2021 Annual Review

2021
Annual Review

What's inside

Highlights of our work, insights and achievements in a changing world

A message from our Chair

Hugh Verrier

Hugh Verrier
Chair

In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect nearly every aspect of our lives. Against this backdrop, our global teams worked on groundbreaking transactions, resolved high-stakes disputes and, through our global citizenship initiatives, responded to societal challenges around the world.

The role of business in society evolved as environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues entered the mainstream, concentrating on challenges including the energy transition and achieving greater diversity and inclusion. Like our clients, we looked for ways to create long term value and growth—a shared goal that created opportunities for collaboration.

It was in this context that we launched a new five-year strategy, focused on creating a distinctive experience for our clients.

Our emphasis on complex, cross-border matters helped us grow in all of the regions where we work and achieve outstanding results for our clients. As we look to the next five years, we are committed to building the capabilities our clients need, supported by a strong, resilient culture.


Hugh Verrier, Chair

Conversations

Guest speakers at Firm events talk about issues that made news in 2021

What have we learned from COVID-19?

Epidemiologist Syra Madad says it’s critical to engage with local communities

Bright, colorful electric lights inside empty COVID-19 vaccine containers shine beside more empty containers, which are stacked to resemble a Christmas tree
Andreea Alexandru © Associated Press

Institutional investors take the long view on sustainability

Think tank CEO Chris Pinney is encouraged by moves to focus on impact, not just policies and procedures

Hills, covered with vegetation, stretch toward the horizon, where clouds and sky are visible. At the center of the image, a winding road cuts through the hills heading in the direction of the horizon.
Sholikhul Bakhmid © Getty Images

In the wake of the pandemic, the world must chart a new course

Bill Emmott, who co-leads a nonprofit that studies the far-reaching effects of COVID-19, discusses the importance of business scenario planning

A person takes a daytime walk across a bridge that crosses the Seine River in Paris. The surface of the bridge features a large, vividly colored world map against a dark background. Another person on the bridge stands beside a bicycle.
Keith Ladzinski © Bespoke Reps Licensing

A range of tactics is needed to achieve a lower-carbon world

Countries and companies are increasingly committing to net-zero goals that would require them to significantly reduce carbon emissions on relatively short timelines 

Two electrical engineers wearing protective gear stand between the blades at the top of a wind turbine in Thailand. Far below them, the land is densely forested. Another wind turbine sits in the distance and mountains are on the horizon.
Tunvarat Pruksachat © Getty Images

Environmental, social and governance factors enter the mainstream

The pandemic accelerated global concerns over climate change and inequality, pushing societal expectations around responsible business practices into the spotlight

An aerial view of a mostly empty eight-lane highway in Beijing. A median divides the highway. One vehicle travels in one direction, and two travel in the other. Groves of trees surround the highway.
Liyao Xie / Moment © Getty Images

Buoyant capital markets help fuel dealmaking

Most of 2021 was characterized by free-flowing capital, as government aid in response to COVID-19 propped up economies

An arrow points to the right against a background of different colored dots.
Simon Carter © Getty Images

Policy shifts may signal a new chapter in the story of globalization

Globalization may be evolving, as nations and regions reassert their regulatory powers on a wide range of issues

A person, with their back to the camera, sits at a desk in front of two computer monitors. The monitor on the right shows a world map that uses bright color to represent demographics, infrastructure, borders and resources. Similarly colored graphs are partially visible on the monitor to the left.
Andrey Popov © Getty Images / Map by Parag Khanna, FutureMap

Impact

Matters in eight practice areas that highlight our global impact for clients

Firm growth

Our 2021 achievements cap an outstanding five-year success story

Our growth trajectory

Growth trajectory
20% 2021 growth
59% 2016-2021 growth

Our lawyers worldwide

2,464 Total lawyers


1,233 EMEA
974 Americas
257 Asia-Pacific

1,283 US-qualified lawyers
544 English-qualified lawyers

 

2021 new partners

An outstanding roster of talented lawyers strengthened our Firm in 2021

An aerial view shows rows of different varieties of lettuce planted in the ground. The lettuce varieties are different colors, and form horizontal stripes.
© Veronika K Ko Photography

2021 awards & rankings

White & Case earned many of the legal industry’s top accolades for outstanding performance in 2021 

Four large metal spheres, each bisected by a strip of light, sit on the boardwalk along the harbor in Wellington, New Zealand. Water and the skyline are behind them.
Westend61 © Getty Images

Our responsible business practices

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.  

Renewable energy is approximately 35% of our electricity usage (up from 11% in 2018)
We track our greenhouse gas emissions annually
Each office implements actions set out in our Environmental Management System
Our London office maintains ISO 14001 certification

Diversity and inclusion

Where White & Case is a longtime leader — and we're just getting started.

Our diverse workplace

10 global affinity networks

Our ten global affinity networks foster a sense of community among the Firm’s Black, Asian, Latinx/Hispanic, Middle Eastern, minority ethnic and LGBT+ lawyers, business services professionals and their allies. Each network sets its own agenda, initiatives and goals, which are specific to the issues it feels are most important. Affinity networks also 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.

