White & Case was ranked the second-most innovative law firm in North America by the Financial Times in its FT North America Innovative Lawyers 2015 report. The report recognized the Firm as a top innovator on five matters in five areas, one of which earned a "Standout Ranking"—the highest ranking possible. In addition, two White & Case partners, Jason Webber and J. Mark Gidley, were "Commended" for their work on ranked matters.
The Firm was recognized in these areas:
Enabling clients' business
White & Case won this category, receiving the highest-scored "standout" ranking—the top FT ranking—for our work on the complex financing of Freeport LNG's natural gas liquefaction and export facility in Texas. We represent Freeport in connection with more than US$14 billion of third-party cash equity, mezzanine debt, and senior secured debt financings for the first three of four liquefaction trains of its facility. The individual liquefaction trains comprising the facility are separately owned and financed by wholly and partially owned subsidiaries of Freeport LNG. The four transactions comprising the third-party equity and senior secured debt financing of the first two liquefaction trains were the largest fully non-recourse project financing in history.
The financing of these trains with staged construction is highly complex, with multiple layers of project-on-project risk. To meet the challenges of this mandate, our team, led by New York partners Jason Webber and Clark Wohlferd, developed a wide array of innovative structures, including a unique joint funding arrangement among the owners of the separate trains that effectively insulates the lenders from the project-on-project risk related to the funding of more than US$2 billion in shared facilities. This structure enabled the project financing of each of the train facilities on a separate basis.
Protecting client's business
We received a "Commended" ranking for our work for pharmaceutical giant Warner Chilcott/Actavis regarding its DORYX® acne medication, with our team, led by Washington, DC partner J. Mark Gidley, winning the first-ever victory on a full evidentiary record in a "product hopping" antitrust litigation. The case has massive implications for innovation, not only in pharmaceuticals but in all industries.
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 first DORYX® lacked monopoly power and second, that Mylan had proven no exclusionary conduct and that the plaintiffs' theory would stifle innovation. Under the court's ruling, any company—from Apple to Dyson to Toyota – has no duty to sell old products simply to help their competitors or meet an arbitrary test of whether their new product is "sufficiently innovative" to avoid treble damage antitrust liability.
Expanding clients' business
We received a "Commended" ranking for our representation of Zimmer Holdings, Inc. (renamed Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc.) in its US$14 billion acquisition of private equity-owned Biomet, Inc. The two companies were both world leaders in the manufacture of orthopedic devices. The transaction was one of the largest in the medical devices sector, impacting hundreds of markets worldwide.
Our team, led by New York partner Morton Pierce, had more than 100 lawyers working on the matter globally at various times. We brought extensive M&A, private equity, antitrust and healthcare sector capabilities, allowing Zimmer to navigate the transaction’s unique requirements and secure antitrust approvals in the United States, the EU and Asia. As the second-largest player in its market, the new combined entity now is an innovative leader in the US$45 billion musculoskeletal industry.
Social responsibility—pro bono cases
We received a "Commended" ranking for our pro bono work representing approximately 200 faculty and staff of Sweet Briar College, a historic women's college in Virginia, when its board unexpectedly announced its closure in March 2015. The timing meant that few faculty members could find equivalent teaching positions elsewhere, deeply impacting their livelihoods.
Working with other involved groups, the White & Case team, led by Miami partners Thomas Lauria and Michael Shepherd, secured a settlement, keeping the college open for at least another year and offering six-month severance to faculty and staff who will be terminated within the next academic year or who could not return to Sweet Briar because they had taken adjunct, temporary or other lesser positions at other colleges and schools.
We received a "Commended" ranking for our work on creating Truly Mobile, a mobile application that gives White & Case staff—both lawyers and non-lawyers alike—instant access to critical Firm information. Truly Mobile boasts a wide range of features, including a people directory with advanced search options, interactive pages for every office, access to third-party apps, an in-app message board, mobile access to important Firm documents and an innovation inbox allowing employees to submit innovative ideas to the Firm. The initial idea was the winning entry by a group of Hong Kong associates, Wenxian Chen, Yanni Guo, Erica Lam and Karen Mak, in the Firm's 2012 Innovation Contest, and the implementation was led by New York partner David Koschik and Taylor Johnson, the Firm's Senior Analyst for Strategic Initiatives.
Truly Mobile has been rolled out to employees across the Firm and is installed on more than 3,000 devices. It helps employees access work while on the move, enables Firm lawyers to advance new business and cross-selling opportunities in real time by having strategic information at their fingertips, and helps them deliver improved client service.
Partner Jason Webber was "Commended" for his work on the Freeport LNG project financing. He focuses on US and international corporate and financial transactions, particularly those related to the tender, development and financing of energy, infrastructure, and natural resource projects. Webber has vast experience across all relevant industries, including oil & gas, power and transportation/PPPs. He is Co-Head of the Firm's Oil & Gas group and is currently very active representing sponsors and lenders in shale-driven investments in North America, including midstream energy infrastructure, LNG export facilities and petrochemical projects.
Partner J. Mark Gidley was "Commended" for his work on the DORYX® acne medication antitrust litigation. Gidley chairs the Firm's global Antitrust/Competition practice, which has been named Competition Group of the Year for the past four years by Law360, and he was named an inaugural Trial Ace by Law360 this year. His practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, cartel cases, class actions and pharmaceutical antitrust cases. Gidley is among the most experienced lawyers in the United States in trying criminal and civil antitrust cases, whether involving claims of price-fixing, monopolization or stemming from a merger. His cases have shaped modern antitrust law in mergers, cartels and pharma antitrust.