The pandemic prompted a workplace shakeup, shining a spotlight on employee wellness
Amy Blankson offers tools that can boost happiness as we enter a new world of work
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.
Amy Blankson offers tools that can boost happiness as we enter a new world of work
Kenneth Cukier talks about the process that can lead to breakthroughs and help us tackle novel challenges
Antonio Zappulla talks about how TrustLaw tackles some of the world’s biggest challenges
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
Parole at last for pro bono clients imprisoned based on non-unanimous verdicts
John Rowell and Sean Smith have three things in common: Both were serving long sentences in Louisiana penitentiaries. Both remained behind bars even after the US Supreme Court ruled that the non-unanimous verdicts that convicted them were “no verdict at all.” And both are free today, thanks to the efforts of White & Case and The Promise of Justice Initiative’s non-unanimous jury project.
By the time the project brought the cases to White & Case’s attention, Rowell had been incarcerated for 25 years of a 50-year sentence for the attempted murder of a police officer, having always avowed that he had been falsely identified and was at home at the time of the shooting. Smith had served more than 13 years of a 30-year sentence for possession of methylene-dioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) with intent to distribute—his extreme penalty was augmented because his single prior conviction (also nonviolent) greatly increased the mandatory sentence under Louisiana’s habitual offender law.
In April 2020 the Supreme Court ruled in Ramos v. Louisiana that the Constitution requires guilty verdicts in criminal trials to be unanimous, calling into question hundreds of convictions in Louisiana and Oregon, the only two states that did not already require unanimous verdicts.
Having been convicted by non-unanimous juries, Rowell and Smith might then have been freed but for a subsequent Supreme Court decision that the ruling does not apply retroactively under federal law for individuals who have exhausted their appeals, as both Rowell and Smith had.
With relief under federal law foreclosed and justice under Louisiana law improbable, the White & Case team, which included New York associates Tola Oyeyemi, supervised by partner Andrew Hammond, and Hannah Rubashkin, supervised by partner John Reiss, focused on gaining parole for both men. Aided by a local lawyer, White & Case worked with Rowell and Smith—and with their family members who would speak on their behalf at the hearings—to explain the process and prepare them for the questions each would face. Oyeyemi, who played a key role in preparing Rowell, spoke in his support at the hearing.
Rowell’s case was the tougher of the two. While winning parole in Louisiana typically requires persuading just two members of a three-member panel, parole for those convicted of a crime in which a police officer was the victim requires a unanimous vote from a special five-member panel. With help from White & Case—and despite vigorous, in-person objections from the parish district attorney—Rowell won over all five members of the panel, securing his May 2022 release.
At Smith’s hearing, Rubashkin spoke on his behalf. Her endorsement of Smith’s character and potential, along with Smith’s well-prepared responses and the highly visible support of his family, brought Smith home in March 2022.