White & Case was ranked among the top five most innovative law firms in the United States by the Financial Times in its FT US Innovative Lawyers 2013 report, ranking the Firm in fifth place in its ranking of US law firm innovators. White & Case earned a total of eight rankings, with the report recognizing the Firm as a top innovator on seven matters and naming Trevor Nagel a "Top Ten Agent for Change," one of ten US lawyers earning this recognition.
The Firm won recognition in the following categories:
Corporate & Commercial
White & Case earned a "Standout" ranking for its representation of Roust Trading Ltd. in a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy and transformative acquisition of Central European Distribution Corporation. The Financial Times quoted Jamie O'Connell, managing director at Blackstone Group as calling White & Case's work for Roust "off-the-charts". The Financial Times went on to comment: "In creating the world's second-largest vodka company, the firm had to work closely with the financier but took a leadership role throughout, coming up with ideas, creating consensus and delivering a complex but creative solution." It added: "Key to success was its global footprint, internal collaborations and the ability to show what the client considered unusual behavior." According to the Financial Times, "Tom Lauria, the White & Case partner on the deal, was described as an 'atypical' lawyer."
White & Case earned a second award in this category—a "Highly Commended" ranking—for its for its antitrust work on behalf of Toyota Industries Corporation, a leading global forklift truck manufacturer, with the vertical merger antitrust aspects of its acquisition of Cascade Corporation, the world's leading lift truck attachments manufacturer. As noted by the Financial Times: "The firm successfully challenged the Department of Justice's new economic modeling for antitrust in vertical mergers." That was accomplished through White & Case's creation and use of its own novel economics, which showed that the Department of Justice's economics were flawed in this instance.
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
White & Case earned a "Highly Commended" ranking for its partnership with the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest to convince the City of New York to agree to remove aging light fixtures containing toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the City's public schools by 2016, five years earlier than the previous deadline of 2021. As described by the Financial Times, the Firm "used a novel interpretation of environmental law to argue for the removal of lights containing a harmful chemical from New York schools."
Business of Law
White & Case won a "Commended" ranking for its formation of the Firm's Innovation and Efficiency Council to implement new ideas and engage lawyers and staff from across the Firm.
Lawyers to the Innovators
White & Case earned a "Standout" ranking for advising electronics retailer Best Buy to replace its single-supplier technology outsourcing with an arrangement involving multiple technology vendors—a reflection, according to the Financial Times, of "something common in big companies: the desire to bring fresh thinking and more competition into their IT arrangements." The Firm's solution was "a new governance structure that gave suppliers more reason to work together" and "an infrastructure co-operation agreement" that all suppliers had to sign.
White & Case won a "Standout" ranking for its creative restructuring of Iconix's debt burden by the first securitization of an intellectual property portfolio. According to the Financial Times, "Iconix is now well placed to grow the number of brands it manages by leveraging its intellectual property to issue debt." The Financial Times quoted partner David Thatch as saying, "Many companies have unique assets that can be used to create valuable sources of financing. But they are not always that easy to spot as they are not immediately convertible to cash like traditional securitisation assets."
Finance – Latin America
White & Case earned a "Commended" ranking for its representation of joint venture company Braskem Idesa and its owner sponsors in the development, design, construction, equity funding and project financing of the Etileno XXI project, a US$4.5 billion world-class greenfield polyolefins complex in Mexico. It was the first major Brazil-Mexico cross-national project and was achieved with the direct support of the presidents of the two countries.
Top Ten Agent for Change
Washington partner Trevor Nagel, chair of the Firm's Global Sourcing and Technology Transactions Group, was named as one of the top 10 "agents for change". The report highlighted his approach of "instilling in businesses the recognition that lawyers must be engaged throughout the life cycle of strategic sourcing initiatives" and recognized his work in the unique Infrastructure Cooperation Agreement created for Best Buy.