Expansion of geographic reach
Profile: Bob Grondine
Widening range of opportunities
Profile: Eberhard Meincke
Building the client base
Social Responsibility
Serving the Public Good
George Case and DuPratt White instilled in those around them an ethos of civic duty.
bankers steuben eagle on a ball
Given to White  & Case by the JPMorgan Private Bank team at the Firm’s centennial celebration at Christie’s on May 1, 2001.
An important and enduring aspect of the Firm’s culture is the longstanding ethos of the Firm’s lawyers of giving back to society and the wider world. DuPratt White and George Case believed strongly that, as lawyers, they should apply their skills not just for the good of their clients but also in the public interest. Their public-spiritedness underpinned everything about the Firm.
metropolitan opera house, 1954
Over the years, White & Case lawyers have provided considerable pro bono assistance to the Metropolitan Opera, including Colonel Hartfield, whose contribution is recognized on a plaque at the center of the grand tier railing; Lowell Wadmond, who was president for 15 years; Irving Olds, who assisted with fundraising; and Win Rutherfurd, who has served for many years as chair of The Metropolitan Opera Guild.
DuPratt White was civic-minded to the core. He pursued many projects over the course of his career, and in 1900 he embarked on one of the great crusades of his life: the preservation of the majestic cliffs, or palisades, that stretch along the western bank of the Hudson River from the George Washington Bridge northward to Piermont, New York.
George Case focused much of his pro bono work and charitable board service on the American Red Cross. He was appointed by U.S. President Wilson to the seven-member Red Cross War Council during World War I, and after the war he helped Harry Davison form the federation of individual national Red Cross Societies that is now the IFRC.
Responding individually
“The greatest thing a global law firm can do is build the rule of law around the world.”
Hugh Verrier
vintage postcard of the palisades
A more recent connection between the Firm and the Red Cross occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. With devastating impact, Sandy had struck the New Jersey shoreline and the lower part of New York City. An associate in the Firm’s Washington, D.C. office, Jonathan Ulrich, canceled his vacation to volunteer for the relief efforts. He participated in the distribution of supplies, eventually becoming the coordinator of a fleet of 70 trucks and 100 volunteers that delivered two million items of food, water and basic necessities. He was presented with a Red Cross Exceptional Volunteer Service Award. Ensuring access to justice through pro bono activity has always been one of the Firm’s core values and found its most vocal advocate in Orison Marden. His work for the Legal Aid Society of New York and similar organizations for four and a half decades was exemplary. Rick Holwell vividly recalls that, when he arrived at the Firm in 1971, Marden was still taking on legal aid and pro bono cases. “Orison was then about 65, a charming man and quietly spoken but absolutely dedicated to the cause of helping those who would not otherwise get legal representation and redressing injustice. Every Tuesday evening, young lawyers from the Firm would go to a legal aid office in Harlem and take on cases. My very first trial was a custody dispute in a Bronx County Court, not your typical White & Case matter.” Holwell also led a celebrated class action alleging race and sex discrimination by the Long Island Railroad. As Marden himself said, “In helping to carry out a program dedicated to the principle of equal justice for all, we have nothing to lose and much to gain.”
american red cross poster, 1918
Carolyn Lamm is one of the White & Case lawyers who have maintained the longstanding Firm tradition of outstanding contribution to the legal profession. As president of the American Bar Association during the 2009–2010 year, she followed in the footsteps of Orison Marden, who was president in 1966–1967. Before and after her year in the ABA’s highest office, Carolyn participated in other key roles for the ABA, including serving on the board of governors and chairing for one year the standing committee on federal judiciary, which vets the U.S. president’s nominees to the federal bench. In her professional practice, Carolyn is renowned as an international litigation and arbitration specialist of high repute who for more than three decades with the Firm has represented many governments in their disputes. She also founded and led for many years the Firm’s international trade practice.
Carolyn Lamm
Carolyn Lamm is one of the White & Case lawyers who have maintained the longstanding Firm tradition of outstanding contribution to the legal profession. As president of the American Bar Association during the 2009–2010 year, she followed in the footsteps of Orison Marden, who was president in 1966–1967.
