In the Courtroom
Fighting the Good Fight
White & Case’s litigators made their mark on the Firm.
A gift to Colonel Hartfield in 1955, it is engraved with the signatures of his partners. The inscription reads: With esteem and affection.

“the good argument” by honoré-victorin daumier, 19th century
The recruitment of Colonel Hartfield by George Case was a masterstroke, as the Colonel developed and led the Firm’s leading litigation practice.

Litigation is a staple area of practice for any U.S. law firm worthy of the name. And so it has always been for White & Case. Nevertheless, in the early days of the Firm and for some decades afterward, litigation was regarded as being something of a support service for the main work of the Firm, which was advising the Firm’s mostly financial institution clients on their corporate requirements.

Yet, with some astute recruitment by the Firm’s founders, that did not stop White & Case from acquiring a top litigation capability. Without doubt, the Firm’s reputation in litigation derives in large part from one of its most colorful, extraordinary and truly legendary characters, Colonel Joseph Hartfield
(see profile)
Litigation is a staple area of practice for any U.S. law firm worthy of the name. And so it has always been for White & Case. Nevertheless, in the early days of the Firm and for some decades afterward, litigation was regarded as being something of a support service for the main work of the Firm, which was advising the Firm’s mostly financial institution clients on their corporate requirements.
Yet, with some astute recruitment by the Firm’s founders, that did not stop White & Case from acquiring a top litigation capability. Without doubt, the Firm’s reputation in litigation derives in large part from one of its most colorful, extraordinary and truly legendary characters, Colonel Joseph Hartfield
(see profile)
Why “Colonel?” Soon after becoming a White & Case partner in 1912, Hartfield was made an honorary Kentucky Colonel by the governor of the state. Charlie Fay decreed that once he received the commission, everyone should call him “Colonel” because he was too small to be called “Mister” and too bright to be called “Joe.” From that day forward, he bore the title at work, in the courts and in all other circles in which he moved. Hartfield joined the Firm in 1905, after applying from his then firm, Swayne & Swayne, which was in the process of disbanding. As it so happened, White & Case needed a litigator to handle its growing caseload for an early client, Swift & Company, including the defense of personal injury and property damage actions, many of which arose from accidents involving its trucks. Hartfield made a striking first impression, being just four feet, ten inches tall and weighing less than 125 pounds. This prompted George Case to question openly whether he was big and tough enough to gain the respect and cooperation of Swift’s truck drivers in investigating claims. Insisting he was up to the task, Hartfield asked for an opportunity to prove himself. Case agreed, and over the next several months Hartfield impressed Case and others in the Firm with his abilities. That Case hired Hartfield speaks volumes about the culture of the Firm, and in particular its willingness not to be hidebound by convention or, it might be said, outright prejudice. In an era when the Wall Street legal community was dominated by white, male Christians, Hartfield was one of the few Jews to become a high-ranking partner in a major firm. He was, in addition, a political outsider. Like DuPratt White, Hartfield was an active and outspoken Democrat at a time when Wall Street was emphatically Republican.

lowell wadmond, orison marden and ezra cornell, and colonel hartfield (in front)

