Annual Review

What's inside

Highlights of our work, insights, achievements, programs and initiatives in a year that saw growing global divisions

A message from our Chair

2023 was a year of change for White & Case, as I stepped into the role of Chair and my predecessor, Hugh Verrier, completed his successful 16-year tenure. The Firm began a new chapter well positioned for continued growth. This review highlights many of the achievements and pioneering initiatives that took place throughout the year.

As the world became increasingly fragmented, we focused on the global connections that matter to our clients. We collaborated across borders, providing integrated services and maintaining the strong personal and professional bonds that make a difference, particularly in uncertain times.

Our work on high-stakes deals, disputes and pro bono matters placed us at the center of industry trends related to energy transition, finance, technology and more. We contributed to the conversation on these issues, publishing insights that included a comprehensive report on the future of globalization. Our report, A world of clubs and fences: Changing regulation and the remaking of globalization, puts forward a new conceptual model to understand cross-border interconnectedness in a time of sweeping legal and regulatory changes.

We also increased our ability to serve clients, promoting 46 new partners and welcoming 36 lateral partners. We continued to find innovative solutions that enhance client services and foster efficiency. And as generative AI continues to make headlines, we developed tools that will enable us to embrace its possibilities, while carefully managing its risks.

Looking ahead, White & Case enters its next phase with a solid foundation and an ambitious growth plan that will keep us at the forefront of the rapidly changing legal industry. I look forward to what we and our clients will accomplish together in the coming years.

Heather K. McDevitt, Chair


Guest speakers at Firm events share views on timely topics

Business sets the pace in a global order marked by risk and fragmentation

As governments grapple with regulation and national security priorities, the private sector has stepped into the breach

Staircases on the facade of a building.
© Anzeletti / GettyImages

Challenging assumptions and setting boundaries to fight career burnout

Our learned behavior and ideas about work may keep us from operating at our best

Workers leaving the office at night in the United Arab Emirates.
© Olaser / GettyImages

Electric vehicle batteries hold center stage in the energy transition

By uniting industry participants who may seem to have divergent interests, the Global Battery Alliance is paving the way for a sustainable battery supply chain 

A close-up image of a lithium battery pack and power connectors in an electric vehicle.
© Kynny / GettyImages

Energy transition forged ahead in a complex world

The war in Ukraine and high energy prices challenged energy transition timetables, but governments and investors were determined to stay the course

Bird’s-eye view of three solar panels floating in a dam, providing a source of renewable energy. There are a couple of people riding a jet ski between the two solar panels on the left side and the one on the right.
© Songphol Thesakit / GettyImages

M&A and debt markets feel the chill

M&A and debt market activity declined in 2023, as high interest rates and macroeconomic dislocation saw increasingly cautious dealmakers and lenders put deployment on hold

A close-up image of a building in Russia with an abstract pattern of triangular-shaped polished metal panels.
© Afonkiin Yuriy / GettyImages

Generative AI boosted the technology sector in a challenging year

Growth and investment in generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) lifted the technology sector after a slowdown in transaction activity throughout 2023, but regulatory challenges loomed large

A blurry male figure walks through colorful strips of bright, sparkling lights. The lights cascade from the ceiling to the floor.
© Baona / GettyImages

Remaking globalization: A new world order

The relatively free cross-border flow of goods, capital, information and people that have characterized globalization for decades is being replaced by regulatory "clubs" and "fences"

Three colorful windows on a building in Romania that was designed using geometric patterns, with an opening in each windowpane. The windows are located one behind the other.
© Bogdan Caraman / Getty Images


Highlights of our work in 2023

Our growth and accolades

Our achievements position us for success

Our annual revenue


US$2.95 billion in revenue

Our lawyers worldwide

2,559 total lawyers




1,220US-qualified lawyers

550English-qualified lawyers

2023 new partners

Meet the talented lawyers who strengthened our Firm in 2023

The Ysalina Bridge over the Cagayan de Oro River in the Philippines is illuminated with a variety of vibrant colors.
© Nathaniel Adam Cruz / GettyImages

2023 awards & rankings

In markets around the world, White & Case earned many of the legal industry’s top accolades

A white suspension staircase enveloped by a dark shadow on an oil storage tank. The shadow is located on the right side and covers about one third of the image.
© James Brey / GettyImages

Our responsible business practices

White & Case is committed to fair and ethical operations that respect the interests of our stakeholders and recognize the importance of protecting our environment. Our Responsible Business Subcommittee leads environmental, social and governance (ESG) and sustainability efforts across our global operations.

