Around the world, 2016 ushered in political and economic uncertainty. With nationalism on the rise, globalism and many of the principles it represents came under attack. White & Case, our clients and other global businesses face new complexities as we seek to grow and to play a constructive role in society.
In 2016, we helped our clients navigate this uncertainty, advising them on complex, cross-border matters in more than 150 countries. The global nature of our business was apparent in our number one rankings for global M&A by deal value in 2016 and as the world’s top international arbitration practice for the second year in a row.
Our strategy to grow in the United States and London was bolstered by 21 new lateral partners and 16 partner promotions in these markets. We opened in Boston and continued our global expansion, with new offices in Cairo and Melbourne.
We maintained our commitment to multiculturalism and diversity. The range of backgrounds and views of our people is a source of strength, for our Firm and our clients. Our track record on diversity was evidenced by our third consecutive number one ranking in The American Lawyer’s 2016 Diversity Scorecard.
Our people continued to make a difference around the world through volunteer and pro bono work. Whether they were fighting for the rights of children affected by lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan or building a global database of laws on genocide prevention, our lawyers contributed 94,000 hours to pro bono matters in 2016.
The future is hard to predict. But one thing is clear—we will hold our course as a truly global law firm, working together to deliver our best work for our clients, ensuring our workplace is diverse and inclusive, and making a positive impact in the communities where we live and work.
— Hugh Verrier
MAPPING the FUTURE
Conventional approaches stall in the face of global
uncertainty. Here, speakers from White & Case’s
2016 events—all leaders in their fields—offer their
insights on navigating the road ahead.
A rising populist backlash against globalization took many forms in 2016, posing a threat to large multinational corporations, financial institutions and exporting businesses in advanced economies. But the backlash can be contained with appropriate public policies that will maintain open markets and technological innovation, says global economist Nouriel Roubini, CEO of Roubini Macro Associates and Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University.
The world has entered a new era of uncertainty, and commentators have cast a negative eye on what 2017 portends. But, as Barbara Ann Cassani, CBE, points out, uncertainty has always been with us. She urges companies to assess their situations, plan for contingencies and look for opportunities in 2017 amidst the lack of clarity. Cassani is an American businesswoman. She was the founder under British Airways of budget airline Go Fly and was the first leader of London’s bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Women are making great progress worldwide—in 2016 they occupied leadership positions in countries from Germany to Chile and led global businesses such as General Motors and Yahoo. But huge steps are still needed to erase gender pay disparities and fully integrate women into leadership roles. Katty Kay examines the value of promoting women and overcoming a gender “confidence chasm.” Kay is an English journalist and lead News Presenter of BBC World News America. She was previously the BBC News Washington, DC Correspondent from 2002 until 2011.
New technology continuously redraws the legal
and regulatory landscape, churning up unanticipated
challenges—and presenting new opportunities.
Regulatory technology—regtech—promises to cure financial institutions’ runaway compliance costs. As with any experimental cure, hopes are high, but institutions must take care not to kill the patient.
Organizations face a 2018 deadline for bringing their business operations into compliance with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation—a tight timeline for a deceptively challenging task.
Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) moved further into mainstream consciousness in 2016 with the increased use of drones and the advancement of self-driving cars. Promising new investment opportunities await.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
M&A activity calmed in the first half of 2016,
returning the market to more sustainable
and familiar activity levels. Now, transformative
opportunities are emerging.
BANKING & CAPITAL MARKETS
Banking and capital markets are retraining
their aim on a target still shifting from
regulatory upheaval, recessionary aftershock
and investor caution.
As disputes increase in complexity and reach
worldwide, resolving them successfully
requires new approaches and greater
US class action lawsuits continue to be a significant litigation risk for both US-based and international companies, whether the claims involve securities, antitrust, consumer or labor laws.
Brexit, new rules governing access to EU markets and a new US president promising major trade policy changes may generate new opportunities for importers and exporters—and new challenges for cross-border trading.
Energy innovations such as new storage
technologies demand fresh thinking for product
designs, while shifting markets divert investors into
new investment vehicles and strategies.
WHITE & CASE at a GLANCE
In 2016, we strengthened our
global reach, added key talent and increased
our diversity, positioning White & Case to help
global clients achieve their goals.