GCR 100 - 10th Edition

White & Case LLP

14 January 2010

White & Case has lawyers in 36 offices in 25 countries around the world.

16. White & Case LLP

Global head: J Mark Gidley
Home jurisdiction: United States
Total size of firm: 2,085
Number of competition specialists: 140
Percentage of competition specialists: 7
Who’s Who nominees: 6
Partners: 33
Percentage of partners in Who’s Who: 18
Senior associates: 24
Associates: 69
Counsel: 14
Number of lateral partner hires: 2
Number of partner departures: 0
Number of internal promotions: 1

With 140 competition specialists, the firm also boasts one of the largest antitrust practices in the GCR 100. Its impressive geographical reach, along with numerous recommendations from rival firms, helped to secure its place in this year’s Global Elite.

J Mark Gidley, one of six Who’s Who nominees at the firm, heads the global antitrust practice in Washington, DC. This year, the practice made two lateral partner hires: Joseph Angland joined the New York office from now-dissolved Heller Ehrman LLP, while Joy Fuyuno became a partner in Tokyo, moving from Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP.

The firm continues its involvement in the Stolt-Nielsen case, one of the most high-profile antitrust matters in recent years. The company was facing antitrust allegations from consumers in Tennessee on the back of its amnesty application to the Department of Justice’s antitrust division. White & Case won dismissal of the case this year for failure to state a claim.

The firm is also advising Toshiba in international cartel proceedings in the market for LCD and CRT screens, and it defended pharmaceutical companies Par and Paddock against allegations that they used anti-competitive “reverse payments” to settle patent litigation.

Brussels

At White & Case LLP, Brussels competition head Ian S Forrester is greatly admired by his peers. "He's one of the most impressive figures on the Brussels scene," says one competition partner at a rival firm. Together with Van Bael & Bellis, Forrester handled Microsoft's appeal against an e899 million fine imposed by the European Commission, after the company allegedly failed to comply with a 2004 decision requiring it to license interoperability information for a reasonable fee. But Microsoft is far from being the firm's only high-profile case; White & Case counts GlaxoSmithKline and Rambus among its clients. The firm is representing Toshiba in the commission's switchgear cartel case and it is advising five companies on the pharmaceutical sector inquiry. It also helped secure a 40 per cent reduction in fines imposed on Nintendo for hindering parallel trade, after the video game company cooperated with proceedings. The judgment, handed down by the Court of First Instance earlier this year, was the second-largest reduction in fines in competition history.

The team, which includes seven partners, two counsel and 26 associates, does a great deal of litigation work. "That's not something that has dropped off as a result of the financial crisis," says partner James Killick. On the transactional side, it has steered through Sanofi-Aventis/Zentiva and Nordic Capital/ConvaTec.

Czech Republic

White & Case LLP's competition practice is housed within the Prague office's regulatory group. Tomáš Zagar heads the practice, which focuses around a third of its time on mergers. The rest is spent on restrictive practices such as dominance and cartels, and, working with the firm's other offices, the group has acted on some of the largest international cases to affect the Czech Republic.

The team acted for Toshiba in its successful appeal of a decision by the Czech Competition Authority finding Toshiba guilty of participation in the gas insulated switchgear cartel. The firm also represents the former state-owned synthetic rubber maker Kau?uk in its appeal of a commission decision fining the company for taking part in the synthetic rubber cartel.

France

White & Case LLP fields a nine-strong team, led by Who's Who nominee Jean-Patrice de la Laurencie and Jean-Paul Tran Thiet, who joined the firm from CMS - Bureau Francis Lefebvre, along with Sylvain Justier and Vincent Jaunet. The team comprises two partners, two senior associates and five associates.

With an impressive list of clients including Hertz, L'Oréal, Nestlé and Union des Aéroports Francais, a worldwide network and a practice covering all aspects of French and EU competition issues, de la Laurencie says the firm is set apart from other competition practices in Paris.