As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, we affirm our commitment to doing business responsibly by aligning our operations with the Compact’s ten principles on human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption. Our most recent Communication on Progress outlines the steps we are taking to continue to embed these principles into our Firm’s operations.

Our latest Environmental Sustainability Report includes information on our sustainable operations, scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions data, and our most recent Environmental Management Systems survey. Highlights from 2023 include: 

Launching our new global Sustainable Operations Guidelines, which provide guidance for running our business operations in line with best practices
Sourcing nearly half of our electricity from renewable sources, with a commitment to increasing this annually 
Completing our annual greenhouse gas emissions assessment, Carbon Disclosure Project and EcoVadis submissions 
Maintaining ISO14001 certification in our London office
Continuing to collaborate with the Legal Sustainability Alliance, which helps the legal sector take effective action on environmental issues

Diversity & Inclusion

Committed to advancing diversity and inclusion across the Firm

Our diverse workplace

11 global affinity networks

Our 11 affinity networks foster a sense of community among the Firm’s Black, Asia-Pacific, Latinx/Hispanic, Middle Eastern and North African, 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.

24 local women’s networks

Our 24 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.


Diversity: The numbers

Women make up:

42% of the Firm’s global management

50% of the Executive Committee

21% of other leadership roles

36% of our 2023 global partner promotions

25% of global Partnership

43% of our lawyers

In the US:

42% of our lawyers self-identify as of color

7% of our lawyers self-identify as LGBTQ+

4% of our lawyers self-identify with disabilities

28% of our partners self-identify as of color

3% of our partners self-identify as LGBTQ+

4% of our partners self-identify with disabilities

In London:

32% of our lawyers self-identify as of color

10% of our lawyers self-identify as LGBTQ+

4% of our lawyers self-identify with disabilities

13% of our partners self-identify as of color

5% of our partners self-identify as LGBTQ+

2% of our partners self-identify with disabilities



92languages spoken


Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is recognized by leading publications and alliance organizations

Number 1 Most Diverse Law Firm among top 10 US firms by revenue
(Number 2 among all firms scored) The American Lawyer Diversity Scorecard 2023
Diverse Women Lawyers: International Firm
Euromoney Legal Media Group Women in Business Awards 2023 Americas
Euromoney Legal Media Group Women in Business Awards 2023 Asia-Pacific
Top 75 employer in the UK
Social Mobility Foundation Employer Index 2023
Innovative International Law Firm of the Year
Work-Life Balance International Firm of the Year
United Kingdom Law Firm of the Year
United Emirates Law Firm of the Year 
Euromoney Legal Media Group Women in Business Awards 2023 EMEA
2023 Mansfield Certification
(Mansfield-certified since the program’s inception in 2018)
90% rating on commitment to LGBTQ+ workplace equality
Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index 2023 – 2024

First post-pandemic Middle East Women’s Conference features candid conversations

White & Case women gather to build connections and advance career opportunities

© White & Case

Collaborating with clients around the world


world map

6 continents



In 2023 we advised clients from 
on matters in 


An internal guide addresses 20 areas of legislation in four Asia-Pacific countries

An internal guide addresses 20 areas of legislation in four Asia-Pacific countries

Silhouettes of individuals walking past an LED-lit façade of a building in Hong Kong, China, showcasing vibrant colors that constantly change. There are also two people talking in front of the building.
© Esch Collection / GettyImages

White & Case embraces GenAI—with care

A transformative technology enables new ways of working

A sparkling, wavy motif created from three-dimensional glass. The waves are thin and form loops throughout the motif.
© Shulz / GettyImages

Photo by © ASF - Architect Simone Forconi
iBridge, an interactive pedestrian bridge submitted for a design competition. Sensors on the floor of the bridge allow it to transform pedestrian and cycling traffic into usable energy. 

