Professional Advice about International Legal Careers

International Law Society – The University of Arizona

John Vetterli – Partner, White & Case LLP


Mr. Vetterli is a partner in the New York and São Paulo offices of White & Case LLP. His practice focuses on foreign and domestic capital markets and securities offerings. He concentrates on Latin America and represents issuers, underwriters, and other parties to offerings and investments (for a list of his representative work see Mr. Vetterli speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish.

His career started in Los Angeles, where, after graduating from USC law, he began working at Carlsmith Ball, LLP. Mr. Vetterli took the job because at the time the firm had an active presence in Mexico City, providing opportunities to participate in cross-border transactional work involving Latin America.

Within a year, Mr. Vetterli became aware that Brown & Wood LLP, an established Wall Street firm, was looking for associates with foreign language skills. Even though the job would require a cross-country move and taking the New York bar exam, he jumped at the chance at a practice focused more broadly on Latin America. Brown & Wood eventually merged with Sidley & Austin, where he continued to develop as an associate focused on equity and debt capital markets transactions involving Latin American issuers.  Subsequently, he joined White & Case LLP, attracted by the firm’s long-standing commitment to the Latin American region, including its renowned Brazil practice, which features an established office in São Paulo.  Mr. Vetterli has been a partner at White & Case since 2007.

To law students wanting to work in Latin American capital markets and other cross-border transactions, Mr. Vetterli advises that they (1) develop and maintain Spanish and/or Portuguese language skills, (2) make their desire to practice internationally known to colleagues and potential employers, and (3) be ready to relocate – on a permanent basis.  Concerning relocation, Mr. Vetterli explained that firms are conscious of the levels of commitment that candidates may have to relocate long-term to a location where they do not otherwise have roots.  Candidates have the burden of making the potential employer comfortable that they are truly interested and committed to working and living long-term in a city (or country) far from what may be considered “home.”

When asked what he looks for in incoming associates, Mr. Vetterli insists that, though academic achievement and prior experience are important to White & Case, personality can often be the deciding factor. A question regularly asked during recruiting decisions is: “Would I want this person on my team if we had to stay up all night to get a document out?”


Interview taken Oct. 4, 2013.

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This entry was posted on October 22, 2013 by .
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