The litigation process changed significantly in the 1930s. Before then, pretrial discovery was still rare. Following the adoption of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 1937, discovery became virtually unlimited in actions filed in the federal courts. The various state courts subsequently adopted similar open-ended discovery procedures. It was a major and, for those in practice who believed that the trial itself was paramount in litigation, not necessarily a welcome development. Lowell Wadmond
(see profile)
, who joined the Firm in 1930 as a specialist litigator, was one such opponent of the new rules. He described discovery as “terrible rules about examination prior to trial. Trial lawyers are trial lawyers and should depend on surprise.” He strongly resisted adopting the new rules, as was the case when he led the White & Case team that defended Swift & Company against federal antitrust charges by a competitor, Hansen Packing Company. Wadmond offered the opposing counsel some material in discovery “grudgingly,” but, as was permitted at the time, he withheld his theory—and related depositions—that the plaintiff’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations. When Wadmond sprang this argument in pretrial hearings, the opposition was unprepared. The judge agreed with Wadmond and dismissed the complaint, and the decision was upheld on appeal. Wadmond delighted in the practice of the law, often sharing his enthusiasm with young lawyers just starting out in their careers. Shortly after having been made a partner in 1936, he represented Winston Churchill, the British statesman and prime minister. He also defended Sonja Henie, the Norwegian-born ice skating champion, in a lawsuit brought by a man who claimed to have an oral contract entitling him to an agent’s commission on her movie contracts. The court sided with the would-be agent, although Wadmond was subsequently able to negotiate a settlement on Henie’s behalf for an amount less than the court award. The decision in the Henie matter always galled Wadmond. It was one of the few cases he ever lost.

colonel hartfield
The well dressed Colonel Hartfield with baseball glove, an example of his love for the game.

Wadmond became one of the most influential members of the Firm in the next decades, representing Scandinavian Airlines System, Douglas Aircraft, Texas Gulf Sulphur and other clients. “Lowell had a number of relationships that weren’t litigation relationships, just clients who trusted his judgment,” Jim Hurlock once said of him.
In his first two decades as a partner, Hartfield was a trial lawyer, specializing in the reorganization of bankrupt railroads and industrial corporations. From the early 1930s, he was primarily a corporate counselor, as well as head of the Firm’s litigation department, continuing to try major cases and argue important appeals. He expected the Firm’s associates to be as hardworking as he was, but he also helped them enjoy life beyond the office. During the baseball season, he would often invite two or three associates to lunch on a Saturday, which was a working day, and then take them to either the Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium to watch a ball game. He would also go to the horse races. For many years, he would rent a private railroad car and take guests down to the Kentucky Derby. They would leave on a Wednesday evening, arrive in Louisville on Thursday morning, attend three afternoons of racing and return on Saturday evening. Each year he would send as gifts to clients and others smoked ham produced at his Kentucky farm. Because he knew so many people from his interest in politics, sports and business, and because of their high esteem for him, Hartfield was a significant generator of new business. In 1928, Hartfield got to know John Raskob, vice-president and chairman of the finance committee of General Motors and vice-president in charge of finances of DuPont, through their mutual involvement in the presidential campaign of Al Smith, the Democratic governor of New York. Raskob retained White & Case to represent Christiana Securities, a DuPont family holding company, and also to help him and his wife plan their estates and draw up their wills. The Firm represented both estates after the Raskobs’ deaths. His connections in baseball led to the Firm’s selection after World War II to represent the major league baseball players’ pension plan. A plaque presented to him by the players took pride of place in his office. Manufacturers Trust Company became a client through the Colonel’s friendship with its president, Harvey Gibson. George Case’s trust in Hartfield was fully vindicated. Hartfield spent 60 years with the Firm, until his death in 1964.

lowell wadmond at aramco in saudi arabia
Inscription on the back reads: “Bad Sheik, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 1955.”

Introduction of discovery
Gaining Aramco
Wadmond was instrumental in helping the Firm gain its first major oil client in the post–World War II era. Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) held a concession to explore, develop and produce Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves. The company had been established in the early 1930s by Standard Oil of California (Chevron), later joined by Texaco. After World War II, Standard Oil of New Jersey (Exxon) and Mobil invested in the Aramco consortium, and as the 1950s began, those four U.S. companies were Aramco’s owners.

