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
Antonio Zappulla is the CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, the corporate foundation of the news and information services company Thomson Reuters. The Foundation uses both journalism and the law to advance its mission of fostering free, fair and informed societies by addressing issues including human rights, growing inequality and the climate crisis. TrustLaw, the Foundation’s global pro bono network, connects nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and social enterprises with law firms that provide them with free legal assistance. Zappulla discussed his organization’s work during a September 2022 virtual Global Citizenship event for all our offices.
We talked to him about what happens when law firms collaborate, the evolution of Thomson Reuters Foundation’s work on modern slavery and the importance of a company’s performance on social issues. An edited and condensed version of that conversation follows.
How does TrustLaw operate?
Essentially, we are a clearinghouse, serving as a conduit between law firms of all sizes—including White & Case—and organizations that need pro bono advice. Our NGO members can request free legal support, and lawyers can volunteer to work on projects that interest them. We bring law firms from all over the world together to collaborate on matters. Our model allows them to take on pro bono work at scale and speed.
Can you provide a sense of the scale of TrustLaw’s work?
TrustLaw is the world’s largest pro bono legal network. We are active in 175 countries and have more than 6,500 members, including 1,000 law firms and about 150,000 lawyers. In the past two years we have delivered more than US$50 million worth of pro bono hours and worked on more than 2,000 high-impact projects. For example, we helped improve access to HIV testing in Africa and successfully worked to outlaw child marriage across the United States.
What are the benefits of bringing different law firms together to handle matters?
There are three winners when law firms join forces. First, the pro bono client wins. When you have the world’s top law firms working together on a case, the results will be significantly stronger. Second, the lawyers themselves win, benefiting from the mentorship opportunities that arise when people of different seniority levels across multiple law firms have the chance to work together. The third winner is the pro bono ecosystem itself because lawyers working in multiple jurisdictions bring different nuances to the table. When questions require a cross-jurisdictional approach, legal teams can consider how an issue has been addressed elsewhere. The idea is to compare best practices, giving good examples of what’s worked in different jurisdictions. If you’re advocating to change a particular issue, you can then demonstrate to local policy makers that the issue is being taken seriously in other jurisdictions—so much so that there are already best practices that can be adopted.
In recent years TrustLaw has focused increasingly on issues related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) and, in particular, on social issues—the S indicator in ESG. How did that come about?
In the past we had done a lot of work on modern slavery. The Thomson Reuters Foundation trained journalists to raise awareness of the issue, and multiple law firms completed legal research on the issue through TrustLaw. Then we realized that the scourge of modern slavery was just the tip of the iceberg. It is rooted in inequality so we wanted to look at what drives inequality to address it at a systemic level. That led us automatically to the S in ESG, which includes the issue of forced labor, and other themes such as diversity and inclusion and ensuring a just energy transition—one that enables us to switch to a greener economy without leaving people behind. All these issues have become increasingly important to investors and companies.
Despite the importance of social issues, in discussions of ESG the focus is often on the E, or environmental issues. Why is that, and how is TrustLaw working to broaden the ESG conversation?
Investors cite certain challenges and misconceptions when it comes to adopting ESG indicators, in particular the S indicator. Last year TrustLaw worked with White & Case and others to produce a white paper that addressed some of these limiting myths. To give just one example, there is a false perception that social performance is less financially material than environmental performance. But companies that score low on S indicators—for example, because of poor labor practices or human rights abuses within their supply chains—can damage their reputations, which can impact share price.
What does the rise of ESG mean for law firms and their clients?
For the first time companies are trying to speak the same language when they look at the social, environmental and governance impact of their operations. These conversations are moving up the boardroom agenda as investors recognize that companies with strong ESG credentials offer less risk and perform better. There is an opportunity for law firms to be well-equipped to advise their clients who will, in turn, need that advice because legislation, in addition to the investment community, is moving in that direction.
Photo by Matthias Kulka © Getty Images
The lights of East Asia from space