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UK City Firms

White & Case

Our view..

White & Case’s London office is one of the most venerable in the City, having been around since 1971. So it's safe to say that it looks set, along with competitors Shearman & Sterling and Weil Gotshal, to be here for good. After a decade of rapid expansion, the firm now employs over 380 lawyers in the UK. No small fish, this one. Internationally, too, W&C is in the top ten of US firms - and near the top half of that.

And its lawyers are extremely well paid. The first seat trainee salary is among the highest in the City at £46k, and flies up to £105k at NQ level. Add to this top quality international work, a bonus that kicks in once associates beat their target of 1,750 chargeable hours and a guaranteed overseas seat for trainees and it looks like a cracking deal.

Inevitably it’s not all beer and skittles: in the recession years up to 2011 the firm culled 15% – 20% of its global partnership together with some 200 associates and 200 support staff. But insiders gave the London office points for having been “very transparent about what’s going on” and noted that it had been "handled pretty well". Not that that's much comfort to those who lost their jobs. Nevertheless, things have since picked up for the firm. The partners enjoyed a 15% increase in PEP for the 2011/12 period, to $1.7m, a further 10% rise in 2012/13,  to $1.9m, another 7% in 2014/15, to $2m and in 2016 rose 1.5% to $2.05m

The firm's had a generally very respectable run of trainee retention rates, too: 100% of Spring 2014 qualifiers, 86% of Autumn 2014 qualifiers, 100% of Spring 2015 qualifiers, all 14 trainees qualifying in Autumn 2015,  87% (13/15) of Spring 2016 trainees and, slightly less vintage, 75% (15/20) of trainees qualifying in Autumn 2016.

The workload is tough - we're told that in certain departments you can  "say goodbye to making plans and being able to commit to them". But they’re not universally brutal (given the dough), there are "approchable and friendly" partners.Contrary to the usual myths, says one lawyer, "one is not working, on average, more than at any of the dark satanic mills that comprise the Magic Circle". Although apparently "the political divisions within the firm make the middle east look cohesive".

The office is described as having a "really relaxed atmosphere" even if the IT support is "a bit shonky". The firm makes a big play of taking diversity very seriously – even if it's still “not an easy place to be a senior lawyer and a woman”, it is apparently "so diverse that it's difficult to find an English person in some departments".

The Broad Street offices are very swish (albeit with extremely slow and "unpredictable" lifts and a canteen which scored 1/5 for hygiene a few years ago (since rectified and up to 5/5)). There are plenty of opportunities for extra-curricular drinking and historically some of the best biscuits in the City: "the cookies have had a revamp - they are bigger and more chocolately!"

The firm scored very well in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2016 survey, with staff handing it 72% overall and a superlative 83% for pay.  In 2017 it did well too, and in 2018 it scored 74% overall - very decent indeed.

For more information on White & Case click here.

For more information on White & Case click here


Salary (1st seat trainee): £46,000
Salary (NQ): £105,000
Salary (1PQE): £110,000
Salary (2PQE): £120,000
Salary (3PQE): £138,000
Salary (Salaried partner):

Bonus Scheme

Bonus scheme: Yes
Typical bonus as % of salary
- NQ: %
- 1PQE: %
- 2PQE: %
- 3PQE: %
- 4PQE: %
- 5PQE: %
- Partner: %


Grant for GDL:
Grant for LPC:
Training places per year: 28
% of trainees retained: 100%

RollOnFriday Firm of the Year Scores

Salary: 83%
Development: 70%
Work/Life: 53%
Openness: 68%
Biscuits: 81%
Toilets: 72%
Social: 65%
Firm of the year overall score: 72%


Holiday allowance: 25 days
Flexi holiday: Yes
Pension: 1:1 basis up to 5% of salary
Healthcare: Yes
Maternity policy: 100% of salary for 6 months, 50% of salary for a further 14 weeks.
Target hours: 1750
Childcare vouchers: Yes
Gym: Each employee gets a gym heath account which the firm credits with £500 - which can be used for health related purposes such a gym, fitness classes, yoga, massage etc.
Restaurant: Yes, subsidised
24 hour photocopying support: Yes
24 hour secretarial support: Yes
Other: Private medical insurance, dental insurance, cash plan, life assurance, group income protection, critical illness insurance, travel insurance, retail vouchers, season ticket loan, green bikes, GP services, health screening, carbon offset, learning account, skin cancer screening, EAP, GAYE, best doctors.


News Stories

White & Case fined record £300,000 by SDT for “acting recklessly”
Disastrous conflict of interest also lands partner with personal £50k penalty ... read more >
NQ pay war hots up as White & Case matches Shearman at £105k
Here we go ... read more > (6 comments)
White & Case retains 88% of trainees
And gives sanctuary to two KWM trainees ... read more >
Future White & Case trainee flew to US for Trump love
She really really loves Donald Trump ... read more > (26 comments)
Exclusive: White & Case partner breaks up bar brawl
Top chap ... read more > (4 comments)
Exclusive: Enraged cleaners picket White & Case
Pedestrians told to email firm ... read more > (5 comments)
Exclusive: White & Case partner indicted over bum fun comments
Claims it was only banter ... read more >
Exclusive: White & Case ditches ULaw for BPP
Latest of many to swap sides ... read more >
Exclusive: White & Case partner in court on harassment charge
That makes me a saaaaad panda ... read more > (1 comment)
Russia sanctions hit A&O, White & Case, Linklaters and more
Putin it to them ... read more > (9 comments)

Your Views

Feel free to enter your comments on the news story below, subject to our terms and conditions. Please note that comments are subject to moderation and so will not appear immediately.

Please keep it nice. Thanks.

03/08/2011 12:47
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I have never heard of this firm before. It seems really good. The salary is very competitive and the incentives are great.

Definitely something to consider.
anonymous user
03/02/2012 16:11
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Salary rates are incorrect. NQs start on 70,000, not 72,000
anonymous user
18/07/2012 16:16
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NQ retention is never honest, they chuck the excess people in random departments to bump the retention rates, but they almost always leave within 6 months.
anonymous user
10/12/2012 04:19
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What about the bonuses? Is it true they never pay any bonuses to junior associates?
anonymous user
20/01/2014 00:00
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Brutal hours.
anonymous user
28/08/2015 13:34
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The worst culture of anywhere I have ever worked. And I once spent a summer working at Wimpy.