Global 2016: Issue 1 | White & Case Alumni

Global 2016: Issue 1

This White & Case Alumni Newsletter includes alumni events in São Paulo and Miami, James Hurlock in memoriam, the new Boston office, a profile of Yvette Rodriguez, diversity and pro bono information and publications, among others.

Recent Alumni Events | In Memoriam | Upcoming Events | Firm News | New Lateral Partners | Alumni Spotlight | Partner Connection | Deal highlights | Firm Facts | Diversity Corner |  Thought Leadership | Pro Bono Corner


Recent Alumni Events

Global alumni events

Glasses were raised recently at alumni events in São Paulo and Miami.

São Paulo said hello to its many Brazilian alumni at its inaugural Brazil alumni event on March 3. A week later, on March 10, Miami held its first Miami Alumni Happy Hour at its high-rise office near the seafront. All alumni in the area were invited to the informal reception.

John Vetterli, who is Chair of the Firm's Global Alumni Committee, said: "We had an overwhelming response to our recent São Paulo alumni event, which was attended not only by São Paulo–based alumni but also those based in other locations such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. This is an impressive group of professionals who have gone on to have a lot of success since their time at the Firm. We are proud to have been part of their development, and it was great to reconnect with so many friends."

Regarding the Miami event, Victor Mendoza said: "The Miami alumni event was well attended and provided the perfect opportunity for our alumni and the Miami office's associates and partners to reconnect, reminisce and catch up on each other's personal and professional lives." A great time was had by all.

Photos - Miami, March 2016

Miami, March 2016

Alumni Newsletter: Spring 2016 - Miami, São Paulo, March 2016

 We hope to see many of you at future alumni events.


In Memoriam

James B. Hurlock

The following is a reprint of a message sent by Hugh Verrier to all White & Case employees on Friday, April 29, 2016.

former Chairman Jim HurlockDear colleagues:
I am writing to tell you more about our former Chairman Jim Hurlock, who died on Wednesday at the age of 82.
As Chairman from 1980–2000, Jim left his mark on the Firm and the legal industry, as he transformed White & Case into the truly global law firm we are today. Under his leadership, White & Case grew from 190 lawyers in six offices to more than 1,000 in 31 offices in 24 countries.
He was a brilliant lawyer who exemplified the internationalism, forward thinking, entrepreneurial spirit and determination that are at the heart of our Firm today. I had the great privilege of working with Jim for many years, and I saw firsthand the personal qualities that made him so effective, for his clients and as a leader of the Firm.
Alongside his intellect, Jim had the courage of his convictions. He had a strong sense of right and wrong, and once he had decided what was right, he held his position. Knowing they could rely on his judgment and advocacy, government leaders, CEOs and board members trusted his advice.

He brought these same qualities to the Firm, even before he was chosen to lead it. He pushed the Firm's leadership to seize the opportunities that globalization would create. He also fought to modernize the Firm, making it more business-like and competitive. He scrapped the unfunded pension plan for partners, changed the partner compensation system from lock-step to merit-based, and in 1984 moved the Firm's headquarters from Wall Street to the midtown Manhattan location where we are today.

These same qualities of leadership often led him to act heroically in looking after others. When an associate in our Brussels office and his family were in a serious car accident, Jim flew to Brussels from New York the next day, ensured they had top specialists looking after them, and took care of business in the office while they recovered. Those who knew Jim can recall many similar examples of his personal interventions, particularly when it came to the health and wellbeing of his colleagues.

To me, as a first-year associate in New York in 1983, he was a commanding figure, but one who gave me and many others the inspiration and encouragement to go beyond our own ambitions. A year after I joined, he sent me to Indonesia, putting me on course to become an international lawyer instead of returning to Canada as I had planned.

Jim joined White & Case in New York in 1959, upon graduating from Harvard Law School. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, where he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. Jim's experiences at Oxford—studying the Common Market and exploring post-war Europe—allowed him to foresee the internationalization of business and fueled his interest in being a part of it.

White & Case gave Jim the opportunity to work internationally, which is what attracted him to the Firm. As a junior associate, he worked on disputes over major projects in Saudi Arabia and India. Starting in 1963, when he and his young family moved to Paris, he spent 10 of his first 15 years with the Firm outside of the United States. He became a partner in 1967, opened White & Case's London office in 1971 and led it until 1975 when he returned to New York.

