White & Case LLP (Europe)

The Scoop

With more than a century of experience and a network of offices extending across five continents, White & Case is both a Wall Street stalwart and an international giant with institutional ties to the corporate elite around the world.

Wall Street start

As the sun rose on the 20th century, two ambitious youngsters drained their meagre savings accounts to open a small firm in downtown New York in 1901. Justin DuPratt White and George Case's investment paid off quickly, thanks largely to Henry Davidson, a fellow who believed in the duo, and-more importantly-held a key to the JP Morgan financial kingdom. Davidson was a prominent financier who became a senior partner at JP Morgan & Company.

Business stayed strong through World War I as White & Case advised JP Morgan on its deals with war materials manufacturers and suppliers to the French and British militaries. The firm's growing connection to European companies prompted it to open its first foreign office in Paris at the close of the war-the beginning of a drive for international expansion that continues today.

It's a small world after all

This Magellanic nature has reaped dividends and earned the firm a reputation as one of the top law firms in international M&A and finance, with its gaze fixed at the moment on emerging markets. In modern times, White & Case has established itself in over two dozen countries, developing serious expertise in cross-border and multijurisdictional cases and transactions through a network of offices that are locally staffed and well-connected to local and multinational clients alike. The firm has also worked for foreign investors, sovereign wealth funds, foreign governments and foreign government agencies. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, White & Case attorneys served as advisers to several newly-independent governments as they ushered in an era of privatization in Eastern Europe. Along with its financial nous, White & Case is well known for its international arbitration and litigation practices, which represent more than one-third of the firm's work.

City players

In 2011, White & Case celebrated its 40th anniversary in London, where the firm sits in the financial heart of the City. More than 300 lawyers work in London, making the office one of the firm's largest. It has also been among the most profitable, contributing to the firm's high rate of growth and financial success, thanks largely to the office's stellar banking and capital market practices. With additional focus on corporate, project finance, energy, construction, telecommunications, employment, litigation, IP and dispute resolution, the London office is known for its roster of financial and corporate clients.

Downturn, downsize, move around

Like many law firms faced with changing market conditions, White & Case scaled back its operations during the 2008-09 downturn, closing offices in Dresden and Milan, cutting lawyer and support staff positions, and putting the entire partnership under review. Since then, however, the firm has reopened its Milan office, hiring two Latham & Watkins partners for the re-launch in 2011. The firm also appointed a new three-member executive committee, including London office head Oliver Brettle, following the re-election of firm Chair Hugh Verrier in September 2011. Brettle will oversee the firm's growth in London and throughout the EMEA region and also help build the firm's 'one-firm culture', focusing on people development initiatives.

Recent News

HP buys Autonomy in record-setting deal

In August 2011, Hewlett Packard made a $11.7 billion bid to buy software company Autonomy-the largest transaction ever in the technology sector. A White & Case team led by London partners Gavin Weir and Philip Broke advised Qatalyst Partners as lead financial adviser and sole Rule 3 adviser to Autonomy on the deal. The board of directors of Autonomy Corporation, the largest software company in the UK, has recommended that the takeover offer be accepted, and the sale is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

Big pharma gets bigger

In May 2011, Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Asia, announced its purchase of Swiss pharma giant Nycomed for $13.7 billion. White & Case advised Nordic Capital, a Stockholm-based company that is part of a private equity consortium divesting themselves of their shares in Nycomed. The merger, which represents the largest acquisition to date for the Japanese drugmaker, is expected to close by the end of September.

Under the sea

Someday, gas pipelines in Russia and the European Union will be connected via a new offshore pipe system that's being built below the Baltic Sea. White & Case advised on all legal aspects of the construction contracts and financing of the project, the work of a joint venture called Nord Stream AG and a number of multinational energy sponsors. In March 2011, the firm helped close a second phase of financing, involving €2.5 billion of debt and 24 international commercial banks.

Bond. Nigerian Bond.

When the Federal Republic of Nigeria decided to launch its first international bond issue, its government turned to White & Case for advisory services. The firm has represented several African companies and governments on financings and capital markets transactions. In February 2011, the London office helped Nigeria list the 10-year bond, valued at $500 million, on the London Stock Exchange and make sales to investors in the US and elsewhere.

Trying to avoid a haircut

White & Case is currently representing a group of investors in a dispute with the Bank of Ireland over a debt-for-equity conversion proposed by the Irish Government to help spread the costs of its recapitalisation plan. White & Case's clients, a committee of bondholders including Appaloosa Management, Varde Partners, QVT Financial and Marathon Asset Management, jointly hold more than $1 billion of subordinated debt. BoI has offered to buy back the bonds at a severely discounted rate or exchange them for stock. But in a lawsuit filed in June 2011 the bondholders argue that the bank shouldn't force such losses on bondholders ahead of shareholders and say the buyback proposal runs afoul of opinions by the European Commission.

▲ Show Less▼ Show Full Description


White & Case LLP (Europe)


5 Old Broad Street
London EC2N 1DW
Phone: (0)20 7532 1000
www.whitecase.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • London executive partner: Oliver Brettle
  • Total No. Attorneys 2011: 1,800

Major Office Locations

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Shanghai, China
  • Beijing, China
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Miami, FL
  • New York, NY
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Monterrey, Mexico
  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Prague, Poland
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Bratislava, Slovak Republic
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Ankara, Turkey
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Paris, France
  • Munich, Germany
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Milan, Italy
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Almaty, Kazakhstan
▲ Show Less▼ Show All

Career Update Newsletter

Tips and tools to help you manage your ideal career.