u.s. steel blast furnace, clairton, pennsylvania

Lowell Wadmond was instrumental in winning Aramco as a client.
In 1952, a federal grand jury—convened in Washington, D.C. to investigate alleged worldwide oil cartel activities—issued subpoenas to 21 U.S. and international oil companies, including Aramco and its owners. Because Aramco needed to be represented by its own outside counsel, not by that of any of its owners, George Ray, the company’s general counsel, asked U.S. Senator Robert Taft of Ohio for a recommendation. Taft suggested his friend Lowell Wadmond, who was also a specialist in international law as well as a prominent litigator. It was the skill of Wadmond, who persuaded the U.S. government to drop its investigation of Aramco in the antitrust case, that caused Aramco to have no hesitation in turning to White & Case for its next major assignment. This was an arbitration started in 1954 that pitted Aramco against Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. When the Saudi government awarded Onassis the right to transport Saudi crude oil, Aramco challenged the agreement, alleging it violated the Aramco concession contract. After negotiations failed to resolve the dispute, it was submitted to an arbitration tribunal in Geneva. In 1958, the tribunal sided with Aramco, upholding the exclusivity of its contract. The team that represented Aramco in the arbitration included Orison Marden, another of the exceptional individuals who have helped to shape the Firm
(see profile)
. The White & Case team also included associate Stephen Schwebel, who would later become president of the International Court of Justice. Since then, White & Case has continued to represent Aramco—now Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world.
The case that really helped to put the Firm on the map as a top litigation firm was representing U.S. Steel in a tax dispute with the IRS.
U.S. Steel and the tax case
While White & Case handled many cases in its first half-century, the case that really helped to put the Firm on the map as a top litigation firm was a dispute between the Firm’s major corporate client, U.S. Steel, and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It was certainly one of the most important tax cases in the United States. The case was eventually appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and not resolved until two decades after the events in question. It concerned the so-called “federal excess profits tax,” a tax that was applied to companies’ earnings during the Korean War (from 1950 to 1953) above the amount of their earnings in the “measuring years” of 1947, 1948 and 1949. It was intended to raise money for the government as well as to stifle wartime “profiteering.” In dollar terms, the largest of these disputes involved U.S. Steel. The company did not pay the tax in filing its returns for 1950 through 1953. It claimed that no tax was due because its income in the measuring years was depressed by coal strikes in 1947 and 1948, a steel strike in 1949 and, most importantly, by low production levels in 1947 and 1948 as a result of the carryover effects from having depleted its highest-grade iron ore and coal during World War II. The major question in the U.S. Steel tax case was whether the 1947 and 1948 imbalances between the company’s iron ore and coal reserves and its beneficiating plants qualified as an “event” under the law.
Another of the Firm’s prominent cases from the 1960s was the $150 million “Salad Oil Scandal.”
The Wall Street Journal
called the scandal “the greatest swindle of our time.” White & Case represented Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust, the largest creditor in the case, with $20 million of outstanding loans. The scandal centered on the activities of a vegetable oil dealer and former butcher named Anthony “Tino” De Angelis, whose company, Allied Crude Vegetable Oil Refining Corporation, purchased and refined cottonseed and soybean oil, which it supposedly stored at a tank farm in Bayonne, New Jersey. Using a twisted kind of business aptitude, together with his charm, De Angelis cheated some of the most financially sophisticated companies in the United States and Europe. He retained American Express Field Warehousing Corporation, a subsidiary of American Express Company, to issue warehouse receipts certifying the existence of the oil. He then used those receipts to finance his inventories with Continental Illinois, Chase Manhattan, Bunge Corporation and other banks and vegetable oil exporters. In addition, he bought and sold commodity contracts through Ira Haupt & Co., a prestigious, old-line member of the New York Stock Exchange.
The scandal broke in November 1963, when the price of vegetable oil fell. Out of the blue, De Angelis’s company filed for bankruptcy, in turn triggering the bankruptcy of Haupt, the first NYSE member firm to declare insolvency since the Great Depression.
The “Salad Oil Scandal”
After reviewing the returns, the IRS ruled that the company did not meet the statute’s test and issued a notice of tax deficiency. At the direction of White & Case, the company paid the deficiency for the year 1950 and sued in the Southern District of New York for its recovery since that was the only way to get the case before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which was thought to be the most knowledgeable of the appellate courts when it came to complex tax issues. U.S. Steel’s suit, filed in 1965, was for the recovery of $27 million of excess profits tax and related interest. The $27 million was, however, not the full extent of the amount at issue. Hal Fales
(see profile)
, who led the White & Case team representing U.S. Steel, noted in his book,
Trying Cases: A Life in the Law
, that prior to filing the suit, White & Case had reached an agreement with the IRS to litigate only for 1950 and let the outcome for that year govern the company’s returns for 1951, 1952 and 1953. All told, about $200 million of excess profits tax and interest was in dispute for the four years, equivalent to about $2 billion in 2016 after adjustment for inflation. In 1970, Judge Richard Levet ruled in the company’s favor on just one matter, the 1949 steel strike. When applied to all four tax years, 1950 through 1953, his decision gave the government the vast majority of the $200 million it sought. U.S. Steel took the case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 1971 reversed Judge Levet and sent the matter back to the district court for trial. The government then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1972 let stand the ruling of the Second Circuit. At that point, U.S. Steel and the government agreed to try to negotiate a settlement. In a matter of weeks, they arrived at a tentative deal to split the difference—that is, U.S. Steel would pay half the claimed $200 million. That agreement was subject to final approval by the IRS. For the next six months, a team of lawyers from White & Case and U.S. Steel negotiated with the agency in an attempt to finalize the arrangement. In 1973, the IRS agreed to the settlement. U.S. Steel paid just under $100 million.