While in Europe, Jim had gained a reputation among his partners for pushing the Firm's New York leadership to action and confronting partners with whom he disagreed. In discussions about his return, one New York partner allegedly said: "You do understand that if we let him come back, we'll have to let him run the Firm." Five years later, he was elected Chairman.

In New York, Jim began working for the Central Bank of Indonesia, which was facing the first modern sovereign debt crisis. The successful rescheduling of the government's debt generated years of work for the Firm in Indonesia and launched its sovereign practice.

Jim went on to represent the governments of Turkey, Zaire, Gabon, Morocco, Nigeria, Bulgaria, Peru, Costa Rica, Poland and Croatia in debt reschedulings and buy backs, project financings, privatization programs and international arbitration matters. He believed it benefited both the countries and the banks to work out long-term solutions that kept the countries in good standing within the world financial system. He was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for helping the country out of an external debt crisis in 1994.

After his retirement from Firm management, Jim was interim CEO of Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group and a director and chairman of Orient-Express Hotels. He also served as deputy chairman of Acergy.

Throughout his life, Jim was active in serving the community. He was a founding board member of the International Development Law Organization and served as chairman from 2001–2004. He was a trustee of the the Corporation of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia Law School, where he also served as chairman. In 2010, the New York State Bar Association bestowed on him its Root/Stimson Award for exemplary commitment to community service.

Jim is survived by his wife of 55 years, Lyn, (nee Holding), three sons—James Bickford III, Burton Charls and Matthew Hunter—and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on May 12 at Christ Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, followed by a reception at the Field Club.

His family has requested that donations in his memory be made to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution or NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

For those who did not know Jim, I share this reflection on who he was and the difference he made in his lifetime as a way to understand the Firm we are today. It is hard to find words to capture the stature of the man, his impact on everyone who knew him, and the legacy he leaves behind, both at White & Case and in the legal industry.

 In so many ways, Jim was larger than life, an iconic figure even in his own time.


Upcoming Events


For more information on any of these events, please contact Graziella Reis-Trani at [email protected].

Annual New York Young Alumni Reception
5 May 2016

Turkey 30th Anniversary Alumni Party
31 May 2016

Germany Alumni Event in Hamburg
2 June 2016

Tokyo Alumni Reception
16 June 2016

Stockholm Alumni Summer Drinks
25 August 2016

Annual New York Alumni Reception
13 October 2016



Firm News

Firm establishes presence in Boston

White & Case opened an office in Boston in early April with the arrival of a team of White Collar partners. Michael Kendall, who takes up the role of Executive Partner in the Boston office, is joined by Kevin Bolan and Lauren Papenhausen. A fourth team member—Andrew Tomback—is based in our New York office.

"Boston is a well-established international business center, and is the home of many industries that are significant players in our global economy," says Firm Chairman Hugh Verrier. "Having a presence in Boston gives us an opportunity to work closely with clients on the ground on their most complex, cross-border work, which is in many respects at the heart of what we do best as a Firm."

The four partners were formerly with McDermott Will & Emery specializing in white collar and civil litigation. In white collar defense, they have a notable depth of capabilities with the False Claims Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and criminal antitrust, tax and securities matters. In civil litigation, they have experience in class actions, probate and antitrust matters, domestic and international arbitrations and private equity disputes. Our new partners also have extensive experience representing clients in the healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and energy industries.

Kendall was formerly an Assistant US Attorney in the District of Massachusetts for seven years. Tomback served as an Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York. "White collar and commercial litigation work, for which Mike, Kevin, Lauren and Andrew are particularly well regarded, are integral to our Disputes practice, an area we've specifically targeted for growth," said Executive Committee member Dave Koschik, who heads the Firm's US Growth Team. "We're particularly pleased that our new partners bring such deep trial experience."

Opening in Boston is part of White & Case's five-year strategy to expand in the United States. The new office is the Firm's sixth location in the US and the 39th globally.


2015 Annual Review and Social Responsibility Review now available

White & Case's 2015 Annual Review and Social Responsibility Review are now available online. Our Annual Review provides our lawyers' insights on the important issues facing businesses globally, an overview of the Firm's new strategy, descriptions of work we did for clients worldwide, and major Firm events and milestones in 2015. Our Social Responsibility Review highlights our pro bono work, community involvement and environmental sustainability efforts.

