What have we learned from COVID-19?
Epidemiologist Syra Madad says it’s critical to engage with local communities
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.
Epidemiologist Syra Madad says it’s critical to engage with local communities
Think tank CEO Chris Pinney is encouraged by moves to focus on impact, not just policies and procedures
Bill Emmott, who co-leads a nonprofit that studies the far-reaching effects of COVID-19, discusses the importance of business scenario planning
Countries and companies are increasingly committing to net-zero goals that would require them to significantly reduce carbon emissions on relatively short timelines
Most of 2021 was characterized by free-flowing capital, as government aid in response to COVID-19 propped up economies
Globalization may be evolving, as nations and regions reassert their regulatory powers on a wide range of issues
Matters in eight practice areas that highlight our global impact for clients
2,464 Total lawyers
An outstanding roster of talented lawyers strengthened our Firm in 2021
White & Case earned many of the legal industry’s top accolades for outstanding performance in 2021
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.
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.
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)
Top 75 employer in the UK
Social Mobility Foundation
2020 Employer Index Report
We continued to advance toward our diversity and inclusion goals, narrowing the gap between thought and action with new trainings
Like our clients, we are seeking ways to sustainably create long-term value and growth, a shared goal that presents opportunities to collaborate
We set out to ensure we provide our clients with an experience that emphasizes the attributes they seek in a trusted advisor
ICC arbitration for global energy company—among largest arbitrations of 2021
We obtained a successful outcome for a leading global energy company in an ICC arbitration arising out of the construction of an LNG project in Australia. The arbitration resulted from the consolidation of multiple high-value ICC arbitrations, and is believed to be among the largest arbitrations in the world in 2021. The LNG project in question is one of the most significant oil & gas projects on Earth.
Appellate victory for five Chinese Banks in Nike litigation
We successfully defended five Chinese Banks in an action seeking US$150 million in contempt sanctions. Nike had obtained judgment in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York for more than US$1 billion against hundreds of makers of counterfeit goods in China. During the enforcement proceedings, an assignee to the judgment issued third-party subpoenas, demanding that the banks restrain the counterfeiters’ accounts pursuant to US asset freeze orders, and seeking production of the counterfeiters’ account information from banks in China. The assignee subsequently moved for contempt sanctions against the banks, alleging that the banks had failed to comply. Following briefings by the parties, the court denied the sanctions request, holding that the banks’ branches in China were not subject to the asset restraints and that the banks had substantially complied with the discovery order.
Complete dismissal of action against Swedish government defendants
We advised the Swedish Tax Agency and the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority on a civil action in the Southern District of New York. The case was brought principally by a Swedish national alleging RICO claims, computer hacking claims, tortious interference with contract claims and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. White & Case filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of all the Swedish sovereign defendants, arguing for dismissal under the FSIA, and under common-law immunity for the agency heads. The Firm also argued that dismissal was warranted for lack of personal jurisdiction, based on an application of the act of state doctrine and forum non conveniens, and a number of grounds for failure to state a claim. The court granted the motion, dismissing the complaint in its entirety and without conditions. Plaintiffs later decided to forgo their appellate rights, giving our Swedish clients complete victory.
Anthem US$1.85 billion appellate victory
We secured a unanimous victory in the Delaware Supreme Court for Anthem, Inc. on an appeal brought by its former merger partner, Cigna Corporation. The appeal followed a trial at which Anthem proved that Cigna willfully breached the Merger Agreement and defeated each of Cigna's claims against it. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision that Anthem did not owe Cigna the US$1.85 billion reverse termination fee.
Victory for UTC in SIAC arbitration
We secured victory for UTC Investment, a Korean private equity and venture capital firm, in a post-M&A SIAC arbitration. The claims arose out of breaches of misrepresentations, warranties and covenants by the seller in a private equity M&A transaction.
Milestone for shareholder activism in France
We advised London-based Amber Capital on the conclusion of a settlement agreement with Lagardère, putting an end to several judicial proceedings between the organizations. After investing in Lagardère and pushing for major corporate governance and strategy changes, the two entities found themselves involved in fierce judicial proceedings whereby Lagardère sought the protection of several “white knights,” including former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Vivendi and Financière Agache. In April 2021, Lagardère announced its proposal to change its governance structure into a French Société anonyme, a regular company with a regular board. The proposal was approved at Lagardère's general meeting, and the main shareholders—Amber Capital, Vivendi, Financière Agache and QIA—all now have seats on the board of directors.