White & Case

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White & Case
White & Case
Headquarters 1155 Sixth Avenue Manhattan, Avenue of the Americas
New York City
No. of offices 40 total
No. of attorneys 1,900 [1]
No. of employees approx. 4,800 total
Major practice areas General practice
Key people Hugh Verrier, Chairman[2]
Revenue $1.38 billion (2012) [1]
Date founded 1901
Company type Limited liability partnership
Slogan Worldwide. For our clients.
Website
whitecase.com

White & Case LLP was founded in New York in 1901 and has grown into one of the world's leading global law firms. The firm has since expanded, and has practice groups in emerging markets including Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, as well as in Europe. White & Case has 40 offices in 27 countries around the world.[3]

White & Case clients include many of the world's most respected and well-established companies, visionary start-ups, governmental organizations and state-owned entities.

Offices[edit]

As of June 2013, White & Case has 40 offices and one affiliated firm office:[4]

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

On May 1, 1901, two Wall Street lawyers, Justin DuPratt White, 31, and George B. Case, 28, contributed US$250 each to launch White & Case.

White had only apprenticed at a law firm and never attended law school. Case had graduated from Columbia Law School four years earlier. The firm benefited from the founders' relationship with J.P. Morgan & Co. financier, Henry "Harry" Davison.

Davison hired White & Case to organize Bankers Trust Company. Davison retained White & Case to represent a series of banking ventures and provide legal services to many of the companies financed by J.P. Morgan, including U.S. Steel.

During World War I, the British and French governments hired J.P. Morgan & Co. to purchase war materials in the United States on their behalf. White & Case handled the legal work, writing contracts with nearly 1,000 US suppliers. This resulted in a high volume of legal work for the firm. In recognition of the firm's efforts, the French government made DuPratt White a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

Between the wars[edit]

George Case, at the behest of Harry Davison and President Woodrow Wilson, served on the Red Cross's War Council. The firm opened an office in Paris on the Place Vendôme in 1926 to better serve the growing organization.

In 1900, White became a commissioner of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, formed to preserve the wooded cliffs along the Hudson River. Supporters of the project included Pierpont Morgan, railroad magnate Edward Harriman and John D. Rockefeller Jr. But according to The New York Times, it was White who served as "the guiding figure" in the Commission's work, handling its legal affairs free of charge for more than 30 years.

Colonel Joseph Hartfield joined the firm in 1905 and later headed the firm from the early 1950s until 1964. He was one of the first Jewish lawyers to reach the pinnacle of a major New York firm, and was renowned for his annual celebratory trips to the Kentucky Derby.

World War II and postwar growth[edit]

With World War II came new challenges for White & Case. In 1940, Paul Pennoyer, then head of the firm's Paris office, faced the daunting task of winding up the firm's business as German tanks approached the city's outskirts. When he was ordered back to New York, Pennoyer tucked in his pocket the bearer stock certificates of French cosmetics company Lanvin, allowing Lanvin to operate outside Europe throughout the war. In 1960, Pennoyer reopened the Paris office.

White & Case represented Aramco, which held the concession to develop and produce Saudi Arabia's massive oil reserves, when the company was served with a federal grand jury subpoena in an investigation of alleged worldwide oil cartels. No action against the company resulted from those grand jury proceedings, and an enduring relationship between Saudi Aramco and White & Case had begun.

In 1954, White & Case represented the sellers in the US$51.5 million sale of the Empire State Building, then one of the largest real estate transactions in New York City history.

White & Case represented Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company as the largest creditor in the 1963 "salad oil scandal," dubbed by The Wall Street Journal as "one of the biggest swindles in history." Continental Illinois had US$20 million of outstanding loans, and the case resulted in one of the largest financial settlements in history at the time, in which American Express paid its creditors US$57.9 million in cash and up to US$30 million of recoveries from insurance and other sources.

Hurlock years and global expansion[edit]

Few individuals changed the firm more than James Hurlock, who shaped the firm's global presence and structure as its head from 1980 until 2000. Hurlock was a Rhodes Scholar who spent ten of his first 16 years with White & Case in Europe.

Two early negotiations helped establish the reputation of the firm's sovereign practice, which represents a large number of nations, particularly in the former Communist and other emerging markets. During that time, Hurlock helped Indonesia reschedule more than US$10 billion of debt, mostly held by foreign banks, when state oil company Pertamina was unable to meet payments. The firm also helped Turkey reschedule debt incurred after the Turkish central bank accepted Turkish lira deposits convertible into hard western currencies.

White & Case began opening offices in business and financial centers worldwide, including Brussels in 1967; London in 1971; Washington, DC in 1978; Hong Kong in 1978; Singapore and Stockholm in 1983; Ankara and Istanbul in 1985; Los Angeles in 1986; and Miami and Tokyo in 1987.

When the Berlin Wall fell in late 1989, the firm moved quickly to open offices in Budapest, Warsaw, Moscow and Prague and was selected by the governments of Hungary, Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic to provide representation in their mass privatization programs.

