Pioneering, United, Human—the values we live by at White & Case
These are our core values—concepts that reflect our history, shape our distinctive culture and differentiate us from others. They capture the unique spirit of our Firm, and guide the behaviors that enable us to deliver on the promises we make to our clients and our people.
Scroll down to hear White & Case partners reveal what Pioneering, United and Human mean to all of us.
Our values—expressing the spirit of White & Case
We closed in on a list of concepts that are most relevant to how we do business and how we serve our clients
“Values” have always been a part of what makes White & Case what it is. And values are key to understanding what makes White & Case, White & Case.
Our values are guiding concepts that not only differentiate us from others, but also capture the unique spirit of how we work together in our Firm. As part of our strategy, we launched a formal project to set out and explain our values. We saw the link between our values and the promises we make to our people at the global level, what we call our “Employee Value Proposition.”
We performed a deep exploration—in conversation with our partners, lawyers and business services teams globally—to explore and surface the ideas that best describe our Firm. After more than 450 consultations over an 18-month period, we closed in on a list of concepts that are most relevant to how we do business and how we serve our clients.
From there, Hugh Verrier, as Chair of our Firm, focused down to just three key words that best embody the many ideas that came out in our exploration.
So at our 2020 Global Partner Meeting, Hugh launched a formal expression of our values with a challenge, saying now that we have articulated who we are as a Firm, we can imagine who we will become.
At White & Case, these are the values by which we live and work: Pioneering, United, Human.
You won’t find these same words listed as values on the websites of our competitors. They immediately spoke to our people: how we interact with our clients, our communities and with each other. And that’s the beauty of this set of three words that encompasses who we are and who we want to be.
Pioneering—innovation for success
We are now seeing new, exciting models develop in terms of the way we work together with our clients to deliver value
Pioneering is part of the DNA of the Firm. Most important, being a pioneer requires a certain mindset. One needs to be open to new ideas. One needs to be curious. One needs to be passionate about finding new and better ways to do things. And then one needs to be brave enough to actually implement the new ideas.
We’re lucky at White & Case because many of our senior leaders, including Hugh Verrier, our Chair, spent the early part of their careers building the Firm’s global network, opening offices around the world, building a new way of working across borders. So we have a lot of pioneers leading the Firm, and that has a big impact on the culture of the Firm.
So what does pioneering mean to us today?
On the legal front, we pride ourselves on being the first to do something. Clients come to us because they believe we are the best at helping them navigate incredibly complex, cross-border transactions and disputes. And we take great pride in being legal pioneers.
But pioneering also is about how we deliver our legal innovation, in a way that meets the client’s needs in terms of costs and efficiency. We have a number of great tools to do this. How we staff the work. Using AI and other cutting-edge legal technologies, and applying project management fundamentals to properly budget, and then manage against those budgets.
Of course, having the tools is one thing, but real innovation happens when we co-design new ways of working with our clients. What will deliver value in the eyes of that specific client? Through that collaborative process, we are now seeing new, exciting models develop in terms of the way we work together with our clients to deliver value.
And that is probably the most exciting way that we can deliver on the pioneering spirit for the benefit of the Firm and our clients.
We have an ability that I think is unparalleled in our profession to provide consistent, exceptional service to clients anywhere in the world
For me, the White & Case value of United has always meant working on a team, being part of a team. Maybe it’s a small team, like a case team or a practice team. Maybe it’s a large, multijurisdictional team, or maybe even a team like the Global Women’s Initiative or the Firm’s affinity networks.
I’ve always played sports. And I know that, just as in sports, in law it’s essential to be part of a good team, a team that’s united, a team that works together. It’s how you win, it’s how you succeed for your clients. It’s also how you know you’re part of something bigger than yourself, something important.
At White & Case, that team is global. We have an ability that I think is unparalleled in our profession to provide consistent, exceptional service to clients anywhere in the world, no matter how many different jurisdictions, legal specialties and industries the clients’ needs may encompass.
We can meet highly complex, cross-border engagements head-on, with a cohesive team bringing the full array of experience and knowledge required to secure the best possible outcome for our clients.
And at White & Case, a united team means everyone: associates, legal assistants, business services staff, everyone—and especially our clients. We involve our clients by soliciting and embracing their input on strategy, advocacy and execution. Clients are smart. And we’re smart enough to listen to them.
In every challenge we take on at White & Case, we are united around an overarching, common goal of exceptional client service, and we achieve and exceed that goal through the diversity of thought, input, experience and vision you can only get from a true team, a united team. White & Case is special that way. And that’s why I’m here.
Where diversity is celebrated, where it’s okay to be human, everyone is free to be their authentic selves—that’s my experience of White & Case
Human. How is White & Case human? This is an interesting question, and one which I ponder while I sit in my current makeshift office. The first thing that springs to mind when I think of White & Case and its sense of humanity is that it’s a place where people can be their true, authentic selves.
We work on so many different matters, we gain so much rich exposure to people from different cultures and backgrounds—not just through our collaborations with clients but also through our collaborations with White & Case colleagues all over the world.
We often work on matters with very long lead times—four, five years is not uncommon—so during that time we build deep, lasting relationships with clients and colleagues alike. We are incredibly responsive to our clients, and so of course they feel comfortable with us, and us with them, and a mutual empathy grows between us.
That close relationship, really almost a family-type relationship, is one of the reasons we enjoy so much repeat business. And that habit of building deep relationships with people from other cultures, people who are different from us, bleeds into White & Case’s internal cultures and makes embracing difference a reflex, a habit.
As for my colleagues, we are family. I go into each new challenge knowing my White & Case colleagues are the very best in their jurisdictions. I know I can count on each of them, and they know they can count on me.
That’s no accident. Our leadership nurtures these kinds of relationships from the top down. White & Case is, in my view, genuinely unique when it comes to being open and transparent with its lawyers and its staff. We all have a great deal of visibility on the Firm’s performance, its value structure and key areas targeted for growth. This is because the Firm’s leadership have recognized that a united house, where all stakeholders are pulling in the same direction and have a shared vision, is truly a powerful force.
Our upward feedback program shows that everyone’s view matters—a 20-year partner gets feedback from a trainee, and this feedback is taken seriously. Our Firm’s diversity programs remind us again and again that difference is good, variety in people is good, and we all benefit together.
Where diversity is celebrated, where it’s okay to be human, everyone is free to be their authentic selves. That’s my experience of White & Case.