Alumni program leadership
The White & Case alumni program was started in 2009 by partner Michael Shenberg. After successfully establishing the program and directing its growth and impact for the past six years, Michael is stepping down as the Chair of the Firm's Global Alumni Committee and is passing the baton to fellow partner John Vetterli. The Firm thanks Michael Shenberg for his long and dedicated service.
Although Michael is stepping down, we look forward to his continued involvement in this important Firm initiative, just as we look forward to John's leadership as the new Chair. According to John, "Our alumni are a highly accomplished group and an integral part of the global White & Case community. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to build on Michael’s great work and to further strengthen the Firm's ties with our former colleagues."
Global alumni events
We've held a variety of alumni events in 2015, in such diverse places as Buenos Aires, Frankfurt, Lima, New York, Prague, Santiago and Stockholm. We have included a few photos of these fun events below. We hope you will be able to join us in future events in 2016 and beyond!
Working for the biggest baseball club in the world
If you like sports, and you're a lawyer, few jobs could be better than working in-house for a major sports club. Former White & Case associate turned Counsel for the New York Yankees, Joe Collins, is among the lucky few who could be forgiven for thinking they have hit the jackpot—but he is careful to keep his feet on the ground.
"I do feel very lucky to be working for the Yankees," says Joe, a 37-year-old New Yorker. "I've loved baseball all my life. To be working for the biggest baseball club in the world is a privilege that I don't take for granted."
Prior to joining White & Case, Joe worked in the UK at another firm. "I was working in London and crossing paths with many savvy White & Case lawyers on high yield and leveraged loan deals," he recalls. After returning to the United States, "an opportunity arose to work for the Firm in New York, and I jumped at it." Joe joined our finance practice in 2010 and has fond memories of his time working on Sixth Avenue: "I can't stress enough how great everyone was. I worked for brilliant partners and with exceptional associates and support staff. Everyone was willing to pitch in to get the deals done. We all logged long hours, but it was a superb working environment. I really loved my time at the Firm."
Before entering the legal profession, Joe completed an internship with the Yankees—and this led to fate knocking on his door with an offer he felt unable to refuse. "The legal team at the club knew me and found themselves short-handed in spring 2011. They approached me and asked if I'd like to join them. If it hadn't been for this, I would not have even considered leaving the Firm after such a short time. But being a passionate Yankees fan persuaded me to take the plunge. I was thrilled to get the job but even more delighted by how supportive everyone at the Firm was about the move."
Since joining the Yankees in May 2011, Joe has found that his daily legal fare is broader than the specialized finance work he dealt with at the Firm. "I'm involved in a broad cross-section of matters, working on everything from labor and employment, sponsorship and ticketing issues to helping Major League Baseball protect the Yankees' intellectual property and finalizing contracts for the many different ventures and events with which the club is involved." These include the Yankees' diversification into soccer—English giants Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have visited and played friendlies at Yankee Stadium. Moreover, the Yankees and Manchester City have stakes in New York City FC, the Major League Soccer franchise for which former England international Frank Lampard plays. This development is welcomed by Joe: "While I was working in England, I really got into the Premier League and ended up living near Arsenal's ground in North London. I went to as many matches as I could and still support Arsenal. I also play recreational soccer once a week. It's up there with baseball as my favorite sport."
Joe used to play a lot of baseball, too, but says that the twin demands of work and family life—he has two young daughters, Avery, three, and Caroline, six months, with his wife Whitney—mean that this has been commuted to softball. "But watching the girls learn ballet and take swimming lessons is much more fun," he says.
Another difference from his previous life at the Firm is in the size of the legal team. Heading up the Yankees' legal staff are Lonn Trost, COO and General Counsel, with Alan Chang working as Deputy General Counsel. Joe works as Counsel, and the team has recently been bolstered by the arrival of a fourth member, Mark Bienstock, also working as Counsel. "It's a smaller team, yes, but our work is ever-expanding," says Joe. "Even though we didn't advance far into the postseason, it's still a very exciting time to be at the Yankees."
You get the feeling that any time working for the Yankees would be exciting for Joe, not least given his routine on weekend game days: "It's not too bad. I like to get to the stadium before the crowds, catch up with Arsenal on the TV in my office while I finish some work, and then watch our game."
