White & Case was ranked second among top global law firms by legal publication Law360 in its annual "Global 20" list of law firms with the greatest global reach and expertise. The Firm has been ranked in the top five for the last three years, having been ranked at the top by Law360 last year.
According to Law360's profile, "White & Case LLP landed itself a spot near the top of Law360's Global 20 list for the third year in a row by doing what it's done for decades: offering a global network of deeply entrenched attorneys who can handle the toughest international work in project finance, antitrust and many other practice areas."
Quoting partner Jacquelyn MacLennan, a member of our Executive Committee: "We have so many lawyers from so many parts of the world, we don't see ourselves as a New York firm or as a London firm. We really see ourselves as an international firm." This long-time overseas focus has resulted "in a deep familiarity with the various parts of the world that White & Case lawyers call home." says Law360.
Acknowledging White & Case's long-standing international presence, starting with its opening of a Paris office in 1926, Law360 quotes MacLennan as saying, "This is not a flash in the pan," but rather the "deep nature of our internationalism. This is a strategy we've embedded in our DNA forever."
The profile notes that, "perhaps no practice area has shown that global focus over the past year better than project finance" with the Firm's practice group of more than 200 lawyers being "one of the largest in BigLaw." Law360 noted the Firm's work on a huge solar project in Northern India for Reliance Power, the $1.2 billion financing of the 216-megawatt Northwind wind farm to be built offshore Belgium's North Sea, the US$3.2 billion financing package for a petrochemical project in Mexico on behalf of Braskem Idesa SAPI and a US$1.3 billion Dutch highway project.
The deals in India and Mexico were, according to partner Art Scavone, Head of the Firm's Global Project Finance Practice, a testament to White & Case's focus on putting boots on the ground in the world's key emerging markets rather than just the traditional financial centers where many BigLaw firms have set up shop. Scavone is quoted as saying: "We decided early on that we're going to go well beyond the money centers and into the emerging markets…The really interesting projects, the really big-ticket items, they tend to be in the emerging markets, and that's where our office network is."
Law360's profile also focused on the Firm's antitrust practice, noting that it is "another prime example of the benefits of global reach," particularly given the number of countries with price fixing laws, and with international coordination between competition authorities, resulting in allegations of cartel activity "that often transcend nations and continents."
"The prosecutors are comparing notes globally…so when we have a case, it's often global," partner Mark Gidley, Head of the Firm's Global Antitrust Practice is quoted as saying. "We don't have to go to other law firms around the world and create an ad hoc confederation."
The Firm's antitrust work in winning a ruling for Nexans SA from the European Union's General Court that the European Commission lacked sufficient probable cause to seize certain evidence in a dawn raid is cited by Law360, with Gidley noting that the ruling was rooted in a comparison to American search-and-seizure privacy rights by lawyers with a global outlook. "We take a good idea in one jurisdiction and we use it in another jurisdiction," says Gidley. "That wouldn't work well across [all] law firms but it works seamlessly at White & Case."
Other big international accomplishments over the past year for the Firm "spanned numerous practice areas," according to the profile, with the Firm's representation of Alfa-Access-Renova in the sale of its US$28 billion stake in joint venture TNK-BP to Russian state energy company Rosneft and its representation of the underwriting banks in a US$3 billion take-private deal for Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.com, Ltd highlighted.
In concluding its profile, Law360 noted the Firm's continued expansion, with a new office opening in Madrid in March, 2013, expansion of operations in Indonesia with a new local partnership in Jakarta, and dozens of new partners joining the Firm, including six in the Paris office in 2013 alone.
Law360 ranked each firm in six categories:
- The number of countries in which the firm has offices
- The number of offices outside the firm's home country
- The percentage of attorneys located outside the firm's home country
- The breadth of the firm's recent international work
- The size and complexity of the firm's recent cross-border work
- The firm's pioneering efforts to expand internationally and develop international expertise