White & Case Ranked One of Most Innovative US Law Firms, Wins Three Awards in FT US Innovative Lawyers 2011 Report
White & Case was ranked among the top-15 most innovative law firms in the United States by the Financial Times in its U.S. Innovative Lawyers 2011special report. In addition, White & Case was recognized as one of the most innovative US firms in three practice areas:
White & Case earned a "Stand-Out" award – the highest recognition possible – for its work for Banco Santander SA, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Banco do Brasil in a US$1.5 billion notes offering by Oderbrecht Oil and Gas to finance the construction of offshore oil drill ships in Brazil. The deal, described by theFinancial Times as one that had "never been seen before on this scale in Latin America," was led by partner Victor DeSantis, head of White & Case's Energy, Infrastructure, Project and Asset Finance practice in the Americas.
As noted by the Financial Times: "Pulling together a network spanning the US, the UK, Brazil, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, South Korea and Austria, White & Case succeeded in creating a structure that has been recognised in industry awards and – in the true test of success – widely emulated as a model for other project bonds used by Latin American issuers to tap international markets. Acting for the lenders in the largest project bond issued in Brazil, the firm developed and cornered the market for this work with their expertise. The firm's documents are now used as a reference for these deals."
White & Case was recognized with a "Highly Commended" award for its work on the first whole-company securitization of a timber business. Leading the engagement were partners David Thatch and Brenda Dieck, who represented Barclays Capital Inc. and American AgCredit, FLCA in creating an innovative financing structure for RLC Industries Co., an Oregon wood products manufacturer that was hit hard by the recent housing crisis. The structure transferred nearly 300,000 acres of RLC's timberlands to a set of newly created special-purpose entities designed to be bankruptcy-remote. A whole-business securitization structure was used to securitize the timber harvesting cash flows. With the timberlands as collateral. one of the new special entities was able to issue US$295 million of senior secured notes and direct the proceeds to RLC for debt repayment and general corporate purposes.
As described by the Financial Times, the deal "incorporated the unique constraints of the timber industry with an inventive financial structure to ensure RLC…could survive the housing crisis."
White & Case earned a "Commended" award for its work in winning a dismissal by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit of a multibillion-dollar Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) action filed against TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil company. After losing against TNK in Russian court proceedings, the plaintiff, Norex Petroleum, a Cypriot company located in Canada, had turned to the US courts with a RICO claim. Norex Petroleum Ltd. v Access Industries, Inc., was the first decision by a US circuit court applying the US Supreme Court's ruling in Morrison v. National Australia Bank beyond federal securities laws into the RICO arena. It offers significant protection to multinational companies with respect to non-US business disputes with non-US counterparties.
Commenting on the matter to the Financial Times, litigation partner Owen Pell, who led the Firm's work, said he "believes the Norex case and the Morrison decision make foreign direct investment in the US less risky," adding: "It means that your entire business cannot get entangled in a dispute."