Founded 114 years ago, White & Case has grown from its New
York beginnings to become a truly global law firm with a
longstanding presence in the markets that matter today, helping
clients work with confidence in any one market or many. 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 38
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
and in 2015, 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 33 of its 38 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. The firm's global pro bono
practice, established in 2010, is one of the few in the world, and
underscores the firm's commitment to human rights and social
IN THE NEWS
Product Hopping Claim Stopped in its
White & Case represented pharmaceutical giant Warner
Chilcott/Actavis in the Doryx® litigation, winning the first
summary judgment granted in an antitrust "product hopping" case
anywhere globally, a theory which challenges rapid innovation. The
court rejected allegations that Warner Chilcott illegally shifted
to newer versions of Doryx® to avoid generic competition. This case
is one of the first to examine if a manufacturer can freely
innovate in introducing new products. The court found that Warner
Chilcott didn't exclude competition by reformulating, introducing
and marketing new versions of Doryx®, or even by withdrawing old
versions, key issues in the increasing number of cases regarding
pharmaceutical "product hopping".
A Well Oiled Project
More than 75 lawyers from multiple White & Case offices
worldwide worked together to represent Saudi Arabian Oil Company
(Saudi Aramco) as a sponsor of the US$8 billion expansion of its
existing, world-scale petroleum refining and petrochemicals complex
in Saudi Arabia. With a total cost of US$18 billion, the combined
facilities will form one of the largest refining and petrochemical
complexes ever built. Among other things, the firm negotiated 150
sophisticated finance documents involving 30 financial
institutions-commercial banks, Islamic finance banks, public
investment banks, public investment funds and development funds and
government export-credit agencies-that are providing financing.
Painting the Town Red, White and Green
In the largest mergers and acquisition transaction in Mexico in
2014, White & Case represented Consorcio Comex and its
shareholders in the US$2.3 billion acquisition of Comex Mexico by
PPG Industries, Inc. Comex is a landmark Mexican family-owned
company dedicated to the manufacturing of paint and coatings with
over 3,600 points of sale in Mexico, operations in Mexico and
points of sale in Central America.
Reducing Debt, Saving Animals
Lawyers in White & Case's Tokyo office served as pro bono legal
counsel to Conservation International in a US$12.7 million
debt-for-nature swap. The agreement between the U.S. government,
the Indonesian government, CI and Indonesian NGO KEHAT will reduce
debt payments Indonesia owes to the United States. In return,
Indonesia will commit nearly US$12.7 million toward critically
endangered species and their associated habitats in Sumatra.
The value of having bilateral investment treaty protections was
recently highlighted by the World Bank's International Centre for
Settlement of Investment Disputes US$740.3 million arbitration
award issued in favor of our client Gold Reserve Inc., a Canadian
mining company, as a result of Venezuela's violations of the
Canada-Venezuela bilateral investment treaty. The award is one of
the largest rendered by an ICSID tribunal to date.
White & Case represented the European Investment Bank in the
issuance of the first project bond in Europe for digital
infrastructure. The project bond refinanced 11 French telecoms
concessions owned by Axione Infrastructures.