case.

The Work 

In the New York and Houston offices, new full-time associates work in a corporate or litigation ‘pool’ system for their first year, before joining a more specific practice group in second year. Because of the pool system, associates are able to get work from whichever subgroups they fancy. A corporate source enthused: “I was able to taste all areas of corporate law.” At the end of their first year, rookies put forward their group preferences, which will be taken into account when placing them in their second year (business need is also a determining factor.) As for work assignments, 82% of those who completed our associate survey felt they had autonomy over their work allocation. Newbies are assigned matters through an allocation portal but can also pick up projects more casually. One explained: “I normally just ask a partner if they have any upcoming assignments they’d like me to work on. The portal has been good for making work assignments more equitable, but relationships still play a big role in work allocation.” 

When working on the transactional side of the firm, the offering encompasses debt finance, financial restructuring & insolvency, M&A/corporate, capital markets, and EIPAF (energy, infrastructure, projects and asset finance). The department represents a whole host of clients, ranging from private companies to large tech companies. Over in M&A, attorneys act on both the buy-side and sell-side. An interviewee detailed: “I take on a lot of project management – I coordinate with other specialist teams in the firm, help organize calls and draft ancillary documents.” When picking up capital markets work, juniors can expect to work on derivatives, securitization, CLOs and high-yield bonds. Where the latter is concerned, the team's main objective is to help the client with the issuance of bonds: “We facilitate everything that is needed for our client to get the bonds. We work with underwriters to make sure all the statements are in the memorandums, compile all the certificates and help with the guarantees.” On the banking side, newbies can expect to work on purchase agreements, update checklists, attend client meetings and draft proposals for the client. Client contact was a real highlight for sources in the corporate department: “I’ve had a lot more client interaction than I thought I would. There have been a few times where clients have confided in me directly, which has felt very rewarding.” 

Find out more about the firm's antitrust work here.

Corporate clients: Morgan Stanley Infrastructure, Golden Nugget Online Gaming. Acted for Panasonic in its $8.5 billion acquisition of Blue Yonder stock.

Over in litigation, the department covers white-collar investigations, bankruptcy, trade, international arbitration, antitrust, general commercial litigation, and data protection and cybersecurity. Most associates we spoke to took up work from the general commercial litigation bucket: “It’s very broad, but I’d say the meat of my work is contractual disputes and bankruptcy-based litigation.” Another source in commercial litigation stated: “I mainly focus on international technology disputes.” When preparing for filings, associates will draft and file submissions to the courts. They’ll also tacklecase research, discovery work and deposition preparation.

Where tech disputes were concerned, sources found themselves working on a lot of GDPR issues: “A lot of my work at the moment concerns data, copyrights and trademarks.” Again, sources were over the moon with the client contact they received: “My matters are really client-facing. As a first year I was emailing the clients directly and was able to take a lot of ownership of my work product.” To show its appreciation to its staff, the litigation department runs monthly global team meetings where they give out ‘game balls’: “The game balls show recognition and appreciation for great work, it’s a fun way to let someone know they’ve done a good job.” 

Litigation clients: Pfizer, Toshiba, Boy Scouts of America. A cross-border team of White & Case attorneys represented a former J.P. Morgan foreign exchange trader in a case concerning alleged price fixing and bid rigging.

Career Development 

To help newcomers navigate their way through law firm life, White & Case runs a mentoring circle that links juniors to mentors across the firm. An interviewee explained, “I had an office mate who became my best friend. I also had a formal partner and associate mentor who I could go to, to ask questions or ask for more work in a specific area.” Women of White & Case can join the women's mentorship program if they choose: “It’s a fruitful group! I’ve also had plenty of informal mentors that have been really great.” 

“The firm has made it clear that if you want to make partner, simply raise your hand and they’ll help you get there.” 

When they start out, newbies are expected to attend the firm’s ‘Foundational Milestone Program’ – training sessions geared toward learning the basics: “They teach us how to tackle research and give tips on writing.” There on after, formal training is available on a weekly basis: “The training has been nonstop since I started, they’ve been super helpful.” Attorneys were said to be looking at partnership around their 9th year at the firm, though this ultimately depends on the practice area. They’re kept up to date with recent partner promotions through a message from the Chair, which is delivered at the end of the year. A source commented: “The firm has made it clear that if you want to make partner, simply raise your hand and they’ll help you get there.” 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

According to our survey, 76% of respondents were happy with the firm’s efforts in retaining and promoting diverse lawyers. The firm has affinity groups to support diverse staff. For example, The Black Affinity Network pairs associates with a partner who acts as a support system and helps with professional development. A diverse source said: “I feel very accepted as my whole self here.” The Alliance Women's Network recently hosted a dinner for all members of staff: “It’s a great chance to bolster some good conversations with other women at the firm. Speakers often come in and discuss women’s issues.” The firm further supports D&I by enabling associates to count 50 hours of diversity work toward the billing target, and “these can be spent on attending diversity events or organizing group meetings.” 

