18 Feb 2022

Global network delivers as White & Case posts 20% revenue hike to $2.87bn

PEP up by 17% against backdrop of record deal markets as New York firm underlines extent of cross-border work

White & Case's London office, the front entrance taken from the opposite side of the road

White & Case's London office

White & Case has delivered a robust set of 2021 financial results with revenue increasing by 20% to $2.87bn against a 17% rise in profit per equity partner (PEP) to $3.514m.

The New York-based firm saw double digit revenue increases across all three of its regions, with Asia Pacific clocking up the steepest rise of 30% followed by the Americas (23%) and the EMEA region (15%).

Cross-border work increased by 6% to account for 54% of the total revenue generated by the firm’s network of 45 offices in 31 countries, its lawyers having advised clients based in 115 countries on matters spanning 196.

The firm’s key metrics also showed evidence of significant investment. Lawyer count was up 9% to 2,464 while there was a 9.5% increase in total partners (643) with the equity partner count up by 6% to 363. It hired 40 partners across the year. Despite this expansion, the firm achieved a 10% increase in revenue per lawyer to $1.165m.

London-based executive committee member Oliver Brettle said: “Our success is built on a clear growth strategy and executing against it; a continuing shift in the client mix to focus on advising leading global organisations on their most important, complex, cross-border matters; strong, double-digit revenue growth in all three White & Case regions; and busy lawyers across our global practices delivering exceptional service to our clients.”
 
The results come off the back of a strong 2020, when it recorded a 9% increase in revenue with PEP rising by 16%. They are also in line with other early results posted by leading US law firms and reflect record deal markets in 2021.

Fellow top 10 firm Sidley Austin has recorded a 13.5% increase in revenue to $2.795bn against a 20% increase in PEP to $3.718m. Top 40 outfit Dechert, meanwhile, posted a 25% revenue increase to $1.341bn with PEP up 49% to $4.231m, according to preliminary data provided to Law.com.

White & Case is notable among US firms for the extent of its international network. It has ten offices in the Americas, 26 across the EMEA region and nine in Asia Pacific. It notes that in what was a record year for partner promotions, 64% of the class were based outside the US.

In London, where the firm has more than 400 lawyers and the third-highest revenue of a US firm, turnover was up by 12% to around $445m. 

London Office Executive Dipen Sabharwal said: “Our London practices were very busy supporting clients as the office again made a significant contribution – one sixth of the global total – to another year of record global financial results. Since the start of 2016, our UK revenue has increased by 53%. Our success speaks volumes for the hard work and dedication of our people in London and the office is positioned to continue its track record of success in 2022 and beyond.”
 
Unsurprisingly, given the firm’s performance in the M&A deal tables – it was placed fifth in Refinitiv’s 2021 global M&A ranking by announced deals – the firm highlights M&A and private equity as strong practice areas. White & Case was placed fifth in the , advising on 516 deals with a total value of $512.8bn.

It also cited asset finance, capital markets, project development and finance and technology as high performing practice areas. 

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