 You can access the Annual and Social Responsibility Reviews online at and


New Lateral Partners

Jan Andrusko
M&A – Corporate

Kevin Bolan
White Collar

Lindsey Canning
Intellectual Property

Michael Kendall
White Collar

Andrew Kreisberg
New York

Kristo Molina*
Capital Markets

Dennis Orr
Commercial Litigation
New York

Lauren Papenhausen
White Collar

Fajar Ramadhan*
Bank Finance

Benjamin Saul
Bank Advisory
Washington, DC

Andrew Tomback
White Collar
New York

Matthew Turnell
White Collar

Catherine Tsang
M&A – Corporate
Hong Kong

Yann Utzschneider

 *Partner in White & Case's associated law firm, Witara Cakra Advocates (WCA).


Alumni Spotlight

From New York associate to Hong Kong banking leader

Yvette Rodriguez was an associate in the New York office from 1999 to 2006. She is currently Director and Senior Counsel for Deutsche Bank AG in Hong Kong.

Yvette Rodriguez was an associateWhat are your responsibilities at Deutsche Bank AG?
I am part of Deutsche Bank's corporate finance legal team in Hong Kong, supporting our ECM, DCM and M&A businesses in the Asia Pacific region, excluding Japan.
How did you make the transition from a law firm to an in-house position?
I was seconded to Deutsche Bank in New York for a few months to cover a maternity leave. The team was small, so I had to jump in feet first. It was on-the-job training. The most difficult part of my job was familiarizing myself with the business and infrastructure groups and figuring out how decisions were made. Even today, I think most of our secondees struggle with learning this within a compressed amount of time. I must have done a good job because Deutsche Bank asked me to join them a year later. When I rejoined, the transition was quite easy. I only had to concentrate on getting my job done.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Managing bank risk on a daily basis. While I am a transactional lawyer, my job is not just about getting a transaction done but thinking about whether, against the backdrop of legal, regulatory and/or reputational risk, the transaction should be done in the first place. I find this challenging and interesting. Further, sitting in Asia, all my transactions are essentially cross-border, and I need to get a good grasp of the legal framework in the various jurisdictions I cover. For example, I've done Hong Kong, Philippine, Indonesian, Indian, Singapore and Malaysian IPOs. Seeing how the different regulators deal with a transaction is enlightening—and sometimes very challenging.
Yvette Rodriguez familyWhat is the most fulfilling project you've worked on in your career?
While I have worked on very interesting small transactions, it is hard not to put the Alibaba IPO on that list simply because of its landmark nature. My mom actually understood what I did, probably for the first time, when she asked me why I wasn't returning her phone calls for a few days and I told her we had just priced the Alibaba IPO.
Outside the office, how do you spend your time?
As a working mother, my time outside the office generally belongs to my family—and to my children in particular. While Hong Kong appears to be an urban jungle, there are surprisingly many opportunities to be active outdoors. Unless it is raining, we'll be out on a beach, by a pool or hiking the Hong Kong trails. Living in Asia has also made quick weekend trips around the region possible. My kids have been flying from the time they were born, so they have a bit of wanderlust in them.
Any words of advice for someone wanting to enter the legal area of the financial services sector?
If a secondment opportunity comes up, raise your hand. If you are a junior lawyer—let your partners know you are open to it. Banks have been relying quite heavily on secondees in the past years. It is a risk-free chance to find out whether an in-house role is something you'd want (and it isn't for everyone). An in-house experience also helps your CV stand out when banks are looking to hire—especially if that bank happens to be where you did your secondment! I'm speaking from personal experience. This isn't the only way to make a transition in-house, of course. Develop a good working relationship with your in-house counterparts.  When positions open up, you might get a call.


Partner Connection


Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Ipswich, in the East of England, and raised in the Lincolnshire Fens.
What was your first job?
A paper round. My "salary" was less than my weekly bill from the newsagent for the chocolate and drinks consumed while doing the paper round.
What first brought you to White & Case?
The opportunity to do all kinds of asset finance work in a small, friendly team.
Describe your role at White & Case
I am a partner in the Asset Finance team, specializing in rail and aviation finance and leasing. I also sit on the Global Alumni Committee, supporting our Alumni Programme in London.

Tell us two things about yourself
I love to go to concerts (most recently Barb Jungr). I can knit (scarves only, because they don't have to fit) and I learnt to milk cows while working on a Kibbutz in Israel after law school.

What's your favorite thing to do in London?
I love to go to Borough Market, for Ethiopian food and great coffee, followed by a trip to Tate Modern or the National Theatre on the Southbank.