Before we leave Joe to his good fortune, we note two things: One, his grandfather was Joe Collins, originally of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who not only spent his entire career in the Bronx but also won the World Series six times with the Yankees in the 1940s and 1950s, and two, he credits the Firm with instilling "a deep and abiding work ethic and attention to detail." The two things might well be connected.
White & Case ranked first in diversity
The Firm tops The American Lawyer's annual Diversity Scorecard of large US law firms.
White & Case has been named the most diverse large firm in the United States by The American Lawyer's 2015 Diversity Scorecard.
This is the second year running that the Firm has achieved the number one spot in the ranking, which is based on a survey of the largest law firms in the United States. Out of our 563 lawyers in the United States, 28.2 percent are members of minority groups, up from 27.5 percent in 2013. We also had the highest share of minority partners, at 24.1 percent, up from 21.8 percent last year, and the third-highest share of minority equity partners at 18.3 percent.
Source of strength
Raoul Cantero, partner in Miami and chair of the Firm's Global Diversity Committee, says: "Diversity is a Firm priority. It not only enriches us collectively but enables us to be a law firm of choice for our people and clients around the world. It is a source of our strength. We are committed to recruiting, developing and advancing people of diverse backgrounds who will strengthen our business and our work across practices and regions."
The Diversity Scorecard tallies the number of Black or African-American, Asian-American, Latino or Hispanic and self-described multiracial attorneys at Am Law 200 and National Law Journal 250 law firms employing 154 lawyers or more.
Each firm is ranked by adding the percentage of minority lawyers in its US offices to the percentage of US-based minority partners. Nationwide, of the firms surveyed in the 2015 Scorecard, Asian and Asian-American lawyers made up 6.4 percent of lawyers and 2.8 percent of partners. Across the United States, Latinos or Hispanics made up 3.2 percent of lawyers and 2.4 percent of partners in the survey; Black or African-American lawyers made up 3 percent of the total and 1.8 percent of partners; and multiracial lawyers made up 1.7 percent of the total.
Attracting the best
By comparison, 12.8 percent of our lawyers are Asian;7.8 percent are Latino; 5.2 percent describe themselves as multiracial for the survey; and 2.5 percent are Black or African-American.
While we topped this year’s Scorecard, there is still more that we can do to ensure we attract and retain the most talented people from as broad a section of the population as possible.
The Firm's global Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Maja Hazell, adds, "As a truly global law firm, we are driven to invest in people of diverse backgrounds. With men and women of 93 nationalities, who speak 79 languages, our diversity is essential to our identity and a source of strength for us in attracting and retaining top talent."
In March 1902, the Firm hired 16-year-old Joe Bennett as an "office boy", who "reported for work in short trousers, at a salary of US$3 per week", according to the 50th anniversary history of the Firm. Joe went on to become the Firm's bookkeeper, then its managing clerk. He attended night school and gained admission to the bar in 1908, at which point he continued with the Firm as an associate. He was made partner in 1917 and went on to become one of the Firm's most respected lawyers, heading its management committee in the early 1940s. He remained an active partner until his death in 1954.
60 seconds with John Vetterli, Partner
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Pasadena, California, and lived there for much of my childhood. My family looked forward to the Rose Parade every year. Later we relocated to Provo, Utah, where I learned to look forward to skiing instead.
What was your first job?
My first job was a summer job consisting of washing cars and trucks at my grandfather’s Ford dealership in Arizona.
What first brought you to White & Case?
I was attracted to the Firm’s unparalleled Latin American platform.
Describe your role at White & Case
I am a partner in the Americas Capital Markets section, based in New York, focusing on debt and equity capital markets deals. I work primarily on deals involving Latin American issuers.
I have recently become the Chair of the Firm's global alumni committee and I look forward to connecting with as many of you as I can in the role.
Tell us two things about yourself
I came as a lateral to White & Case in 2004 from another firm that had, years earlier, announced a merger with White & Case. That merger fell through, but I suppose I was destined to come to the Firm anyway.
I had the opportunity to be based for three-and-a-half years in our São Paulo office and returned to New York in 2013.
