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

What have we learned from COVID-19?

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


4 min read

Syra Madad, an epidemiologist and pathogens preparedness expert, spoke to White & Case about pandemic preparedness and vaccine science during a February 2021 virtual event for our offices in the Americas. She serves as senior director, system-wide special pathogens program at NYC Health and Hospitals and is a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Boston University’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy & Research.

We talked to Madad about combatting misinformation, how businesses can help fight pandemics and how the secondary effects of COVID-19 will shape the world for years to come. An edited and condensed version of that conversation follows.

How can we fight the misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines that have proliferated since you spoke to us in early 2021?

First, it’s important to note that while these issues are more front and center in the United States, it’s a problem around the world and is causing this pandemic to go on for longer than it needs to. So while we have to combat it globally, in the US we’re seeing the results of our failure to engage with local communities early on. Community engagement is critical to fighting misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines.

What exactly is ”community engagement?“

Through community engagement, trusted messengers educate the public to promote measures that prevent and control viral spread. For example, local faith-based organizations or community centers can be leveraged and given the tools to educate the people they serve. Community engagement provides clear science-based communications that address cultural barriers, like language, and help people understand why it’s important to, for example, wear a mask. It meets people where they are. In the US, we’ve used community education to increase vaccination rates, but we didn’t use it early in the pandemic, which is one reason why there was so much bad information.

How can businesses play a role in responding to COVID-19—and future pandemics?

A lot needs to happen in the occupational work space to create healthier, safer environments—independent of COVID-19. But COVID-19 emphasized the importance of good ventilation and air quality. It’s also important for companies to infuse education into the workplace. Today we’re dealing with COVID-19, but we deal with so many other things every year, like seasonal flu and severe storms. So companies need an all-hazards approach that protects their workforce. It’s important to recognize that businesses function best when their employees are healthy and safe. That means providing resources like paid sick leave or the ability to work from home when necessary.

In addition to changing the way many people work, what are some enduring effects of COVID-19?

It has impacted everything from the way we interact with each other to how we look at other infectious diseases. For example, it’s had a significant impact on tuberculosis. Data shows that, with so many resources going toward COVID-19 and less attention paid to other diseases, 1.2 million fewer people were diagnosed with and treated for TB in 2021 compared to 2019. That’s a huge issue because TB kills about 4,000 people a day around the world. Looking generally at vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, COVID-19 put our progress back at least a decade and we’re seeing a record low number of routine vaccination rates worldwide. It’s also had a huge impact on mental health. And then there’s long COVID itself. Data shows that at least one in three people infected with COVID-19 suffer long-term consequences. We don’t yet know how long those symptoms will last. There’s a lot we still don’t know, but we’re learning more every day.

Are we better prepared for the next pandemic?

We’ve made progress. In the US, the Biden administration set a goal of developing a vaccine in response to the next threat within 100 days and then being able to deliver that vaccine in another 100 days. The administration also invested US$65 billion, which really is a down payment, in looking at how to prevent future pandemics. Things like this can help us better prepare. But at the end of the day, two things can continue to undermine everything we do in terms of future emergencies. One is people’s behavior—what they do to protect themselves and their neighbors. You can’t accomplish anything without investing more in people, which gets back to the need for community engagement. The second is political leadership. In the US, any federal administration isn’t around for more than eight years. If the next administration doesn’t care about science or pandemic preparedness, any gains we’ve made will go down the drain. So when we elect our leaders—tomorrow, 20 or 100 years from now, we need to choose people who will sustain our progress. 

Photo by Andreea Alexandru  © Associated Press
Lights inside COVID-19 vaccine containers shine beside empty containers stacked to resemble a Christmas tree