Three colorful windows on a building in Romania that was designed using geometric patterns, with an opening in each windowpane. The windows are located one behind the other.

Remaking globalization: A new world order

The relatively free cross-border flow of goods, capital, information and people that have characterized globalization for decades is being replaced by regulatory "clubs" and "fences"


8 min read

The regulatory and legal consensus that underpinned the rapid expansion of cross-border flows during the past four decades is at an inflection point.

From the 1980s on, the global flow of goods, services, data, capital and people grew at unprecedented rates. The World Bank recorded a more than a 20-fold increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) between 1980 and 2020, which drove global trade's share of world GDP from 35 percent to 58 percent over the period.

The globalized model of seamless interconnectedness, however, has come under intensifying pressure in recent years. The social and cultural impact of open borders, along with the increasing risks to national security, have dominated domestic political agendas, while the COVID-19 pandemic and wars in Ukraine and Israel have further challenged long-held assumptions about an interconnected world economy.

In a report published by White & Case, A world of clubs and fences: Changing regulation and the remaking of globalization, the Firm outlined a conceptual framework to understand this new era of interventionism in the global economy, characterized by regulatory "clubs" and "fences."

As countries across the globe have enacted new regulations to mitigate perceived threats in the global economy, those with similar values, economic systems and security priorities have clustered into clubs, where members align on regulatory priorities and strive to converge with others in the peer group. Simultaneously, new regulatory barriers, or fences, have emerged between nations in different clubs or those that identify as rivals. These fences add to the costs and regulatory burden of economic integration.

Forming clubs and erecting fences

Legal and regulatory developments sit at the heart of this shift, with policy and regulation across seven key strategic areas—trade, investment screening, tax, competition, data privacy, sanctions and financial regulation—arising as the key dividing lines in the global economy.

Here is an overview of each of these themes:

1. Trade

International trade developed in the post-WWII era under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Through the GATT and the WTO, member states facilitated globalization by progressively lowering tariffs, broadening the scope of the "trade" they were willing to liberalize and committing the membership (which stood at 164 nations in December 2023) to the principles of most-favored nation (MFN) and of non-discrimination in trade.

Yet, even the WTO has had to concede that globalization—as we have come to know it¬—faces threats. Some of the threats come from within, as both the GATT and the WTO permitted the formation of preferential or regional trading arrangements that departed from MFN and allowed discrimination against non-members. While conceived as an exception, today more than half of global trade occurs within these preferential and regional agreements, which have created clubs of participating states within which the barriers to trade are reduced, while access from outside the club is relatively more difficult.

The ascent of new economic powerhouses, most notably China, has also spurred some countries to question the international trade rules that allowed for their rise, and to use unilateral trade action to address alleged distortions. These unilateral trade restrictions, often in the name of national security, amount to new fences in the global economy.

2. Investment screening

The world's leading economies have pivoted away from opening their borders to foreign direct investment (FDI), with governments broadening the scope and reach of investment screening measures that allow them to limit investment from rival countries on the basis of national security.

Today, at least 46 countries have regulatory regimes that allow them to screen certain inbound FDI, fencing off transactions they view as national security threats. The pace with which such measures are enacted is accelerating rapidly. Globally, between 2003 and 2015, the enactment of new restrictions averaged 20 per year across all countries. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, 50 new FDI restrictions were enacted.

The shift has occurred in both developed and developing countries, with emerging economies that once sought to encourage inbound investment putting measures in place to block certain inbound investment and reassert national control over FDI flows.

3. Tax

In tax, rather than the fragmentation of the global economy seen in many other regulatory areas, a new global club is emerging. Nations have shown an ongoing desire to work through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to harmonize tax policy, particularly as it relates to the taxation of multinational corporations.