Firm leads on three healthcare M&A megadeals
We are representing Anthem, Inc., one of the largest US health benefits companies, in its transformative US$54.2 billion agreement to acquire Cigna Corporation. The combination will create a premier health benefits company with critical diversification and scale to lead the transformation of healthcare delivery for consumers. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2016. It represents the largest deal White & Case has ever done acting for a principal. Partners Daniel Dufner Jr. and John Reiss lead the White & Case team.
In 2015, we also advised Omnicare, Inc., which provides a broad array of pharmacy-related services to long-term care facilities and to other customers in the healthcare environment, on its US$12.9 billion sale to CVS Health Corp.
In addition, we advised Zimmer Holdings, Inc., a world leader in musculoskeletal health solutions, on its US$14 billion acquisition of Biomet, Inc., one of the world's leading medical device manufacturers. Partners Morton A. Pierce and Chang-Do Gong led the White & Case teams in both the Omnicare and Zimmer acquisitions.
Victory for innovation in first-in-kind "product hopping" case
In a case with massive implications for innovation not only in pharmaceuticals, but in all industries, we won the first-ever victory on a full evidentiary record in a "product hopping" litigation for pharmaceutical giant Warner Chilcott/Actavis regarding its DORYX® acne medication. Generic drug-maker Mylan Pharmaceuticals claimed that Warner Chilcott/Actavis violated antitrust laws by reformulating DORYX® in an anti-generic strategy of "product hopping" or "product switching," solely to delay and impede generic competition for DORYX®. A US federal court disagreed, holding that allowing antitrust litigation by generics when brand drugs are reformulated will stifle innovation.
The future of healthcare is here
Digital health, the convergence of life sciences and technology, is transforming medicine and revolutionizing global markets.
Digital health could soon process information from thousands of individuals, thus improving patient outcomes. It could lead to lower healthcare costs and provide high-quality healthcare for people living even in distant areas through remote monitoring and "mHealth" (healthcare delivered using mobile devices). It is also a vast sector that is expanding at a breathtaking pace.
Clients had begun asking us about the seemingly limitless opportunities and uncertainties in this new frontier.
In response, we commissioned Mergermarket to conduct a survey to help us and our clients better understand the emerging sector of digital health. Mergermarket collected anonymized telephone responses from 120 US-based senior-level executives who were responsible for their company’s digital health strategies at both technology and life sciences companies.
We then compiled these results in our new report, "The cutting edge: Shaping the future of digital healthcare."
Not surprisingly, interest in digital health is overwhelming. 93 percent of survey respondents told us that digital health plays a key role in their overall business strategy. In fact, 92 percent of life sciences companies and 96 percent of technology companies said they plan to increase their investment in digital health over the next 18 months.
However, there were some notable differences. For example, 62 percent of technology companies said they have a well-developed digital health strategy, compared to 37 percent of life sciences companies.
Success in digital health will likely require collaboration between the life sciences and technology sectors, but these innovative partnerships may not be easy to establish. Roughly half of our survey respondents believe the best route for entering and succeeding in digital healthcare is by partnering or joint ventures between technology and life sciences companies. Still, 85 percent of life sciences and 82 percent of technology companies worry their business cultures are "incompatible" (although most of our lawyers believe the perceived "culture clash" is something that major players in both sectors can overcome).
Survey respondents also described strategic, operational and legal challenges they face, and explained how data privacy and intellectual property issues sow confusion and present potential barriers to growth in digital health.
Nonetheless, consistent with the spirit of innovation in this field, 90 percent of technology companies and 82 percent of life sciences companies said they would be likely or very likely to continue their digital health strategy, even if they knew they might not receive full patent rights in the United States and other developed markets.
Pro Bono Corner
University of Sydney wins White & Case Jessup Cup
Thousands worldwide follow Jessup International Rounds on social media and Final Round livestream
It's the world's largest moot court competition, and this year’s White & Case Jessup International Rounds had 125 teams from 85 jurisdictions competing for the title of world champion.
A team from the University of Sydney emerged triumphant after a closely fought contest against Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Two International Court of Justice (ICJ) judges were on the bench for the Final—Sir Kenneth Keith of New Zealand, and Judge Joan Donoghue of the United States, as well as Professor Harold Koh, Professor of International Law at Yale University and former legal advisor to the US Department of State. Dame Rosalyn Higgins, judge and former President of the ICJ, judged a semi-final round.