In 1991, the firm opened an office in Mexico City. Helsinki (Finland) followed in 1992, Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Bangkok (Thailand) in 1993, Almaty (Kazakhstan) in 1994, Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1995, São Paulo (Brazil) in 1997 and Bratislava in 1999. In all these markets, White & Case remains one of only a small number of international law firms to have successfully established a presence.

White & Case was also one of the first law firms to spot the growing potential of the Chinese market, adding offices in Shanghai (2000) and Beijing (2004) to its Hong Kong-led Asian network.

From the beginning, foreign offices were regarded as an integral part of the firm. Jean-Luc Boussard, who joined White & Case in 1975, became the first European partner in 1982. Today, the majority of the firm's partners are based outside the United States.

Mergers and lateral recruitment also became part of the firm's strategy. In 1998, White & Case merged with Brussels' Forrester, Norall & Sutton, focusing on European Union law. The Brussels office today is a recognized leader in this area of practice.

21st century[edit]

Partner Duane Wall assumed leadership of White & Case in 2000, and presided over further expansion of the firm, especially in Europe, where the firm opened in Italy (Milan, 2001) and merged with one of Germany's largest firms, Feddersen. [5] There were initially five German offices absorbed into White & Case (Frankfurt, Berlin, Dresden, Düsseldorf and Hamburg), although the network was extended in 2006 with the addition of space in the growing technology center of Munich at the expense of the disbanding German firm, Haarmann Hemmelrath.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, White & Case was one of five firms that formed a steering group to coordinate the efforts of New York lawyers to provide free emergency legal services to victims.

In 2005, for the first time, White & Case broke through the US$1 billion revenue barrier and also became home to more than 2,000 lawyers.[citation needed]

Since 2000, the London office of White & Case has expanded considerably and now has a legal staff of more than 400. White & Case was one of the first US firms to establish a London office, in 1971, and was one of the first foreign firms to qualify when the Law Society of England and Wales changed its rules in 1993 to allow English and registered foreign lawyers to practice together in partnership. The London office offers both English and US-qualified lawyers and practices in the areas of banking and finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions M&A, project finance and dispute resolution.

On October 1, 2007, White & Case announced a new leadership team, led by chairman Hugh Verrier. Previously head of the firm's Moscow office, Verrier was elected by the partnership in August 2007. The firm's new Executive Committee, which acts as the executive decision-making body, includes Verrier and three appointed partners: Anthony Kahn, Oliver Brettle and Asli Basgoz. On September 20, 2011, Hugh Verrier was re-elected chairman of the firm for a second term. Jacquelyn MacLennan, David Koschik and Oliver Brettle were subsequently named to the firm's executive committee.[6]

2008 economic crisis[edit]

In 2008, the frozen credit markets, economic shrinkage and global downturn that began in 2008 has had a significant impact on White & Case as well as other law firms. On November 11, 2008, the firm announced that it was laying off 70 lawyers and 100 staff members at a time when job prospects for lawyers were very weak.[7] With a second round of layoffs on March 10, 2009, an additional 200 lawyers and 200 staff were laid off.[8]

Social responsibility[edit]

In 2010, White & Case created a Global Pro Bono Practice [9] which is led by Ian Forrester, QC, an EU law litigator and a partner in the firm’s Brussels office. The Global Pro Bono Practice focuses on three areas – providing access to justice, promoting the rule of law and serving the world’s leading non-governmental organizations. Recent highlights include helping an African nation develop its mental health legislation and a database of human trafficking cases in almost 150 countries compiled by nearly 200 White & Case lawyers worldwide. White & Case has also advised on five debt-for-nature swaps in Costa Rica and Indonesia since 2006, totaling US$100 million. White & Case was ranked 22nd in the 2012 American Lawyer Pro Bono rankings, up from 34th the prior year.[10] The Firm was also profiled by Law360 for its pro bono efforts.[11]

White & Case is a Global Partner and official sponsor of the White & Case International Rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, and also supports twelve national and national Jessup Competitions worldwide. With more than 2,000 law students representing 80 countries, the Jessup is the world's largest moot court competition.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: White & Case Reaps Record Return on Investments". Americanlawyer.com. 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  2. ^ "White & Case LLP - Lawyers and Advisors - Hugh Verrier". Whitecase.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  3. ^ Amon, Elizabeth (2013-03-20). "White & Case, Baker Botts, Gibson Dunn: Business of Law". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  4. ^ "White & Case LLP - A list of White & Case offices world wide. Global law firm & international practices". Whitecase.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  5. ^ "Digests | News". The Lawyer. 2000-02-21. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  6. ^ Byrne, Matt (2011-09-21). "White & Case revamps executive committee | News". The Lawyer. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  7. ^ ABA Journal On March 9, 2009, White & Case announced its plan to lay off 200 associates and 200 staff members.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "White & Case Globalizes Pro Bono". Amlawdaily.typepad.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  10. ^ "2012 Pro Bono Survey". Americanlawyer.com. 2012-06-27. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  11. ^ "Pro Bono Firm Of 2012: White & Case". Law360. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 

External links[edit]