26 local women’s networks

Our 26 local women’s networks are active in 40 offices across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. These networks foster professional development and mentoring activities, and support business-related client partnerships. They also provide a forum for our lawyers and business services professionals to share perspectives and create programs to support and retain our talent while fostering and promoting gender equity.

 

Diversity: The numbers

Women make up:
40% of the Firm’s global management
25% of the Executive Committee
26% of our Office Executive Partners

31% of our 2021 global partner promotions
22% of global partnership
41% of our lawyers

In the US:
38% of our lawyers self-identify as of color
25% of our partners self-identify as of color

Globally:
114 nationalities
91 languages spoken

Recognition

For more than a decade, leading publications and alliance organizations have recognized White & Case’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

#1 Most Diverse Law Firm in Am Law 50 (eighth consecutive year)

The American Lawyer
Diversity Scorecard 2021

100% rating on commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace equality (13th consecutive year)

Identifying the Firm as one of the best places to work for LGBT+ individuals

Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index

Minority Women Lawyers – International Firm of the Year

Work-life balance – International Firm of the Year

Euromoney Legal Media Group
Women in Business Law Awards (Europe 2021)

2021 Mansfield Rule Certification Plus (third consecutive year)

Diversity Lab

Top 75 employer in the UK

Social Mobility Foundation
2020 Employer Index Report

Anti-racism training equips our people with tools to build a more inclusive firm

We continued to advance toward our diversity and inclusion goals, narrowing the gap between thought and action with new trainings

A closeup shows several floors of the exterior of a building in Paris, with offices inside. Outside, abstract reflections are visible in the building’s glass facade.
Esch Collection © Getty Images

Collaborating with clients around the world


 

World map
6 continents
45 offices
31 countries
In 2021, we advised clients from 
115
countries 
on matters in 
196
countries

 

White & Case connects clients to help build a more sustainable world

Like our clients, we are seeking ways to sustainably create long-term value and growth, a shared goal that presents opportunities to collaborate 

A closeup shows architectural details of a ceiling in Shanghai. It appears as if three-dimensional columns of blocks hang from the ceiling and reflect light.
Keith Ladzinksi © Bespoke Reps

New Firm strategy spotlights the client experience

We set out to ensure we provide our clients with an experience that emphasizes the attributes they seek in a trusted advisor

Triangular panels of glass create a wall. Light shows through some of the panels, making them appear brighter. Through a panel at the center, bright colors form an abstract pattern.
Keith Ladzinksi © Bespoke Reps

Antitrust

Article

3 min read

Final victory for Richard Usher in forex collusion case

In June 2021, White & Case won a second complete victory for Usher when the US Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) dropped its allegation of collusion of forex currency spreads, removing another key cartel allegation. In July, the OCC took the unusual step of dropping all of its charges before summary judgment, ending the US government’s eight-year pursuit of Usher in the DOJ’s top criminal antitrust case of all time, measured by the US$10 billion in fines levied against banks.

Synthos acquisition of Trinseo’s synthetic rubber business

We advised Synthos on antitrust aspects of its US$449.4 million acquisition of Trinseo’s synthetic rubber business. The transaction includes the acquisition of Trinseo’s Germany-based manufacturing and research and development facilities, and will enable Synthos to broaden its product portfolio and extend its geographic footprint, including in Asia-Pacific. The transaction triggered merger control thresholds in eight EU Member States, Serbia and Turkey, and was cleared in all instances.

US$2.7 billion sale of Smiths Medical business

We provided antitrust and FDI advice on a US$2.3 billion disposal by Smiths Group plc of its Smiths Medical business to Trulli Bidco Ltd. Subsequently, we advised Smiths on the sale of Smiths Medical to a strategic bidder, ICU Medical, following ICU’s offer to purchase Smiths Medical on superior terms (US$2.7 billion) than those offered by Trulli Bidco. The switch to a sale to a strategic bidder increased execution risks, given the overlaps in the ICU and Smiths product portfolios, especially in the US, but the deal was approved in all jurisdictions.

 

Antitrust

DIC US$1.15 billion acquisition of BASF pigments business

We advised Japanese fine chemicals company DIC Corp. and its US subsidiary Sun Chemical on merger control aspects of its US$1.15 billion acquisition of BASF’s global pigments business, a transaction involving merger control filings in 11 countries. We secured unconditional approvals in nine jurisdictions, including Brazil, China and Ukraine; in Europe and Japan, the deal was cleared with remedies. 

Victory for ECOBAT in Italian Competition Authority proceedings 

We successfully represented ECOBAT Technologies in a cartel proceeding brought by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) for an alleged anticompetitive agreement, a cartel, relating to the purchase of scrap batteries. Following dawn raids and a long and articulated defense, the proceeding has concluded with no finding of any violation of the antitrust rules by ECOBAT or the issuing of any fines. Despite allegations of cartel conduct, the ICA agreed to consider and subsequently accepted commitments under article 14-ter of Law no. 287/90, aimed at removing the ICA’s competition concerns. This is a unique outcome given that under the law, commitments cannot be considered by the ICA in cases of alleged serious violations.  

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