Deal Highlights

China's Haier expands US presence with GE appliances acquisition

It took just 35 days for Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer Haier to acquire GE Appliances, in a deal that will enable Haier to establish a far greater presence in the US. We advised Haier on its US$5.4 billion acquisition, which was signed January 14.

Haier's interest in GE Appliances arose when antitrust problems terminated GE's acquisition by Sweden's Electrolux. When GE then set an auction to find a buyer, Haier was interested immediately.

But Haier wasn't the only party interested; the auction was as hotly contested as it was speedy. And it meant, for a large number of Firm lawyers, dropping everything to help Haier win the deal. "The work in the 35 days from start to finish was intense," says Beijing-based partner Vivian Tsoi, who co-led the team with Shanghai-based partner Alex Zhang and New York–based partners Greg Pryor and Dan Latham.

The deal will also see Haier and GE cooperate worldwide to expand their reach in healthcare, advanced manufacturing and the industrial sectors. With rights to use the GE brand granted for 40 years, the deal "establishes a model for cross-border investment and cooperation between China and the United States," said a Haier spokesperson.


Icelandic Bank Kaupthing hf. completes landmark years-long restructuring

Iceland's Kaupthing Bank hf. first entered into Icelandic insolvency proceedings in 2008 with liabilities of more than US$45 billion and creditors in more than 100 countries. It is one of largest-ever bank insolvencies in the world.

Since 2011, we have been representing Kaupthing hf., the entity that holds the foreign assets of the failed bank following the establishment of Arion Banki hf., which was carved out of Kaupthing as the Icelandic bank. After four years, a composition proposal was overwhelmingly approved by senior unsecured creditors and subsequently confirmed by the Reykjavik District Court on December 15, 2015, bringing the restructuring to a close and enabling the distribution of billions of euros in cash, as well as other instruments, to those creditors.

"White & Case has been representing Kaupthing as international restructuring legal counsel since 2011, and the completion of the restructuring represents the culmination of years of working with our client on this highly sophisticated transaction," said London-based partner Christian Pilkington, who co-led the Firm's deal team with Richard Pogrel, Rob Bennett and Laura Prater. "It represents the very best of White & Case, helping a client navigate the significant complexities of a large, cross-border transaction that involved English law, New York law and a multitude of different local laws, as well as the competing interests of stakeholders, to achieve a successful outcome."


Firm Facts

One of the Firm's founders, Justin DuPratt White, in 1934 was the first White & Case partner to take a case to the US Supreme Court. White represented New York Trust Company in the case Helvering v. New York Trust Co., 292 U.S. 455 (1934), which involved the definition of capital assets under the terms of a statute limiting the tax rate on gain from the sale of capital assets. White won the case for our client.



Diversity Corner

Diversity update

As previously reported, for the second consecutive year, the Firm was honored to have been named as the most diverse firm in the United States by The American Lawyer's 2015 Diversity Scorecard. This reflects many of our recent and ongoing efforts. 2015 saw: …

The launch of a new affinity group—"Colorful"— for those of minority/ethnic backgrounds in Germany;

New partnerships with Aspiring Solicitors and Rare Recruitment Ltd., leading organizations in the UK that connects exceptional people from diverse backgrounds with jobs in top organizations;

The beginning of our partnership with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity's (SEO) Career Program, a summer internship program targeting talented undergrads and pre-law candidates of color, through which we welcomed our first SEO intern, Olesegun Babatunde, currently a 1L at Harvard Law School;

A number of diversity-related programs and seminars, including programs on Business Development and Gender with Dr. Arin Reeves, and "Growing Global Executives: The New Competencies," with Ripa Rashid of the Center for Talent Innovation; and

Our Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and panel discussion, featuring alumna Priscilla Almodovar, now Managing Director and Head of Community Development Banking Business at JPMorgan Chase.

And 2016 has gotten off to an equally strong start:

In February, we hosted multiple programs across our US offices to celebrate Black History Month, including a conversation with Malissia R. Clinton, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Aerospace Corporation, who discussed civil rights in America through the lens of her family's history;

In April, we partnered with Ms. JD, a national organization in the US dedicated to the success of aspiring and early career women lawyers, and cohosted a presentation and panel on intergenerational relationships in the workplace, featuring partner Nazim Zilkha, associate Caitlin Colesanti and White & Case OnRamp Fellow Demetra Frawley, in addition to Katie Larkin-Wong of Ms. JD, Aisha Christian of Rent the Runway and Jennifer Muñoz of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

We look forward to hosting two 1Ls as Diversity Fellows this summer through a newly created 1L Litigation Diversity Fellowship launched by Regional Section Heads Peter Carney and Scott Hershman in partnership with two Firm clients, Adobe and Hilton Worldwide.