The Great Salad Oil Swindle
by Norman C. Miller
David Hartfield represented creditors in the notorious “Salad Oil Scandal.”

De Angelis’s creditors believed their loans were fully secured until they went to Bayonne and found only $6 million worth of oil. By contrast, when the creditors added up their receipts, the total came to well over $150 million—more, it turned out, than the entire amount of cottonseed and soybean oil then in existence in the United States. As was later discovered, to get the American Express subsidiary to issue receipts for oil that did not exist, De Angelis had treated the inspectors to leisurely lunches, while his cronies pumped oil from tanks inspected in the morning to those to be examined in the afternoon so that the same oil would be counted twice. In addition, he arranged for cylinders to be installed in the tops of some tanks and filled with oil, creating the impression that the entire tank was full. None of the missing money was ever found. De Angelis insisted his company’s collapse was “strictly a business failure” and that the money had been lost in the commodities market. The court didn’t believe a word of it. He was convicted of fraud and spent seven years in federal prison. Unable to locate any money in De Angelis’s name, David Hartfield, the Colonel’s nephew who had joined the Firm in 1946, led the negotiations to try to get American Express to honor the receipts issued by its subsidiary, which had virtually no assets of its own. Although American Express denied any legal responsibility for its subsidiary’s debts, it acknowledged a “moral” responsibility. At first, it offered to settle for $45 million, well short of what David Hartfield was seeking. Because of the many legal uncertainties, American Express and the creditors agreed to attempt to negotiate a settlement rather than battle in court. David Hartfield led the negotiations, maintaining a unified stance among the creditors despite their divergent interests. The negotiations continued for three years, leading to one of the largest financial settlements as of that time. In 1967, American Express agreed to pay the creditors $57.9 million in cash and up to $30 million of recoveries from insurance and other sources. There have been other great scandals since then, but few can match the Salad Oil Scandal for its sheer audacity and for the novel legal issues it raised.
David Hartfield, like his uncle, the Colonel, was a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. He began his career in 1943 as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York prosecuting criminal cases, many related to the counterfeiting of government coupons for the purchase of gasoline, sugar and other products that were rationed during World War II. In that work, he learned to be tough-minded, persistent and direct.
Hartfield was about five feet tall and suffered from a disability that contorted his body and made it difficult for him to walk. He supported himself with canes and in later years used a small electric vehicle to get around the office.
Hartfield once said that “the practice of law is not a popularity contest” and that the objective was to serve a client’s best interests, not win friends. That was certainly true in the Salad Oil Scandal, in which he took a no-holds-barred approach. He would go on to work with many clients, including accounting firm Arthur Young & Company and investment bank Paribas Corporation of New York. He died in 1983 at age 64.
David Hartfield
Charlie Fay, the Firm’s first lateral partner, trained in the classics and taught Greek and Latin before attending Columbia Law School. He joined White & Case in 1907, at age 35, after having been a partner at a larger, more established firm, Lord, Day & Lord. He stood out, both for his fine crop of red hair and for “his independent and forthright ideas,” according to the 50th anniversary history of the Firm.
The Texas Gulf Sulphur case
Colonel Hartfield was also responsible for bringing into the Firm another exceptional lawyer, Orison Marden, whose mother he knew from Kentucky. Marden first worked for White & Case while continuing his studies at New York University Law School at night, left the Firm for a year to study law full-time and, upon receiving his LL.B. in 1929, returned to White & Case as an associate in the litigation department. It took an additional 17 years before he was made partner, but that was not unusual for that time. Due to the impact of the Great Depression and World War II, some newly graduated lawyers who joined the Firm in the late 1920s and 1930s had to wait as long as 20 years or more to get the call. Not that Marden complained. He loved the law and felt lucky simply to be part of a firm like White & Case. In 1973, looking back on the initial years of his career, he wrote, “Having chosen litigation as my preferred field, I spent a good deal of time answering calendars for older lawyers and arguing simple motions. Litigation was far more technical in 1930 than it is today. The preparation of a complaint or answer that would withstand attack was considered an important measure of a lawyer’s competence. Technical motions addressed to the pleadings were resorted to with great enthusiasm and adverse rulings were promptly appealed. Most litigation was conducted in the state courts. In 1930 there were only nine U.S. district judges in the Southern District of New York.” He also wrote, “Practicing law was fun for me from the very start. I enjoyed the satisfaction of putting together a brief or memorandum of which I could be proud. It was no chore for me to answer the calendar or to carry to court the litigation file and my senior’s brief case. To be associated with a group of top-notch lawyers was, for me, a priceless opportunity. And every now and then there was the thrill of winning a motion or an appeal.” Marden led the Firm’s representation of its client, Texas Gulf Sulphur, in its defense of a claim brought by the SEC. This was a landmark in U.S. securities law, a highly complex case that Marden later described as his unhappiest defeat as a lawyer. The case helped establish the ground rules under which corporate insiders may or may not buy or sell stock in their company. Prior to Texas Gulf, companies were sometimes careless in the ways in which they disclosed material information and monitored insider trading. After Texas Gulf, they could no longer afford to be haphazard. The events leading up to