Hungary

White & Case LLP has a powerful corporate practice underpinning its competition team. Although it has yet to reach the heights that Baker & McKenzie has scaled, the firm's Hungarian competition practice is still a cut above most in Budapest. It fields partner and practice head István Réczicza, alongside one counsel and two associates.

Most files spill over from White & Case's corporate practice, with some referred from the firm's Brussels office. Competition clients include Colgate-Palmolive, Akzo Nobel, Nestlé, and AIG affiliate Invitel, which is the second-largest fixed-line phone operator in Hungary.

Russia

White & Case LLP has been present on the Russian market for around 15 years. Partner Igor Ostapets leads the firm's Moscow competition team - he also works on corporate matters. Three practitioners specialise in competition matters. The team works on cross-border merger transactions, and Ostapets has particular expertise in energy M&A. Other key industry areas are energy, metals and mining.

Slovakia

White & Case LLP has been a part of the Slovakian competition scene for longer than most, and handles its fair share of work. Unlike some of its rivals, though, it does not have a person who deals exclusively with competition issues. According to Marek Staron, who runs the Bratislava office, four lawyers spend a significant proportion of their time on competition work. The practice averages between five and 10 merger filings per year, and represents Toshiba in the switchgear cartel case. It has also advised companies in the food and construction industries on cartel matters, and at the end of last year, helped to overturn a cartel fine levied on highway construction company Doprastav. This year, the firm is representing 1.garantovana in the calcium carbide cartel case, defending it against the highest fine ever imposed on a Slovak company by the European Commission.

US: Governmental Antitrust

At White & Case LLP, Who's Who nominee J Mark Gidley stresses the firm's strong international presence, which gives it access to resources across the world and ensures the firm is able to handle the bulk of its work in-house.

White & Case make less distinction than other firms between antitrust lawyers and litigators. All antitrust specialists at the firm have court experience and cannot make partner without it. Gidley says it is important for clients to know that the firm will litigate a case against the antitrust enforcement agencies if needs be, to ensure that they get the best deal possible in dealings with the DoJ or FTC. Indeed, the firm won a landmark victory against the DoJ in the Stolt-Nielsen case, when the judgment ruled amnesty agreements are enforceable and binding in court.

The firm is advising Toshiba in international cartel proceedings in the market for LCD and CRT screens, and it is defending Par/Paddock against allegations that it used anti-competitive 'reverse payments' to settle pharmaceutical patent litigation.

The competition team acts for Ian Norris, the first foreign national to face extradition to the United States, firstly for antitrust violations and then on the grounds of obstruction of justice. It also advised Etron Technology, one of the companies implicated in the DoJ's cartel investigation of the SRAM market.

On the M&A front, White & Case is advising Novartis on its US$39 billion acquisition of a stake in Alcon, and it represented Mobile Mini when the company merged with rival Mobile Storage Group.

US: New York

White & Case LLP goes from strength to strength in the New York market. The hire of litigation specialist and Who's Who nominee Joseph Angland from now-dissolved Heller Ehrman LLP last year was widely seen as a coup. With fellow Who's Who entrant M Elaine Johnston, Angland is building a formidable practice. These days, 11 partners work on antitrust in New York, alongside one counsel and 18 associates.

Angland advised Novartis on its $13 billion purchase of assets from pharmaceutical rival Alcon. Chrysler is another merger client while credit bureau Experian is a litigation client, for whom Johnston and partner Robert Milne successfully fought off an antitrust claim made against it. Milne also recently helped to defend oil company Saudi Aramco in an antitrust case, winning dismissal of the suit.

On the cartel side, the firm defends electronics company Toshiba in civil suits based on the DoJ's investigation of the LCD screen market. Like many of its rivals, the firm also has clients in the pharmaceutical sector. The New York practice advises on so-called reverse payment settlements between brand and generic drugs companies, as well as providing background antitrust counselling to several companies in the market.

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