Alumni are welcome at our events and programs throughout the year. Please contact Maja Hazell ([email protected]), the Firm's global Director of Diversity and Inclusion, if you would like additional information about the Firm's Diversity and Women's Initiatives. Also, stay tuned for information on US Diversity Week, London Diversity Week and Diversity Speaker Series programs to come later this year.


Thought Leadership

The blockchain revolution in financial services

Interest in blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, exploded in 2015. Numerous financial institutions, including many of the world's major banks, launched initiatives to explore its potential.

In its first application, blockchain is a decentralized, public ledger that contains the details of every Bitcoin transaction that has ever been completed. Large financial institutions began to take note when it became clear that blockchain can be used to document the transfer of any digital asset, record the ownership of physical and intellectual property, and establish rights through smart contracts, among other applications.

Financial institutions are exploring a variety of opportunities to use blockchain, including applications to improve and enhance currency exchange, supply chain management, trade execution and settlement, remittance, peer-to-peer transfers, micropayments, asset registration, correspondent banking and regulatory reporting (including applications related to "know your customer" and anti-money-laundering rules).

Our article "Beyond Bitcoin: The blockchain revolution in financial services" provides a brief introduction to blockchain and discusses some areas that are getting the most attention from financial institutions and regulators that are considering how to implement the technology.

New customs opportunities and challenges in Europe

For the first time in more than 20 years, the European Union (EU), the world's largest trader of manufactured goods and services, is changing the rules on how to access its market of 500 million consumers. Starting in May 2016, every business that transfers goods in or out of the EU must understand and comply with a new framework of customs rules: the Union Customs Code (UCC). Some of the UCC's changes will create opportunities for EU importers and exporters, while others will make the customs process more difficult for certain businesses. And companies as far away as Asia and the Americas may feel the UCC's effects. More information can be found in our article "Trade in the balance: Europe's new Union Customs Code."





Pro Bono Corner

Inclusive finance

The following is an excerpt from an article in the Firm's 2015 Social Responsibility Review.

To read the full article, please visit

White & Case lawyers are working with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, a global nonprofit, to increase access to financial services for the poor by changing the regulatory environment.

Financial inclusion is key to integrating the unbanked into the formal economy, which helps alleviate poverty, makes the poor less vulnerable to financial shocks, raises living standards for all and reduces economic inequality

New York partner of counsel Sylvia Chin has long had a global pro bono practice focused on financial inclusion. Recruited by Duane Wall on almost her first day to work with a new pro bono client called Women's World Banking (WWB), she has advised it ever since. WWB is a global nonprofit providing lowincome women with access to the financial tools they need to build security and prosperity.

Over time, Sylvia and colleagues at WWB found that women in some countries struggle to access microfinance as a result of their local regulatory environments. They learned that the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) was engaged in a project to map the regulatory environment for its member countries.

Set up and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2008, AFI is now an independent network of central banks and financial regulatory institutions from more than 90 developing countries, representing more than 85 percent of the 2.5 billion unbanked, most of whom live in poverty. AFI is the largest global knowledge-sharing network designed for financial inclusion policymakers from developing countries.

The work was suited to the global network of White & Case, and both White & Case and WWB have been working with AFI to assist in gathering information from each member country about financial inclusion policies to create a shared learning platform that will drive the development and implementation of more inclusive regulations.

The project is ongoing. Initial research is undertaken by White & Case lawyers using publicly available information. It is then reviewed by AFI experts, before local regulators are approached for further discussion and to confirm the information is accurate. White & Case lawyers conduct these interviews with the local regulators and review and complete the final research document for each country.

Retired White & Case partners are invited to collaborate with our lawyers on the next round of updates to the platform. Please contact global pro bono manager Patrick Rickerfor ([email protected]) to learn more.


Click here to download Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2016.



Stay in touch

We want to hear from you about your new jobs, promotions, life events, personal milestones, publications, recognitions and updates to your contact information. Connect with your fellow alumni via the White & Case groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Let's talk

Can you think of ways we could improve our alumni program? Do you want to share thoughts on your alumni experience so far? Why not give us a call or join us in person for a chat?

John Vetterli, Global Alumni Program Leader
Graziella Reis-Trani, Alumni Program Manager



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