SEC v. Texas Gulf
began in November 1963, when the company’s geologists made a potentially important mineral discovery in Timmins, Ontario based on a single drill hole. Rather than continue to drill and risk attracting the attention of other companies, Texas Gulf temporarily suspended its exploration program at the site and began buying the mineral rights to surrounding properties before land prices were bid up. In a further effort to preserve the secrecy of the find, Texas Gulf’s president, Claude Stephens, directed that no public announcement be made and that the company’s board of directors not be informed of the discovery until it had been verified and more fully delineated. Land acquisition was completed four months later, in March 1964, and drilling was resumed at the end of that month. Meanwhile, some Texas Gulf employees, officers and directors bought stock. The initial purchases were made in November 1963 by geologists in Timmins. Several officers and directors purchased shares in the ensuing months, and in February 1964 the company awarded stock options to key officers as part of its regular option program. The SEC later alleged that not only did the cash purchases violate insider trading rules, but so did the options because, in the SEC’s view, they should not have been awarded while the Timmins drill results were still under wraps. Word of the discovery finally reached the public on April 11, 1964, when the
New York Herald Tribune
The New York Times
reported rumors of a large mineral find in Ontario. Under pressure to say something, but not yet ready to divulge the details, Texas Gulf issued a press release the following day, which seemed to downplay the discovery. Just four days later, however, the company held a press conference at which it confirmed the discovery to be one of the largest copper finds in Ontario history. In 1965, the SEC filed civil charges alleging that the April 12 press release was misleading and fraudulent. Concurrently, the SEC charged 12 individuals with insider trading in the stock prior to the disclosure of the Timmins mineral find in violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. “Texas Gulf officials defended themselves,”
The New York Times
reported, “by saying that the early indications of the ore strike did not necessarily mean that a commercial body of minerals existed and that, therefore, the first ore samples did not comprise material facts that needed to be disclosed.” The trial judge agreed with the company, dismissing all charges against Texas Gulf and against all but two of the individual defendants. The only two who were found to have violated the law had bought stock shortly before the April 16 press conference. On appeal, a Second Circuit panel overturned the trial judge’s ruling in nearly every regard. It found most of the individual defendants guilty of illegal insider trading, ordered the rescission of the February stock options and ruled the press release to have been deceptive. The majority opinion, written by Judge Sterry R. Waterman, stated, “The core of Rule 10b-5 is the implementation of the Congressional purpose that all investors should have equal access to the rewards of participation in securities transactions. The insiders here were not trading on an equal footing with the outside investors. They alone were in a position to evaluate the probability and magnitude of what seemed from the outset to be a major ore strike; they alone could invest safely, secure in the expectation that the price of TGS stock would rise substantially in the event such a major strike should materialize, but would decline little, if at all, in the event of failure, for the public, ignorant at the outset of the favorable probabilities would likewise be unaware of the unproductive exploration, and the additional exploration costs would not significantly affect TGS market prices. Such inequities based upon unequal access to knowledge should not be shrugged off as inevitable in our way of life, or, in view of the congressional concern in the area, remain uncorrected.” The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case. While the appeals court’s opinion is widely accepted today, at the time it was confusing and even shocking to lawyers, directors and corporate executives.
The New York Times
observed, “The issue raised by the Texas Gulf case and by some other recent securities cases is just how much corporate information should be released to the public. The legal profession, Wall Street and the business community foresee serious problems in complying with the law, because they are uncertain what the new disclosure rules may be.” Although the result may not have gone the Firm’s client’s way, it was nonetheless a landmark case and continued to mark White & Case as a top litigation firm. Among other important cases, the Firm defended U.S. Steel in a series of antitrust cases and Douglas Aircraft Company in a major shareholder class-action lawsuit.