Responding in teams
This service to the community and the profession was for the most part undertaken by these lawyers individually, acting on their own beliefs and initiative, and many lawyers have engaged in similar activity through the Firm’s history for the same reason. The Firm has always encouraged individual commitment to pro bono and community activity. As its geographic reach expanded and its practice areas became global, it also encouraged its lawyers to work in teams on pro bono and community matters, both locally and across borders. A particularly good example of a high-impact pro bono team activity is the debt-for-nature swap work done by lawyers in the Firm’s project finance practice. The U.S. Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) enables the U.S. government to forgive debt owed to the United States by another country in exchange for the commitment of that country to devote a specified amount of money to environmental conservation. The Firm put its sovereign debt restructuring experience in this area to good use by helping conservation groups such as The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International facilitate debt-for-nature swaps. In 2009, the Firm’s lawyers in Miami, Paris and New York advised on a $30 million debt-for-nature swap in Indonesia, the first for Indonesia and at the time the largest deal done under the TFCA. Led by partner Wendell Maddrey, a team of White & Case lawyers specializing in debt-for-nature swaps emerged, which as of 2016 had advised pro bono on deals with Indonesia, Costa Rica and Guatemala worth a total of $200 million.
In 1982–1983, Carolyn Lamm and a small team represented on a pro bono basis the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Maya Lin, in a dispute over the precise design of the monument. Lin felt that the nearby statue of soldiers and a flag should not impinge visually on the monument, a position that was opposed by some Vietnam veterans groups, who wanted a flag at the apex of the memorial and realistic images of soldiers down in the memorial looking up at it. Feelings ran high, but the National Capital Planning Commission, which has jurisdiction over all monuments built on the Washington Mall, sided with the designer. By way of thanks, Lin gave the Firm her sketch of the memorial.
Marden also believed lawyers should work to improve the legal profession and is one of the few lawyers who have served as president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Carolyn Lamm shares this view and became president of the American Bar Association in the 2009–2010 year after serving for many years on a number of its committees. Hal Fales was another White & Case partner with Bar connections, serving as president of the New York State Bar Association in 1983. Fales was president of the Pierpont Morgan Library in Manhattan and chairman of St. Barnabas Hospital, the Bronx. He worked with the National Center for State Courts and the Fund for Modern Courts, seeking to streamline the court process. He worked on behalf of women prisoners for the Women’s Prison Association. He also worked for the Legal Aid Society, which he described as his “old love.” Three former White & Case partners have achieved the distinction of becoming federal judges: Paul Friedman, who became a federal district court judge in 1994, sitting in the District of Columbia; Allan Gropper, who was appointed as a U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Southern District of New York in 2000; and Rick Holwell, who became a federal district court judge in 2003, sitting in the Southern District of New York.

illustration of the vietnam veterans memorial in washington, D.C., by maya lin
Inscription on the front of the drawing reads: “To Carolyn, John, Bob, Parvin and White & Case for their help and support in keeping the memorial as it should be.” Maya Ying Lin

Responding as a firm
While the Firm was proud of its pro bono and community activities at the individual and team levels, in 2009, at the instigation of Hugh Verrier, who had become Chair of the Firm two years earlier, the Firm moved its pro bono and community activities into a new phase. Verrier recruited the Firm’s first head of social responsibility, Jo Weiss, to provide senior staff leadership for a global initiative covering among other things pro bono work, legal education and the encouragement of volunteer activity by lawyers and staff. The magic circle firms in London had made moves in this direction, but White & Case was the first U.S. firm to make such a serious and public commitment to the full range of corporate social responsibility issues. Within two years, several other U.S. firms had taken note and followed suit in a trend that continues to escalate. In an equally innovative move, in 2010, Hugh Verrier made pro bono one of the Firm’s 13 global practices and appointed Ian Forrester as global practice leader. That meant operating the Firm’s pro bono activity in the same way as other practice areas, underpinned by formal structures, regular meetings, firmwide communication and rigorous monitoring of progress. Forrester observes that the goal was to bring together the many disparate and excellent pro bono initiatives under one coordinated program: “Almost all the offices were doing pro bono activities of some description or another, but no one knew what everyone else was doing. New matters that were worthy but random came from local initiatives. We also thought we were not using our skills and network to the fullest extent because we were not harnessing the potential of our cross-border, multicultural capability.” Forrester recruited partners and lawyers around the world to help champion and guide the practice. They set a strategy focused on three types of pro bono work: activities to provide justice and promote human rights; serving non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofit bodies that address social or environmental issues; and cross-border research projects, legal education and advisory work to help emerging democracies build legal institutions and embed the rule of law. Criteria were agreed upon to determine the matters that would be taken on and the organizations that would be supported. The Firm’s pro bono program is as comprehensive, extensive and far-reaching as that of any global law firm. Each year, White & Case lawyers contribute in total almost 90,000 hours of legal time to pro bono activities. “Pro bono is woven into the fabric of the Firm,” notes Forrester. “The commitment to society was laid down by our founders, and we are proud to continue that tradition of contributing to the greater good.” When Forrester left the Firm in October 2015 to become the UK’s judge at the General Court of the European Union, Jacqui MacLennan succeeded him as the leader of the Firm’s global pro bono practice. Reflecting Forrester’s sentiments, MacLennan notes: “Pro bono is valued just as much today as when the Firm was founded, and I’m pleased that in 2016 all of our offices participated in pro bono activities for the fourth year in a row. This demonstrates our success in making our pro bono practice global, even in countries where engaging in pro bono activity is not a part of the law firm culture.”
