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In 2022 uncertainty took hold as inflation, volatile markets and a geopolitical conflict added to the challenges set in motion by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a world of shifting expectations and norms, we focused on creating a distinctive experience for our clients, consistent with the five-year strategy we launched in 2020. This North Star guided our global teams as they developed and executed innovative solutions on high-stakes deals, disputes and pro bono matters.
Our client work placed us at the center of global trends related to energy transition, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, finance and globalization. We contributed to the dialogue on these issues with published insights including “Scaling up the energy transition,” a report based on a survey that explores how capital providers and companies are setting priorities, staying competitive and managing risk. Through our COP27 video series, we explored themes raised during the annual climate conference and their potential impact on business and industry.
In regions around the world, we increased our capacity to serve clients, promoting 59 new partners and welcoming 39 lateral partners. We developed new ways of working with clients, increasing efficiencies and ensuring consistency. These initiatives included our Debt Finance Solutions Team, which leverages legal technology and other resources to handle certain types of routine work, and our Client Experience Blueprints, a series of tools that codify our global best practices for working with clients before, during and after a matter.
We continued to focus on building a more diverse and inclusive workplace, significantly expanding our diversity data collection efforts so we can quantify our progress. Our people benefited from new and expanded coaching programs, and we took concrete steps to empower our associates, focusing on work allocation, skills development and leadership opportunities.
This review discusses these and other accomplishments and initiatives that made a difference to our people and our clients in 2022. Together we face the future positioned for success.
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The focus on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 remained a priority for governments, investors and energy companies
Addressing ESG factors became “the new normal” for investors and businesses
Activity across debt and M&A markets slowed as rising interest rates and high inflation saw investors, borrowers and lenders recalibrate risk appetite
Around the world, legal and regulatory developments continued to reshape global interconnectedness
Highlights of our work in 2022
US$2.83 billion in revenue
2,616 total lawyers
Meet the outstanding generation of talented lawyers who strengthened our Firm in 2022
In markets around the world, White & Case earned many of the legal industry’s top accolades
White & Case is committed to fair and ethical operations that respect human rights and recognize the importance of our natural environment.
As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, we affirm our commitment to doing business responsibly by supporting the Compact’s ten principles on human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption. The steps we are taking to continue to embed these principles into our Firm are outlined in our most recent Communication on Progress.
Our latest Environmental Sustainability Report includes information on our environmental policies, footprint, key actions and goals.
11 global affinity networks
Our 11 affinity networks foster a sense of community among the Firm’s Black, Asian, Latinx/Hispanic, Middle Eastern, minority ethnic and LGBTQ+ lawyers, business services professionals and their allies. Each network sets its own agenda, initiatives and goals, which are specific to the issues it considers most important. Affinity networks create and enhance awareness of these groups within the Firm and its larger culture, drive community and connection across our global offices, and support their members with career and professional development opportunities.
25 local women’s networks
Our 25 local women’s networks are active in 40 offices across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. These networks foster professional development and mentoring activities. They also provide a forum for our lawyers and business services professionals to share perspectives and create programs to support and retain our women while fostering and promoting gender equity.
49%of our lawyers self-identify as of color
28%of our partners self-identify as of color
43%of our lawyers self-identify as of color
27%of our partners self-identify as of color
Leading publications and alliance organizations continue to recognize our commitment to diversity and inclusion
Using data to create change
Committing to growth opportunities for colleagues in wide-ranging roles
Recognizing the value of our lawyers as they start their careers
Focusing on consistent application of best practices
Leveraging technology to streamline routine work and enhance client service
Collaborating to effect change and build strong connections
Visuals by Roman De Giuli
The next generation of lawyers holds the key to providing strong and consistent service to our clients. With that in mind and using data collected from sources including associate surveys and focus groups and engagement with Firm leaders, White & Case explored the best ways to position all our associates for success. In 2022 the newly formed Associate Empowerment Committee chose to focus on three areas: work allocation, professional skills and leadership.
Traditionally, staffing partners have been responsible for allocating work. This arrangement has drawbacks. Ensuring that the right work is assigned to the right associates—and doing it equitably—can be a full-time job. But partners have day jobs. It’s also a challenge when staffing partners cycle out of the role, taking with them all their institutional knowledge especially as to each associate’s development. Another problem: Partners often bypass the staffing partner, going straight to the same associates whenever they need help. As a result, some associates do not receive the training they need. Others feel burned out.
To level the playing field for associates and create a better system for everyone, we launched a pilot program with two of our practice groups. The program supplemented staffing partners with a full-time allocation and development professional, a member of the business services team responsible for ensuring a fair distribution of work among associates. The allocation and development professional also understands the development needs of each associate and can help them manage competing demands. Based on the program’s success, we are expanding it to other practice groups.
In addition to improving the way we allocate work, we are devising initiatives to boost associates' professional skills, including client communication, industry knowledge and project management. We drafted a new skills framework designed to clarify expectations regarding development areas, help associates retain skills they learn in classroom trainings and improve our ability to hold effective career conversations and make staffing decisions.
Finally, to help engage our associates in the Firm's management and leadership, we are adding associates to many of our management functions around the Firm, including at the office level, in industry groups and on various global committees. Several committees that have not previously included associate members will have one to two designated associate slots. Our efforts in this area include shifting the Firm’s culture so that associates are invited—and expected—to participate in the Firm’s management and leadership. We are also setting guidelines that address issues such as term limits, diversity measures and an application process to help ensure that the opportunity to join a committee is open to all interested associates.
Shunli Zhao © Getty Images
Xinghai Bay Bridge, a cross-sea suspension bridge in Dalian, China