By the end of the 1970s White & Case had developed strong financial institution, corporate and litigation practices and gained an outstanding reputation as a leading law firm in the United States—stronger and more outstanding, perhaps, than its co-founders ever dreamed. And it was also beginning to distinguish itself from its competitor law firms by engaging in early international activity that would prove to be invaluable to the Firm when it began in the early 1980s to transform itself into a leading global law firm.
Colonel Hartfield
Colonel Hartfield, like DuPratt White, Joe Bennett and several other early partners, came from humble origins. He grew up in Henderson, Kentucky, left high school at age 14 and became a court reporter at the local court in Henderson. In that work, he so impressed the town’s lawyers and business leaders that they raised the money to send him to the University of Virginia School of Law, from which he received his degree at age 19. The law school’s Joseph M. Hartfield Professorship honors his memory, as does the Joseph M. Hartfield Library and Learning Resource Center at Henderson Community College in Kentucky.
Described by Martin Mayer in his book
Wall Street: Men and Money
as being “generally regarded as one of the most effective trial lawyers in the country,” and as “one of the last, great colorful figures on the Street,” the Colonel preached that diligent preparation was the key to courtroom success. He himself was blessed with a quick mind and extraordinary memory, which allowed him to read through vast amounts of material and retain all the details. Having prepared himself thoroughly, in the courtroom he was able to pounce on an opponent’s slightest deviation from the facts and instantly recite whatever information supported his own arguments. Witty, ebullient and charming, the Colonel sprinkled his conversation with expressions such as “The way to make the spring pass quickly is to sign a note due May 1.” Rather than being self-conscious about his small size, he gloried in it and used it to make a lasting impression, such as by sitting on a table to conduct a meeting so that everyone in the room could see him. Adding to his distinctive appearance, he always dressed in exactly the same way: black suit, black bow tie, black hat, black socks, black shoes and white, starched shirt. A confirmed bachelor, the Colonel led an active social life and was sometimes seen traveling about town with a tall, beautiful woman on each arm. He frequently went to the racetrack on Saturday afternoons, although he seldom bet more than a few dollars.

