Founded 112 years ago, White & Case has grown from its New
York beginnings to become a truly global law firm that is uniquely
positioned to advise its clients in today's G20 world. White &
Case's recent history has seen fundamental changes-from expansion
in emerging markets to its leadership-remaking the firm's identity
while remaining a go-to firm for international matters with strong
institutional ties to America's corporate elite.
Break the Piggy Bank
Using their own savings accounts, Justin DuPratt White and George
B. Case opened their eponymous firm in downtown Manhattan in 1901,
profiting quickly thanks to their relationship with Henry P.
Davison, a prominent financier who became a senior partner at JP
Morgan & Company. Thus, White & Case's first clients were
entities that had been formed or financed by JP Morgan. White &
Case also advised White's alma mater, Cornell University.
During World War I the firm advised JP Morgan on its deal 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-the beginning
of the firm's international expansion that continues today.
Collecting Passport Stamps
This international bent has given the firm a reputation as one of
BigLaw's big boppers in global M&A, finance, antitrust,
arbitration and financial restructuring and insolvency. White &
Case had its gaze fixed on emerging markets long before most of its
peers could even find Almaty on a map.
In modern times, White & Case has established itself in 39
offices in over two dozen countries, developing serious expertise
in cross-border and multijurisdictional cases and transactions. Jim
Hurlock, who led the firm from 1980 to 2000, succeeded in his vow
to make White & Case a truly global firm, building a network of
offices that were locally staffed and well-connected to both local
and multinational clients including foreign investors, sovereign
wealth funds and foreign governments and government agencies.
After the Iron Curtain fell, White & Case attorneys began to
serve as advisors to several newly-independent governments as they
ushered in an era of privatization in Eastern Europe.
Partner Duane Wall led the firm through much of the 2000s,
supervising growth worldwide, particularly in Asia. Hugh Verrier
was elected Chair of the firm in 2007 after serving on the
management board and leading the Moscow office. Reelected in 2011,
he leads a new system of governance: a nine-member partnership
committee with members elected by partners to four-year terms and a
four-member executive committee. The firm also organized its global
office network into regional sections.
With 34 of its 39 offices overseas, White & Case is a
pioneer of the international law firm model. Its cross border
expertise and diverse team of local, U.S. and English qualified
lawyers enables it to continue its growth in work for some of the
world's most respected and well-established banks and businesses,
as well as start-up visionaries. And the recent establishment of a
global pro bono practice, one of the few in the world, underscores
its commitment to human rights and social justice worldwide.
IN THE NEWS
Active in Africa
With many African economies growing rapidly, White & Case
worked on numerous deals on the continent, including representing
international and Nigerian lenders in the US$1.2 billion financing
of Africa's largest fertilizer bank, advising China Development
Bank Corporation on US$1.2 billion of acquisition financing to
Sierra Leone's largest iron mine operator and guiding the Republic
of Zambia on its debut US$750 million Rule 144A/Regulation S
sovereign bond offering.
One M&A Transaction: 16 Firm Offices, 21
Jurisdictions, 123 Firm Lawyers
White & Case's Tokyo office led the firm's representation of
Japanese industrial group IHI, as deal counsel, in acquiring
Swiss-headquartered Ionbond group. The transaction required
approval from U.S., French and German regulatory authorities, and
involved 21 jurisdictions in Europe, North America and Asia and 123
of the firm's lawyers in 16 firm offices.
Worldwide Work for Sovereigns
White & Case represented more than 50 sovereigns worldwide in
the past year, including Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil
Aviation (and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member
of the World Bank Group) in the US$1.2 billion financing of the
expansion and renovation of Prince Mohammad Bin Adbulaziz
International Airport in the Holy City of Madinah; Germany's
Federal Ministry of Finance on its €1.571 billion privatization of
real estate, Germany's largest 2012 real estate transaction; and
the State of Qatar in its US$4 billion sukuk bond issuance, the
largest-ever U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk issuance.
Making an Impact on Impact Investing
White & Case has been instrumental in the development of social
stock exchanges, which have the potential to transform the capital
markets for social enterprises. The firm has represented on a pro
bono basis the advisory firm Nexii, which launched the iX, the
world's first publicly regulated social stock exchange. White &
Case guided Nexii through the legal issues relating to the issuance
and listing of securities on the iX by companies from multiple
jurisdictions and created template documents for social
entrepreneurs wishing to list debt and equity on it.
The $2.7 Billion Difference
White & Case represented international manufacturer Toshiba in
a U.S. private antitrust civil class action jury trial involving
LCD industry price-fixing allegations and alleging treble damages
of US$2.7 billion-2012's largest antitrust class action trial and
the first U.S. antitrust class action jury trial involving the
extraterritorial application of the Sherman Act to (alleged)
foreign anticompetitive conduct. Toshiba was the sole trial
defendant. The case upended conventional wisdom that the "Last Man
Standing" pays the most damages. The jury awarded the class
plaintiffs no recoverable damages.
A High Price for the Dodgers
White & Case represented Major League Baseball (MLB) in the Los
Angeles Dodgers chapter 11 cases. The firm helped MLB protect its
valuable economic interests by successfully opposing the Dodgers'
initial financing proposal and obtaining an order requiring the
Dodgers to borrow funds on more favorable terms from MLB. With the
firm's assistance, MLB reached a mediated settlement with Dodgers'
owner Frank McCourt under which he agreed to sell the Dodgers
through an MLB-supported chapter 11 sale process. Result: the
Dodgers and certain related assets were sold for $2.15 billion-the
highest price paid for any major league sports team.