White & Case was recognized as a top innovator in five areas in the FT Innovative Lawyers 2015, a rankings report and awards for Europe-based lawyers published by the Financial Times. In addition, international tax partner Prabhu Narasimhan, who is based in London, was profiled in the FT Innovative Lawyers 2015 report as one of the top five young innovators in law in Europe. He was ranked second in the "Young legal innovator of the year" category.
The Firm was recognized in these areas:
Corporate & Commercial
In this highly competitive category, White & Case was given a "standout" ranking—the highest ranking—for our work advising HM Treasury on its crafting of a new UK withholding tax exemption for privately placed debt, which was announced by Chancellor George Osborne during his 2014 Autumn Statement and is now contained in the Finance Act 2015. The White & Case team was led by partners Peita Menon and Prabhu Narasimhan with support from associate Laura Hoyland. The FT Innovative Lawyers 2015 report observed that the work of the White & Case team "has resulted in European investors committing to more than $14 bn in lending to UK companies over the next five years."
We also earned a "standout" ranking for our pro bono work with global NGO The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) on its cutting-edge work to develop training programs for government officials on genocide and mass atrocity prevention. We have worked with AIPR since its founding ten years ago. Spearheaded by partner Owen Pell, White & Case has helped AIPR with a wide array of projects:
- We have designed and prepared materials used in training and we participate as faculty in the training conducted at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp site in Oswiecim, Poland. These materials focus on the historical and social processes that often are warning signs of impending genocide or mass atrocities, and the ways these processes can be mitigated or interrupted by governments, including through more effective engagement with civil society.
- We have helped AIPR design and implement a program to train parliamentarians from nations around the world with regard to the role that legislation and legislators can play in genocide and mass atrocity prevention.
- We have conducted comparative law surveys for AIPR with respect to certain types of laws and their use in specific regions to assist states in planning prevention programs and initiatives.
- We have conducted research for the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide and for the World Bank on potential initiatives relating to genocide and mass atrocity prevention.
- We act as AIPR's principal outside law firm and help AIPR ensure that its organization and bylaws meet recognized best practice standards.
According to the FT report, "The relationships and experience White & Case has built up through the programme have also increased the value of services it offers to corporate clients. And, it quoted Pell as saying, "We're doing the right thing, but, also, atrocity prevention is another form of legal risk management."
We were "commended" for our work for our Congolese client Commisimpex against the Republic of the Congo. Commisimpex has been involved in disputes with the Republic of Congo over public works that have remained unpaid for more than 30 years. Arbitral jurisdiction is with the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris but, complicating matters, there’s an agreement without an arbitration clause and a claim of corruption by the Congo against its own officials in the hope of setting aside the award. Cross-border disputes are seldom simple, but this case proved particularly challenging. Since 2008, White & Case has acted innovatively to achieve a positive result for Commisimpex by obtaining a €600 million award against the Congo, rendered in 2013. In 2014, we successfully convinced the French Court of Cassation to reject the Congo's attempt to annul an earlier 2010 award on jurisdiction, and we also persuaded the Paris Court of Appeal to reject the Congo’s attempt to annul the 2013 award on the merits.
We were "commended" for our work advising the joint lead managers, lenders and bond investors on the financing of the extension and operation of the A7 federal highway between Hamburg and Bordesholm, a strategically important motorway segment in northern Germany. The financing involved an innovative mix of privately placed bonds, bank financing and EIB project bond credit enhancement (PBCE). The project was the first privately placed project bond in a competitive bidding process in Germany and the first project in Germany to be enhanced by the PBCE. It was also the first combined bank-bond financing in Europe using project bonds with PBCE and short-term bank facilities. Total funding volume was more than €770 million.
We were "commended" for our portfolio management team's work with Intralinks to create an ongoing live data room for portfolio company clients. Rather than dismantling deal data rooms following acquisitions by private equity sponsors, the team has developed a solution whereby deal data rooms are converted for ongoing data management purposes and kept alive in a cost-effective way to assist with preparing portfolio companies for their future sale. This is the second year in a row the portfolio team has been commended for its client service efforts.
Young Legal Innovator of the Year
Partner Prabhu Narasimhan was ranked second in the "Young legal innovator of the year" category. A partner in the Firm's Global Tax Practice, Narasimhan, together with tax partner Peita Menon, co-led the White & Case team advising HM Treasury on new tax legislation, which also received a "standout" ranking in the Corporate & Commercial cagtegory (see above). The FT report noted that Narasimhan "has proved attention to detail can bring about great legal innovation" and that "his forward thinking will enable billions of dollars’ worth of investment in the UK."