2021 Annual Review

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

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


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


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

114 nationalities
91 languages spoken


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 
on matters in 


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
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.

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


4 min read

Bill Emmott is co-director of the Global Commission for Post-Pandemic Policy, a non-profit non-partisan organization of scholars, scientists and others convened to consider the wide-ranging issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Emmott, an author and former editor-in-chief of The Economist, spoke to White & Case about redefining the new normal during an October 2021 virtual event for our Tokyo office. 

We spoke with him about globalization, economic realities and business scenario planning in a world that is not yet post-pandemic. An edited and condensed version of that conversation follows.

You’ve described the pandemic as ”perpetual.“ What do you mean by that?

I don’t mean that it will last forever. Pandemics never last forever. But we are in a long-term pandemic and have to adapt. Government policy in all countries is still playing catch-up and dealing with the virus as it develops, rather than gaining control of the virus. That makes it impossible to know whether this pandemic will go away or return. We also have to acknowledge that the world is not just facing the pandemic, but rather, four intersecting, self-reinforcing crises simultaneously. One is the pandemic itself—a biological crisis. Two is the environmental crisis. The biological and environmental crises are closely linked, as global population growth has enabled diseases like the coronavirus to jump from wildlife to humans. The third crisis could be described as a crisis of truth—the disbelief in expertise and science, which is especially critical in the United States, the world’s leading economy. Finally, there is the growing divide between the two great superpowers, the US and China.

How has the pandemic affected globalization?

Globalization has been less affected by the pandemic than we might have expected. Some of the retreat from globalization had already happened, particularly the trade tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on exports from China, the impact of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and the general weakening of the World Trade Organization. While the pandemic limited the free movement of people, thanks to technology, the movement of ideas was not hindered. Free movement of intellectual property was as rapid as ever. We saw that in the collaborations between companies to develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Although trade in goods was hindered, it was due to issues like staffing in ports and airports, and not to deliberate government policy. So, although there are threats to globalization, it should continue to be a major force of our times.

What are the threats to globalization?

Climate change is one. Much of the effort to deal with climate change will involve the imposition of carbon taxes and there will be questions about how that translates into trade policy. This could lead to protectionism and trade blockages. But the most important threat is the potential that technology could develop along two separate tracks, one for China and one for the West. New technology transfer barriers have been set up between the West and China. So far, they have not had a big impact on international trade, but the potential exists. In addition, there is a sense of diverging standards surrounding technology in different regions of the world. A world in which you have separate standards is one with less free movement and less globalization.

How would you characterize the global economic recovery from the pandemic so far?

It has been remarkably fast, but highly divergent. Advanced economies have recovered very rapidly, and countries in the developing world—in Latin America, Africa and the lower- and middle-income Asia-Pacific countries—are still suffering from slumps. This situation suggests that in the next few years we should see some risk of sovereign debt crises in the weaker economies. Sovereign debt crises may be triggered by rising interest rates on US dollar borrowings. Alongside that, and one reason why US borrowing rates are likely to rise, we’re seeing rapid cost inflation in international trade, caused by pandemic-related supply chain problems in many countries. Over time, these may ease, but if we see this as a perpetual pandemic, we have to also assume there will be continued supply chain interruptions as the pandemic evolves.

What can businesses do to deal with the pandemic?

We have to incorporate all aspects of the pandemic into business planning, especially the newest aspect, which has been government-imposed restrictions globally. In the past, scenario planning looked at government regulation and policy, but very few companies considered the possibility that governments would impose restrictions on travel into and out of countries or sudden regulations about working hours in response to health threats. This uncertainty of government behavior affects companies of all kinds, and corporate boards will need to incorporate it into all of their plans.

Photo by Keith Ladzinski © Bespoke Reps Licensing
A walk along the Seine River in Paris