PODCAST: Candid Conversations with White & Case


Interviewees described the culture at White & Case as “empathetic,” “respectful” and “inclusive.” 85% felt that associate camaraderie is strong: “The atmosphere is super friendly here. Some of my close friends are people I’ve met here.” The LA office was noticed as having a “young vibe.” A source noted: “There are lots of young parents here. People here are fun and upbeat.” Over in New York, the firm was described as “professional and hard-working.” One of the ways White & Case watered its flourishing culture was through its colorful array of social events. Interviewees spoke of attending happy hours, coffee meetups, and sporting events. An associate explained: “It’s not forced fun – you can participate as much or as little as you like! I’ve always felt included.” Most importantly, “the people are all very human and have a realistic picture of the demands of the job, but without losing sight of people’s needs as human beings.” White & Case expects staff to work in the office three days out of the week, “most people stay home on Mondays and Fridays.” While most were happy with the hybrid working policy, some felt a little pressure from senior staff to come in more than needed: “The firm has been quite tough on us coming back into the office. They made it clear that if we didn’t come in,  it would impact our performance review.” The firm told us the hybrid policy is in place to build networks, and is not directly related to performance reviews.

Hours & Compensation 

Billable hours: 2,000 requirement for bonus eligibility 

Associates’ hours are inevitably a mixed bag. According to our survey, attorneys reported working anywhere from 30 to 75 hours in one given week. Still, this averaged to around 49 hours a week – a couple less than the current market average. While some felt satisfied with their work/life balance, others felt a little overwhelmed... “I tend to work around ten hours a day and have a couple of pretty late nights a week.” A capital markets attorney was pleasantly surprised with their hours: “It’s been better than expected, especially for BigLaw. I count my lucky stars – even if I’m busy, partners encourage me to take my vacation and celebrate special occasions.” Interviewees that did experience tougher hours felt that it might’ve been down to being a newbie at the firm: “I didn’t have as much balance in my first year. I think I had a little bit of imposter syndrome and felt like I had to do everything. This year has been a little better – I'm still learning how to set boundaries.”

“The salary is pretty crazy...” 

First-years are not held to a billing target and receive the bonus no matter the hours they bill. To snap up a year-end bonus post-first year, associates must hit 2,000 hours, 1,750 of which must be client-chargeable. White & Case also offers a ‘super bonus’ for associates who bill above and beyond the billing hours target. When asked about the salary, associates had only positive words to say: “The salary is pretty crazy. I’m not surprised that this is a hard job given the amount of money we’re being paid – especially when we have little to no experience. We are paid for our time and we are well compensated for it.” 

Pro Bono 

Pretty much every associate who completed our survey felt the firm was committed to pro bono. Attorneys can pick up projects concerning social housing, immigration, prisoner rights, asylum and child abuse (among others). Juniors felt they were able to really sink their teeth into pro bono matters and described the work as fulfilling. One interviewee was particularly pleased with the ability to “litigate my moral and political beliefs. It’s nice to feel like you’re having a positive impact on people's lives.” Associates can count up to 200 hours of pro bono work toward the billing hours target, but “the firm does offer waivers if you go over.” The only downside, according to some, was that the work can be a little litigation-centric. 

Pro bono hours 

  • For all (US) attorneys: 82,000
  • Average per (US) attorney: 70  

Strategy & Future 

The past few years at White & Case have been all about growth and 2021 was a year of record heights, with the firm bringing in a whopping $2.86 billion in revenue. In 2022, the firm saw a slight dip in figures, but $2.83 billion is no mean feat given the macroeconomic challenges facing transactional departments across BigLaw. The firm also opened a new office in Luxembourg in March 2022, which now makes 37 overseas locations. Other areas of growth include the firm’s list of partners: 98 partners were made across the entire firm last year and 59 of those were promoted from within. What’s up next for the firm? Well in its 2022 annual report, the firm indicated a few key practice areas its clients have drawn attention to moving forward, specifically energy transition, ESG (environmental, social and governance), finance and globalization. 

