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Tiffany & Co. crystal tower presented to White & Case by longstanding client Bankers Trust on the firm’s 75th anniversary, May 1, 1976
As the Firm entered the last quarter of the 20th century, a number of developments converged to transform the Firm’s leadership and strategy.

Three developments that converged during the late 1970s—together with the early success of the Firm’s sovereign practice and Jim Hurlock’s increasing visibility among his partners—created the impetus that led to the transformation of White & Case into a global law firm. The first was the resolution by the Firm in 1977 of its ongoing battle with the SEC over the National Student Marketing case. With the battle ended, the Firm had to decide what strategy to pursue in the future to put behind it any loss of business or reputation resulting from that ordeal.
Three developments that converged during the late 1970s—together with the early success of the Firm’s sovereign practice and Jim Hurlock’s increasing visibility among his partners—created the impetus that led to the transformation of White & Case into a global law firm. The first was the resolution by the Firm in 1977 of its ongoing battle with the SEC over the National Student Marketing case. With the battle ended, the Firm had to decide what strategy to pursue in the future to put behind it any loss of business or reputation resulting from that ordeal.
Generations old and new are all stewards of the Firm.
george case’s office desk
After Case withdrew from active involvement in the Firm, he gave his desk to his long-term secretary, Katherine Clarke, who passed it on to her nephew, William Clarke. Carol Grajeda, a godchild of Mr. Clarke’s wife and the Firm’s manager of legal assistants, was told about the desk by Mr. Clarke a number of years ago and, when she learned in 2016 that Duane Wall was working on a history of the Firm, she shared with him the desk’s history.
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Transition
CHAPTER 7
Passing the Mantle to a New Generation
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White & Case 70th anniversary dinner, april 30, 1971

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White  & Case Weekly News, 1980
With the announcement of Hurlock’s election as Chairman of the Firm.

The second was the conclusion in 1978 of the ongoing struggle by the partners who considered themselves part of a “new generation” to wrest control of the management of the Firm from the senior partners who had no desire to relinquish it. The third was the election of Jim Hurlock as head of the Firm in late 1979. The struggle for the change in management control that ended in 1978 had begun in the early 1960s. Until then, the Firm had been managed by the two founding fathers or by senior partners who had known one or both of them personally. Yet, from 1954 through 1969, the Firm had made a total of 40 new partners, more than had been made in the previous 53 years combined, and these partners believed they were part of a new generation at the Firm. The world was changing, and they felt White & Case was not keeping up. As the Firm grew in size, and financial and commercial markets expanded, with competition among law firms becoming more intense, the mid-level and younger partners began to feel that the senior partners needed to respond by taking a more businesslike approach to the management of the Firm. These younger partners also wanted to modernize what they viewed as antiquated law firm governance practices. This involved a huge cultural shift for the profession, away from many of its great traditions—including unanimous election of partners, compensation based on seniority, and tenure and ownership participation until death—that had been fundamental since the first corporate law firms were organized in the 19th century. The death of Irving Olds in 1963 (at age 76) and Colonel Hartfield in 1964 (at age 82) offered these younger partners an opportunity to increase their role in the Firm’s management.
As the Firm grew in size, and financial and commercial markets expanded, with competition among law firms becoming more intense, the mid-level and younger partners began to feel that the senior partners needed to respond by taking a more businesslike approach to the management of the Firm.
Among those pressing for change was Larry Morris, a partner who practiced securities law and who headed the Firm’s employment committee for most of the 1960s. Morris was one of the legendary recruiters in the annals of White & Case and was responsible for introducing some star performers into the Firm. Serving in the Marines during World War II, Morris was nicknamed “Bugle” because of his stentorian voice and enthusiastic, can-do manner. He felt the Firm’s management was out of step with the way the market was developing. “White & Case had a wonderful reputation in the 1960s, but it was kind of old guys, traditional,” he said. “They needed some sparks, and if I do say so myself, I gave them some sparks.” Morris was constantly pushing the Firm to become more open in its management style and to give a greater voice to younger partners. When he became embattled over these issues and did not see change taking place as fast as he wanted, he resigned in 1969 to join investment house Dean Witter & Co. as its president. He may have been a casualty of the struggle, but the changes for which he lobbied so hard were eventually put into practice. In Maureen Donovan’s assessment, “Larry Morris was the catalyst for change, for which the Firm should be very grateful. It was a very hard decision for him to leave the Firm. When he died decades later, his children found a tissue copy of his letter of resignation folded among the photos of his children because it meant so much to him.” The control of the management of the Firm by its senior partners had been formally confirmed by an amendment to its partnership agreement in January 1960 and by the formal establishment of a “Senior Group” in an amendment in March 1963. These amendments, together with one in April 1963, left decisions regarding partner compensation and new partners in the hands of the Firm’s most senior partners.
Then, in 1969, the year Morris resigned, the Firm took a first step in the direction Morris had advocated by reorganizing the management structure, discontinuing both the Senior Group and the executive committee and establishing a nine-partner management committee with broad authority to manage the Firm. The management committee was organized to include members from the Firm’s four principal departments and to give partners in those departments a say in which partners would be selected from their departments. The members of the committee had three-year staggered terms, and an election was held annually to elect the successors of the three partners whose three-year terms would be expiring. But the management issue was still not settled. Most partners came to believe the nine-partner management committee, with the staggered-term feature, was too large and unwieldy. After considerable turmoil, yet another management structure was introduced in 1978, providing for the election of a four-partner management committee (including the Chair of the Firm as chair of the committee). The Chair of the Firm was to be selected for the first year by the other members of the committee and beginning with the second year was to be elected by the Firm’s partners. Hal Fales was selected as the chair of the management committee for the initial one-year term. The question then became: Who should, a year later, be the first partner ever to be elected Chair of the Firm by the Firm’s partners? When Ed Schmults ruled himself out as a contender, there was only one realistic and credible candidate: Jim Hurlock. He was elected in late 1979 and assumed office on January 1, 1980. The choice of strategy of the Firm would now be led by Hurlock, and the Firm would be set on an irrevocable international course.
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Henry Mannix was one of the colorful, self-made men in the early history of White & Case. A Brooklyn native and the son of Irish immigrants, he attended City College of New York, graduating first in his class in 1917, and joined White & Case as a clerk. He served in the Army during World War I, then returned to the Firm after the war and attended Fordham Law School at night, again graduating first in his class. On completing law school, he joined the Firm and became a partner in 1931. Mannix was a member of the Senior Group that was established in 1963. A hard worker who often came into the office on weekends, Mannix nonetheless found time for his many interests outside the Firm, including his active involvement in various Catholic charities and his lifelong support of Fordham Law School. He retired in 1974 after a 57-year career with the Firm and died in 1980 at age 82. He is remembered not only as an outstanding tax lawyer, but also as a true gentleman.
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Henry Mannix
Henry Mannix was one of the colorful, self-made men in the early history of White & Case. A Brooklyn native and the son of Irish immigrants, he attended City College of New York, graduating first in his class in 1917, and joined White & Case as a clerk.
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