The OECD has secured buy-in from many countries for its two rounds of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) reforms designed to more effectively allocate the taxation of, and enhance reporting on, the foreign operations of multinationals and move toward a new global minimum corporate tax. The reforms aim to adapt traditional tax systems, which have focused on taxing companies according to physical location, to the digital economy and to curb tax competition and the resulting downward pressure on corporate income tax rates.

A large club of well over 100 countries representing more than 90 percent of GDP have formally committed to implement BEPS 2.0 proposals, with the potential for significant real-world impact both for businesses and for countries that chose not to participate in the OECD process.

4. Competition

More countries are choosing to assert their antitrust and competition powers to challenge global deals that could impact competition in home markets. As they do so, states' regulations are clustering in new ways.

Regions that have had minimal competition legislation—including the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific—are now ramping up antitrust frameworks. In other regions where competition law is well established, governments are deepening their laws to include additional investigative powers and cross-border reach. In some countries, competition policy is also accounting for new goals, such as environmental and labor protections.

Attempts to harmonize competition law have struggled to gain traction, leading to the emergence of distinct clubs, where competition watchdogs have adopted different views on high-profile global cases.

5. Data privacy

The number of countries with data protection and privacy laws doubled between 2010 and 2023, from 68 to 137, as governments raced to keep pace with the growing importance of personal data in the digital era. Data privacy rules are quickly emerging as new dividing lines in the global economy.

As data privacy legislation has proliferated, countries have followed three models. One group of countries has used the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a blueprint, though many of these countries have not gone as far as the GDPR goes on all issues. A second approach—taken in the US, for example—involves a patchwork of privacy and data laws. Still, other countries have focused on the territorial elements of data, putting in place data localization legislation to ensure data is stored locally and can be accessed by the state.

6. Sanctions

Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic sanctions imposed on Russia demonstrate the power of sanctions as a regulatory fence to isolate even large economies.

The sanctions on Russia were unprecedented compared to past sanctions regimes both in targeting a major global economy and in the scope of financial restrictions imposed. Countermeasures enacted by Russia have further complicated the picture for global companies, which have found themselves caught in a catch-22 between complying with overseas sanctions and Russian countermeasures.

The G7 has proven an effective body for sanctions coordination. While the ultimate impact of the Russia sanctions remains to be seen, it is clear that countries have the willingness and ability to use sanctions as a powerful political tool, with profound impact for global economic integration.

7. Financial regulation

The expansion of regulatory regimes governing anti-money laundering (AML), climate-related financial disclosures and developing and new technologies such as cryptocurrency and AI are adding yet another layer of regulatory divides to the global economy. As countries have moved to keep up with developments in these areas, divergent approaches between blocs have emerged.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a body set up by the G7 to coordinate AML efforts, has emerged to represent a global club that limits financial transactions with countries that fail to meet minimum AML standards or that present a risk to the global economy.

Cryptocurrency volatility and moves by regulators to protect investors, for example, have seen countries, including China, ban cryptocurrency altogether, while the US saw a wave of cryptocurrency bankruptcies and SEC enforcement. In contrast, some states, notably EU member states and the UK, advanced legislative agendas based on drawing clear lines around supervised and licensed crypto-asset activities, and others, such as El Salvador, have accelerated to make it a key pillar of financial systems, even issuing their own state-backed digital coins.

On climate-related disclosures, the EU, UK and some other major economies have put formal regulations in place mandating reporting on the climate risks and impact of business operations. In the US, by contrast, no federal disclosure requirements on climate have been established, with the proposals advanced by the SEC deferred given divergent market feedback. Meanwhile, at the state level, California signed three bills into law in October 2023 requiring climate-related disclosures of its businesses.

Navigating complexity

New regulatory interventionism is giving rise to a system of clubs and fences that is reshaping global business relations and making cross-border interactions more complex to understand and navigate.

The clubs and fences paradigm, however, provides a roadmap for investors and companies to understand and manage the big global shifts that are changing the way the world does business.

© Bogdan Caraman / Getty Images
Geometric-designed windows in Romania