35 Under 35: Louise Mor, Partner, Asset Finance, White & Case

Mor_LouiseBy Melissa J. Anderson (New York City)

Louise Mor, a new partner at the global law firm White & Case, is building a career in asset finance law. She has built a store of expertise in the global financing of aircraft and trains. And now, at just 34, Mor has recently been named a partner at the firm.

She advised young women in law to get involved as much as possible at the office. “Not only doing your work, but get exposed to other people. Try to get involved in wider things, like pro-bono work and marketing initiatives. It’s a great way to get people to know you – to know your face. Get your face out there all the time.”

Beginning A Career in Asset Finance Law

“I grew up in a small village in East England and graduated from the University of Leeds in 1995 with a law degree. From there, I worked for Clifford Chance for about 5 years before going to White & Case.”

“I honestly didn’t know anything about Asset Finance starting out,” she said. “But the first deal I worked on from start to finish was a really high profile deal in asset finance.” And from there, she was hooked, and moved into the Asset Finance team. “It’s very tangible,” she said. “As a trainee, it was very easy to understand what you were doing.”

She continued, “In three or four months, I’ll be joining the Paris office to expand the Asset Finance practice’s work there.”

Mor said she is particularly interested in monitoring changes to the practice of law that have arisen in the past few years. For example, she said, “There has recently been a case in England which has changed the way we are approaching asset finance closings, and it is interesting to get a handle on that,” she said. “It keeps it challenging when things aren’t static.”

Advice for Young Women in Law

“There’s a real perception in City firms that you need to be there all day every day,” Mor said. “You don’t always have to be there at 3 am, but people think that you do. I haven’t found the ‘face time’ culture at White & Case, and that’s good for everyone, particularly women.”

She continued, “There’s also a natural reluctance in women to push forward and be seen as the loudest one in the room. But it’s something all women need to be aware of. Speaking up is a good thing – even if it doesn’t necessarily come naturally.”

“I think a good work/life balance is possible, but quite often you have to carve it out for yourself. If you wanted to work 24-7 you could – there’s certainly enough work out there! But you have to take time out or you’re going to burn out – and that’s no good for you or the firm,” she said. Mor advised women to keep a long-term view when considering work/life balance. “It’s easier to get through the crazy times if you know that in four to five weeks your workload will be lower,” she explained. “You have to use the natural peaks and troughs of the workflow.”

She continued, “Be alert to opportunities. When I was asked to go on secondment to a client, I wasn’t sure about it at first. But it turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened. I was with the client during a key period in their business – they were being sold – and it enabled me to see a new side to the practice of law, which was really helpful.”

And, she said, it was helpful for the firm. “The secondment also strengthened our relationship with the client.”

“Even though you might not have planned to go in a certain direction, unexpected opportunities can spin out in ways you didn’t anticipate. The product is that you can develop your career much faster,” she added. “And helping the client through a turbulent time and building strong relationships with the team there was a success I’m really proud of.”

Mor says her best advice is not only to ask questions, but to “find someone you feel comfortable asking questions of. Seek out a mentor, whether formal or informal, who you can bounce ideas off. It’s reassuring to have someone to turn to if you’re not sure how to approach something. As a trainee I thought the partners knew everything, but after a while I realized you never stop learning in this job!”