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

White & Case participates in OCIs and resume collects at over 30 law schools and job fairs across the US and Canada. At this stage, OCI interviews are primarily conducted by partners or alumni of the school and the questions are usually competency-based but also conversational. “The pandemic changed the way we recruit with nearly all of our OCIs being conducted on a virtual platform instead of in person. That said, what we hope to achieve during interviews has not changed. We want to assess the tangible qualities of our candidates – their intellect and problem-solving skills as well as their ability to work in teams and to function at a high level in diverse and dynamic environments. We also want to convey the ethos of our firm and principles to which we are committed, including, of course, the development of our talent. So, the interview process – the questions interviewers ask and our interactions with our candidates are aimed at achieving those objectives,” notes Joseph Brazil, US Hiring Partner. 

The firm also accepts applications from students that apply directly through the firm’s careers website: “It’s also worth noting that in recent years we’ve met a large proportion of our candidates through direct applications as opposed to OCI.  This is done through a screen video interview platform through which all candidates answer a common set of questions. This additional interview process has expanded the universe of quality candidates we’ve been able to see.” 

Top tips for this stage: 

“We want to meet people who show genuine enthusiasm and interest in us. Come prepared, with a game-plan for what you want to convey about yourself and what you want to learn about White & Case.”hiring partner Joseph Brazil


Successful candidates will be invited for callback interviews, which are typically conducted by two partners and two associates. The questions at this stage are also competency-based, and “allow us to assess, among other things, a candidate’s intellect, collaboration skills, entrepreneurial mindset and tenacity,” Brazil explains. He adds that “the interview also provides us an opportunity to share with our candidates a bit about what it is like to work at our firm as well as our culture and overall strategy.” Following the callback, we offer many opportunities for candidates to connect in person with our lawyers through dinners, receptions, firm visits and other methods. Brazil adds, “This helps our candidates gain a deeper understanding of who we are so as to select a firm that dovetails with their career objectives.” 

Top tips for this stage: 

“Show an interest in the firm—that you’ve done your research and are prepared. Be engaged in the interview, and show confidence and composure.”– hiring partner Joseph Brazil. 

Summer program 

Before the summer program even begins, the firm looks for ways to bring the class together through virtual events, team-building exercises and mentoring assignments to ensure a smooth transition to the Firm. During week one, the entire class is invited to the New York office where summer associates across the US will have the opportunity to network with their peers and learn more about the Firm, its people, values and culture. As Brazil noted: “This is an invaluable opportunity to start to build their network and to connect with the firm’s lawyers that will be resources throughout their careers.” Programming also includes various workshops, business skills training, talks from lawyers and an opportunity to learn about the firm’s strategy and law firm economics. Over the course of the summer, assignment coordinators will dole out “real work for actual clients” and ensure that summers receive exposure to various projects in their practice areas of interest. Summers will also work with and meet as many of the firm’s lawyers as possible. Typical tasks include writing briefs, legal research, assisting in negotiation sessions, and producing memos and legal documents for clients. The summer program also includes work on at least one pro bono matter: “It is a unique way for our summer associates to start making their mark at White & Case,” says Brazil. An array of social events are available to help foster internal connections. The firm also offers a select number of domestic and overseas rotation opportunities during the summer program. 

Top tips for this stage: 

“Opportunities will abound. Be an active participant and take advantage of as many as you can.”–hiring partner Joseph Brazil

White & Case LLP

1221 Avenue of the Americas,
New York,
NY 10020
Website www.whitecase.com

Main areas of work

 White & Case is an international law firm that serves companies, governments and financial institutions. Our long history as a global firm means we are uniquely placed to help our clients resolve their most complex legal challenges wherever they are. White & Case has leading practices in the following areas:
antitrust, asset finance, capital markets, commercial litigation, debt finance, financial restructuring and insolvency, intellectual property, international arbitration, M&A, private equity, pro bono, project finance, technology transactions, tax, trade and white collar.