“Pro bono is valued just as much today as when the Firm was founded.”
Jacqui MacLennan
White & Case and 9/11
The strength of the Firm’s pro bono commitment came to the fore in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. In response, the Firm set up the White & Case September 11th Fund with an initial endowment of $500,000, which it supplemented on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis for all additional contributions from White & Case lawyers, staff, clients and friends from around the world. A total of $700,000 was finally raised and donated. The Firm’s lawyers provided more than 3,000 hours of pro bono advice on some 50 distinct matters, the equivalent of about $1 million. The work included advising on the establishment of foundations for the benefit of victims and their families and establishing the 29th Street Firefighters Relief Fund. The Firm also provided general planning and coordinating support to the City Bar Fund, a unit of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, which led the efforts of New York’s legal community in its response to September 11th.
metropolitan opera house, 1954
Over the years, White & Case lawyers have provided considerable pro bono assistance to the Metropolitan Opera, including Colonel Hartfield, whose contribution is recognized on a plaque at the center of the grand tier railing; Lowell Wadmond, who was president for 15 years; Irving Olds, who assisted with fundraising; and Win Rutherfurd, who has served for many years as chair of The Metropolitan Opera Guild.
Promoting the rule of law
At the heart of the Firm’s social responsibility program is the promotion of the rule of law. As Hugh Verrier said in 2008: “The greatest thing a global law firm can do is build the rule of law around the world. Much of the pro bono work we do strengthens the rule of law either by supporting broad change or by setting an example of what a lawyer’s role in the global community should be.” By operating pro bono as a global practice, the Firm has made use of its global footprint and strengths in cross-frontier transaction management on projects that would otherwise not be done. For example, the Firm has provided legal research and analysis on the governance and management of disputes in connection with water boundaries; studied the criminalization of homelessness across Europe; and researched truth commission operations across Latin America. Each year, the Firm’s lawyers also train judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers in many parts of Africa, the Caribbean and Asia. Perhaps the best example is the Firm’s pioneering research on human trafficking, working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to develop a comprehensive and global online database of human trafficking cases. In 2012, the Firm’s lawyers researched the levels of prosecution and enforcement of human trafficking laws (or equivalent) in 163 countries. The research—the largest pro bono project ever undertaken by the Firm—involved more than 175 lawyers from 24 offices, with overall supervision provided by partner Someera Khokhar in New York. The data collected are proving invaluable in helping to point out weaknesses in enforcement of existing legislation (especially in countries where there is a history of institutional reluctance), encouraging greater enforcement and helping tackle the iniquities of modern-day slavery. The Firm is following up on the research by assisting victims of trafficking in the United States to bring civil litigation against their abusers to secure compensation, assisting with the establishment of anti-trafficking hotlines in countries that victims can use to report abuse, and advising anti-trafficking NGOs on their general corporate and commercial matters.
The American Lawyer
named this comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking the Global Pro Bono Program of the Year in 2013.
Serving leading nonprofit organizations
The Firm has formed a number of collaborative ventures with nonprofit organizations that share the same values. A good example of this is Acumen, a global social enterprise that invests in water, health and sanitation, and other social projects. The Firm’s lawyers have advised on a multitude of both equity and debt deals for Acumen. In the booming social venture sector, White & Case lawyers drafted the suite of documents for debt and equity listings on the world’s first social investment stock exchange, the Impact Exchange, or iX. Other leading NGO clients include Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which provides medical services in areas affected by conflict and natural disasters. The Firm has advised on managing legal risk in more than 50 countries where MSF operates. The Firm has expanded strategic partnerships with several pro bono clients in Germany, including Amnesty International, the Rainforest Alliance and the Foundation UNESCO—Education for Children in Need. In so doing, the Firm is leading the way to create a pro bono culture among German law firms, where pro bono as a tradition does not exist. The Firm believes in long-term pro bono relationships, and partner Sylvia Chin has represented Women’s World Banking, a global network of microfinance institutions, on a pro bono basis for the past 35 years.