letter from american red cross
Colonel Hartfield advised the American Red Cross for many years as its counsel on a pro bono basis.

Hartfield was widely known for his volunteer work for nonprofit institutions. He was legal counsel to the American Red Cross War Council during World War I and longtime counsel for the American Red Cross after the war, never charging a fee. He served for many years as a trustee of the Community Service Society of New York, a private agency that assists the poor in New York. In 1935, when the Metropolitan Opera fell on hard times, he became an officer of the newly formed Metropolitan Opera Guild at the request of Mrs. August Belmont, a socialite, opera benefactor and White & Case client, and helped save the Met from bankruptcy. In 1947, he was elected a director and member of the executive committee of the governing organization, the Metropolitan Opera Association, one of the most prestigious nonprofit board positions in New York, continuing in that role for 17 years. A plaque at the center of the Grand Tier railing of the Metropolitan Opera House honors his contributions.

celebrating cornell, hamilton and heuston becoming partners, 1943
Back row, left to right: Lowell Wadmond, Russell Morrill, Adrian Foley, Walter Orr, Leonard Smith, Joe Bennett, Monty Hatch, David Ferguson and Ezra Cornell. Front row, left to right: Chauncey Newlin, Henry Mannix, Colonel Hartfield, Glover Johnson, Claude Hamilton and Alfred Heuston.

When Jesse Jones, the Houston businessman, began investing in New York real estate in the 1920s, he retained White & Case because of Hartfield. In the late 1920s, when Jones purchased the Mayfair House Hotel at Park Avenue and 65th Street in New York, he set aside a suite for the Colonel, who lived there for the next three and a half decades. Jones, who died in 1956, held the Colonel in such high regard that he wrote into his will that Hartfield could remain a tenant at the Mayfair House as long as he wished, at the same rent he was paying at Jones’s death—which, in fact, the Colonel did until his own passing in 1964 at age 82.

colonel hartfield’s allied expeditionary force permit to enter the european allied zone, 1944

Orison Marden
Orison Marden was a key figure in the history of White & Case for his reputation as a leading lawyer, for his commitment to the legal profession and for his contribution to community and pro bono causes. It was not for nothing that he came to be known in the legal community as “Mr. Legal Aid.”

legal aid society’s orison s. marden awards
The Orison S. Marden Awards were established in 1976 to recognize the outstanding work of the staff of the Society and to honor Marden’s memory.

Joining the Firm in 1929, after completing his legal studies, he learned much from a senior associate of the time, David Paine, who believed the most effective way to sway a court was to state one’s arguments clearly and cogently in as few words as possible. Marden adopted Paine’s no-nonsense, to-the-point approach and employed it to great effect throughout his own career. Marden’s personality blended sweetness and strength. He was warm, gentlemanly and unpretentious, yet could be tough when the occasion demanded. In questioning witnesses, he had an ability to establish personal contact and disarm even those who threatened to be contentious. He once questioned Walt Disney as a “hostile” witness and began by asking, “Are you the Walt Disney who has given so much pleasure to so many children over the years?” To many lawyers, Marden was the epitome of what a trial lawyer should be. Tall, slender and dignified in appearance, he looked the part as well. According to
The New York Times
, his unusual first name was the same as his father’s and means “morning prayer,” but he never learned why his father was given the name. Marden was active in various Bar associations. In 1960, he was elected president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, serving two years, subsequently became president of the New York State Bar Association and, after that, president of the American Bar Association. He was only the fourth person in history to have headed all three organizations.