This year, the Firm's social media channels on Facebook and Twitter provided live updates, results and photos to more than 6,500 followers and, during the week, our reach extended as high as 20,000 viewers. The Firm livestreamed the Final Round, allowing friends and family around the world to watch the oral arguments. More than 1,700 people from 74 countries joined the live stream, including more than 800 from Chile.
The Jessup Competition gives students the opportunity to represent fictional states in a hypothetical case before the ICJ. It raises students’ aspirations, gives them invaluable experience of making legal arguments on a world stage, and creates lasting connections between the participants, many of whom go on to senior roles in law and government. Currently, for example, Singapore's Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Attorney General, Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the country’s largest law firm are all Jessup alumni.
Ian Forrester, White & Case's former Global Pro Bono Practice Leader, who also judged the semi-finals at the International Rounds, says: "It is not an exaggeration to say that many participants find the Jessup life-changing. In the last rounds, the quality of advocacy is very high, higher than routinely seen in most international courts. I am proud of our association with an excellent event which helps to form the new generation of international lawyers."
This year's Compromis pitched two states against each other in a complex dispute involving state secession and annexation, as well as issues surrounding foreign pharmaceutical companies' interest in a mineral salt and traditional medicine.
The Compromis is released in September by the competition's administrators, the International Law Students Association (ILSA). Teams submit written briefs, called memorials, in January, then go on to compete in national or regional qualifying rounds. The top teams from these qualifying rounds then advance to represent their countries in the White & Case International Rounds.
In addition to sponsoring the International Rounds, White & Case was also involved with Jessup qualifying rounds in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Hong Kong, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the US Mid-Atlantic Regional and the European Friendly held in Budapest. The Firm also sponsored Jessup teams from Hungary and Palestine.
New Lateral Partners
Mergers & Acquisitions, Silicon Valley
Banking, New York
International Trade and Mergers & Acquisitions, Washington, DC
White Collar, London
Mergers & Acquisitions, Stockholm
Intellectual Property, New York
Capital Markets, Dubai
Intellectual Property, New York
Banking, Washington, DC
Anne Véronique Schlaepfer
International Arbitration, Geneva
Financial Restructuring and Insolvency, London
A new office in Seoul
The opening of a new office in South Korea will strengthen and expand White & Case's practice in Asia.
White & Case has opened an office in Seoul to provide on-the-ground support for new and existing clients. The Firm has had a Korea practice for more than 20 years and this move will enable it to provide local help, with UK and US law capabilities, for both Korean clients and those investing in the country.
The office will be headed by James K. Lee, who leads the Korea practice group and is relocating to Seoul from Los Angeles. James specializes in complex cross-border commercial litigation and has been working with Korean clients for more than 15 years.
"Having an office in Korea reinforces our commitment to our corporate and state-owned enterprise clients," James says. "We look forward to supporting their needs and helping them to achieve their international ambitions through our network of offices globally, as well as our team of lawyers in Seoul."
James is joined by Mark Goodrich, a construction practice group partner in London who will be transferring to Seoul, and Kyungseok Kim, who recently joined the Firm as a partner in the global Mergers & Acquisitions practice.
The new office will enable White & Case to provide better support to existing project finance clients in Korea, such as the Export-Import Bank of Korea and the Korea Trade Insurance Corp. It will also enhance the Firm's initiatives to source further business opportunities on Korea-related mergers and acquisitions, commercial litigation and international arbitration.
"White & Case has a track record of advising clients on their complex cross-border matters, and we would like to continue to extend this service to businesses in Korea," James says. "Korea is home to some of the world’s most dynamic organizations, and we’re excited to be opening an office in Seoul."
One of the key sectors for the Firm is infrastructure. Korean policy banks and export credit agencies, along with power and construction companies, are active in energy and infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East.
The opening of the Seoul office is the Firm's seventh location in Asia, in addition to Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta, Shanghai and Tokyo.
White & Case joins more than two dozen international firms that have launched in Korea since the country opened its legal market in 2012. International law firms are not yet allowed to practice Korean law or hire Korean lawyers, although UK firms will be able to do so beginning next year and US firms beginning in 2017.
Click here to download Alumni Newsletter, Winter 2015 / 2016.
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