07 White & Case
White & Case remained active throughout 2015; in its latest promotion round the firm announced 31 new partners from nine of the firm’s global practices across 15 cities. Highlight deals include advising FRHI Holdings, Qatar Investment Authority and Kingdom Holding Company of Saudi Arabia on the $2.9 billion stock-and-cash sale of FRHI, the parent company of luxury hotel brands Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel, to AccorHotels; advising Panasonic on $1.545 billion acquisition of Hussmann Corporation; and advising on a $400 million roadway project in Peru.
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
White & Case is our Arbitration Law Firm of the Year 2016 in recognition of its deep bench of highly experienced lawyers specialising in the field. Lawyers are based in the key arbitral centres of New York, DC, London, Paris, Stockholm and Singapore. Furthermore, there is additional on-the-ground capability in Mexico City, Miami, Frankfurt, Warsaw, Moscow, Hong Kong, Tokyo and beyond.
Paul Friedland has served as global head of the practice since 2002 and is a “trailblazer” in the area. His practice involves serving as counsel or as arbitrator in both commercial and investor-state arbitrations. He is best known for his successful representation of SGS in an ICSID claim against Paraguay, which resulted in a landmark decision that expands the potential protection afforded to foreign investors under international law. Carolyn Lamm is a “favourite” among clients who appreciate her “astute mind” and “problem-solving approach” to matters. She serves as lead counsel in high-stakes cases, as well as serving as lead counsel in arbitration-related litigation matters. Michael Polkinghorne in Paris is “fantastic for energy disputes” while Christopher Seppälä is “as good as it gets for construction arbitration”.
The firm is renowned for its financing capabilities, having worked on cutting-edge transactions such as the first acquisition of a US bank by a mainland China bank where the firm represented Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in its acquisition of an 80 per cent interest in The Bank of East Asia National Association. We list leading practitioners for their banking, project finance and aviation finance expertise.
As the head of Asia, and of the firm’s global banking practice, Eric Berg represents lenders, sponsors and corporate borrowers in domestic and international finance transactions. He is a “market leader” praised for his “impressive technical abilities”. Ernest Patrikis in New York advises on US regulatory issues impacting the banking sector including the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. He is “always up to date on the latest developments” and clients appreciate his “deep insight into the industry”. Donald Baker in São Paulo is a “hands-on” finance lawyer specialising in capital markets offerings and corporate finance transactions. He is “very active” throughout the Latin American region and is considered a “point of reference” in the market. In the aviation finance market Richard Smith Jr is “internationally renowned” for his work on aircraft and equipment finance and leasing. He also has experience in Islamic financings and Japanese operating and leverage leases. London-based Adrian Beasley specialises in asset finance and leasing transaction in the aviation industry and regularly represents banks, export credit agencies, leasing companies and operators. Clients have included CIT Group, Jackson Square Aviation and the Thomas Cook Group.
Project finance lawyer Jason Kerr works with clients in markets across Central Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He heads the EMEA energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance group. He is joined by Arthur Scavone and Philip Stopford, who also feature for their project finance expertise, in addition to their experience in the energy industry. Scavone is the global head of the firm’s energy, infrastructure and project finance group and clients benefit from his vast experience in the sector representing sponsors, commercial banks, underwriters, export credit agencies and other bilateral and multilateral agencies. The “solutions-driven” Stopford chairs the firm’s strategic growth council and in his practice focuses on projects and transactions across the globe assisting with the preparation of concession agreements, tender documents, construction, finance and security documents, and necessary contracts. Earle O’Donnell is a leading “energy law specialist” who aids clients across a range of matters from advisory work to litigation and transactions. Troy Alexander also comes highly recommended for his experience in project finance and energy deals. His experience includes more than three years in Jakarta working on public and private sector matters which lends him a “valuable insight into doing business in the Asia-Pacific region”.
Each year White & Case advises around 400 non-governmental organisations assisting with their legal needs such as contracts, IP, employment, real estate, tax and social impact investments. A testament to the firm’s focus on this area is the increase in the number of NGO pro bono clients – up 38 per cent in five years.
“We depend on our global, one-firm culture to channel this diversity and use it to serve our equally diverse clients,” says chairman Hugh Verrier. One of the firm’s diversity groups is the US Black Affinity Group, which seeks to promote awareness of the experience, culture and history of Black Americans. Each February, the group hosts a series of cultural and legal events to celebrate Black History Month.