news clipping on orison marden while attending the american bar association conference, 1957

Above all, Marden fervently believed in making legal services available to all regardless of their ability to pay. He was active in legal aid throughout his career, serving on the board of the Legal Aid Society of New York for 27 years and as president of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association from 1955 to 1959. He worked as a volunteer lawyer for the Legal Aid Society of New York, representing clients in many cases, for four and a half decades. The Society keeps his memory alive through its Orison S. Marden Awards, given each year to lawyers on its staff for outstanding dedication and service to clients. The Association of the Bar of the City of New York Fund remembers him with the Orison S. Marden Memorial Lectures, which focus on professional and ethical responsibility within the profession and, in alternate years, on increasing the availability of legal services to the indigent. The Moot Court Board at New York University Law School, his alma mater, administers the annual Orison S. Marden Competition, one of the country’s premier intraschool competitions. Considered for many years to be a natural leader, his leadership role was formalized in 1971 when he was elected chairman of the White & Case management committee. He continued in that position until his death in 1975 at age 69.
Lowell Wadmond
Lowell Wadmond had originally intended to be an opera singer, enrolling at the Chicago College of Music after serving with the 340th Infantry during World War I. However, upon graduating in 1921, he changed his career plans and entered the University of Chicago Law School.
He initially practiced with a firm in Chicago and then spent five years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, gaining a reputation as a highly capable prosecutor, before joining White & Case as an associate in 1930 at the invitation of DuPratt White, who knew Wadmond through the latter’s friendship with White & Case partners Walter Orr and Monty Hatch. Wadmond retained a lifelong passion for opera and the arts. He served on the board of the Metropolitan Opera for 35 years, including 15 as its president. From 1970 to 1975, he was a board member of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He was equally avid about Republican Party politics. He helped revive the Young Republican Club in New York in the late 1920s, and in the ensuing years he was a delegate to various state and national party conventions and chaired the executive committee of the National Republican Club from 1943 to 1949. He died in 1986 at age 90.
Hal Fales
Hal Fales entered Columbia Law School after World War II, graduating in 1947, and joined White & Case immediately thereafter. He was with the Firm for 50 years.
During his career, Fales was involved in many important cases, including defending U.S. Steel in the Korean War federal excess profits tax case, General Electric in the electrical antitrust treble damage lawsuits and Douglas Aircraft Company in a landmark shareholder class action that took almost 12 years to resolve. He was active in many professional society matters and public service causes, including serving as president of the New York State Bar Association from 1983 to 1984, representing clients pro bono through the Legal Aid Society of New York, and becoming a special master of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. Outside the legal profession, he was president of the Pierpont Morgan Library in Manhattan and chairman of St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. In 1990, Fales recalled his time with the Firm in
Trying Cases: A Life in the Law.
He had a very rewarding career at the Firm as a litigator during which he represented both large corporations and individual clients. He wrote: “I never found a case too nutty to defend. One of my odd ones was a criminal case before the now defunct three-judge Special Sessions Court; we got an acquittal for a bank clerk who had left his cage to accost a customer who had called him a Nazi. We defended against a bar and grill that had served a fifth of whiskey to three companions in a back room. After they had finished the bottle, they got a bill for a quart instead of a fifth and tore the place apart. The bar blamed a mistaken label on the bottle for the incident. I tried that case well enough to get a modification in the Appellate Division, Second Department, reducing the verdict to the difference in price between a quart and a fifth, a rather small sum.” After heading the litigation department for many years, Fales became chairman of the management committee in 1976, a position he held for four years. He died in 2015 at age 96.