Striving for social justice
The Firm has never shied away from taking on controversial issues. One of these was its representation of the Log Cabin Republicans, which challenged the constitutionality of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. This 1993 U.S. law banned openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people from serving in the U.S. military. The Firm took on the representation following a request by an associate, who was a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, to partner Dan Woods. After years, the team won an historic federal court ruling in 2010 declaring this law to be unconstitutional on the basis that it was in violation of the First and the Fifth Amendments. It was a decision of momentous importance for patriotic gay men and women who served or who might wish to serve in the U.S. military. Later that year, the U.S. Congress voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Firm’s case was cited as having led directly to the repeal. In London, White & Case became the first law firm partner of Innocence Network UK, a nonprofit organization that seeks to have wrongful convictions set aside. In its first case from Innocence Network UK, a team of White & Case lawyers worked to exonerate a British man from murder charges he has denied for more than 30 years. The White & Case team worked on this case for more than four years, pursuing leads even after the client was released from prison on parole.

Jessup cup award
White & Case is a champion and official sponsor of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

Promoting legal education
White & Case is the global partner and International Rounds sponsor of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The Jessup Competition was founded in 1959 and involves student lawyers pitting their wits and skills against others in a simulated “moot” court hearing as if arguing before the International Court of Justice. The teams represent fictional countries in a hypothetical dispute on a matter of international law. Every year, more than 2,000 law students from some 550 schools in 90 countries take part in the competition, which is a highly prestigious event. White & Case sponsors more than 10 national and regional competitions and is the official sponsor of the White & Case International Rounds. More than 150 of the Firm’s lawyers work on the competition each year, judging oral rounds and written briefs in national competitions around the world and at the International Rounds in Washington, D.C. The Firm underwrote and helped produce a feature documentary about the Jessup Competition that premiered at the United Nations in 2015,
. In 2016,
The American Lawyer
gave the Firm its Global Citizenship Award for Lifetime Achievement for its longstanding support of the Jessup. Among the more exotic projects the Firm has pursued is its collaboration with the Kingdom of Bhutan—one of the world’s most geographically isolated countries, and among its newest democracies—to create the country’s first law school and strengthen the rule of law. The Firm’s involvement stemmed from a holiday visit to Bhutan some years ago by partner Andreas Knebel, who noticed the lack of legal infrastructure. He suggested to Hugh Verrier that this was an opportunity for the Firm to help, particularly as the country had no domestic law school and only about 100 lawyers, all educated abroad, for a population of nearly one million people. Following a personal meeting between Verrier and the King, it was agreed that the Firm would provide valuable support. His Majesty then appointed his sister—Harvard LL.M. graduate Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck—to head up the project as president of the Royal Institute of Law. During the first stage of this collaboration, Bhutan and White & Case established Bhutan’s first law library in the capital, Thimphu. A cross-office multifunction team from the Firm provided technical assistance, infrastructure and also training on legal research and writing for Bhutan’s judiciary, government lawyers and the few lawyers in private practice. The Firm then recruited two academics from a U.S. law school to move to Bhutan and assist with the development of the law school’s strategic plan, curriculum and business model.
Rendering of Bhutan’s future Royal Institute of Law

In the fall of 2014, Verrier and Her Royal Highness presented this collaboration as a joint commitment to action at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. In 2015, His Majesty granted the law school a Royal Charter and land in the mountains above the town of Paro. The government of India committed funds to construct a new state-of-the-art campus. The school has begun hiring the faculty, decided on an admissions process and crafted a curriculum that, while drawing upon legal experience from around the globe, is uniquely Bhutanese. The first class is expected to begin studies in summer 2017.
The American Lawyer
named this collaboration with Bhutan to create the country’s first law school its 2015 Global Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year.
Collaborating with clients
Many of the Firm’s clients are sponsoring or participating in social responsibility initiatives, and the Firm often works with clients on these initiatives. The Firm is pro bono counsel to the Global Network Initiative (GNI) to protect global Internet freedom. GNI was founded in 2008 as a nonprofit coalition by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! in collaboration with academics, investors and NGOs. Lawyers in the Firm’s Brussels and Geneva offices worked with a team of lawyers from Caterpillar to research the rights of children for the Firm’s “legal status of the child global research project” on behalf of pro bono client Child Rights International Network. Lawyers in the Firm’s Paris office have worked with Intel to provide intellectual property advice to an educational nonprofit organization that promotes democratization. The Firm is partnering with Nestlé to support youth employment initiatives across Europe and with Goldman Sachs on global research projects related to the online sexual exploitation of children as well as access to financial services for women entreprenuers.
Looking to the future
Verrier is one of the Firm’s primary advocates of its social responsibility initiatives: “We all want to be part of something larger than ourselves. We offer our people the opportunity to engage with today’s challenges and be part of something greater. By serving the public good, we uphold our responsibility to our profession and the global community. By making a difference in the lives of others, we strengthen ourselves and the fabric of our Firm.”