Firm profile

 We are a truly global firm, with an unrivaled network of 44 offices in 30 countries, plus two global operations centers in Tampa and Manila. It’s the reason many of our global clients choose to work with us, and why they trust us with their most challenging cross-border matters. From day one, our lawyers work on cutting-edge and complex multi-jurisdictional projects, experiencing the operational realities of cross-border law. Our promise is to provide our associates with the tools to become great lawyers via training, support and mentoring programs at every stage of their career. We are proud of our achievements—we have a revenue of more than US$2.83 billion and are top-ranked for diversity and pro bono programs—but we will not rest on our laurels. Our ambitious growth strategy continues to strengthen our position as a top-of-mind firm for global clients—and an employer of choice for top talent.


Law schools attending for OCIs in 2023:
Boston University, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Fordham, Georgetown, Harvard, Houston, Howard, Loyola, Miami, Michigan, Northwestern, Notre Dame, NYU, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, Toronto, Tulane, University of Florida, University of Pennsylvania, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, USC, Virginia.

Recruitment outside OCIs: White & Case participates in the following job fairs and law school local/regional interview programs: Bay Area Diversity Job Fair, The Law Consortium, Loyola Patent Interview Job Fair, Mid-Atlantic BLSA, Northeast BLSA, On Tour Interview Program (OTIP), San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association Job Fair.

White & Case also conducts resume collections at many schools where we cannot offer on-campus interviews, such as: American, Boston College, Cardozo, Emory, Hofstra, McGill, New York Law School, Rutgers, Santa Clara, Seton Hall, St. John’s, SMU, Suffolk, Tennessee, UC Hastings, Wisconsin, Washington University (St. Louis), Yale.

Summer associate profile: We look for highly motivated individuals with excellent academic credentials, significant personal achievements and a strong commitment to the practice of law in a global and diverse environment. A successful candidate will be able to demonstrate evidence of our core competencies, which include excellent judgment, client readiness, tenacity, collaboration and an entrepreneurial mindset. We are looking for those with the ability to work collaboratively in fast-paced, high-stakes situations. For more information about our recruitment timeline and process or to apply online directly to one of our US offices, visit www.whitecase.com/careers.

Summer program components: We pride ourselves on giving summer associates real work for real clients with real deadlines. During week one, the entire class is invited to the New York office for the Launch Your Career (“LYC”) program. LYC is an opportunity for our summer associates across the US to network with their peers and learn more about the Firm, our people and our culture. Programming includes a session on wellness, a business skills training, a seminar on law firm economics, an off-site team-building activity as well as an overview of our Global Citizenship and Diversity initiatives. We include a full curriculum of training programs in addition to hands-on training working side-by-side with our lawyers. Our Staffing Managers ensure that each summer associate is exposed to a variety of work, including pro bono matters. Summer associates are assigned mentors to provide career guidance and ensure a smooth transition to the firm. A variety of social events are available to help foster internal connections. At the end of the program, our summer associates will have a thorough understanding of what it is like to be a junior associate at White & Case.

Social Media

Recruitment website: www.whitecase.com/careers/locations/united-states/students/welcome
Twitter: WhiteCase
Facebook: whitecase
YouTube: whitecaseglobal
Linkedin: white-&-case
Instagram: @whitecase

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Technology: Transactions (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Litigation (Band 5)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 5)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 5)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Antitrust (Band 4)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • Environment: Mainly Transactional (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 5)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Technology (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: Debt & Equity (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 5)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 5)
    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • Antitrust: Cartel (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Capital Markets: Equity: Manager Counsel (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: High-Yield Debt (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: CLOs (Band 2)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: Whole Business (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Derivatives (Band 3)
    • Energy: Electricity (Transactional) (Band 2)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional) (Band 3)
    • Environment: Mainly Transactional (Band 3)
    • International Arbitration: The Elite (Band 1)
    • International Trade: CFIUS Experts (Band 1)
    • International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions: The Elite (Band 4)
    • International Trade: Trade Remedies & Trade Policy (Band 2)
    • Life Sciences (Band 4)
    • Mining & Metals (Band 1)
    • Offshore Energy (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts: Mid-Market (Band 2)
    • Projects: Agency Financing (Band 1)
    • Projects: LNG (Band 2)
    • Projects: Oil & Gas (Band 2)
    • Projects: Power (Band 2)
    • Projects: Power & Renewables: Transactional (Band 2)
    • Projects: PPP (Band 2)
    • SPACs (Band 1)
    • Tax: Controversy (Band 4)
    • Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 5)
    • Technology (Band 4)
    • Transportation: Aviation: Finance (Band 3)