White & Case partners to forge fresh African links

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  • This is news??? Sounds to me like some partners who won't go quietly in the partnership cull have agreed to go to Africa "to consolidate plans to enhance the firm’s projects and finance practice in the region" in order to keep their standing as a partner and, thus, remain on the W&C payroll for the near future. Little do those partners know that they are only postponing the day when they eventually get cut from the W&C partnership (assuming that, in fact, W&C stays afloat in the long term).

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  • What is it with the anti-W&C remarks on this site? Its not an incredible firm, but making assumptions around 'afloat', not 'afloat', etc., is just plain silly.

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  • Agree with the 11.36am poster. Some disgruntled ex-employee needs to leave it alone. W&C are weathering the storm better than most.

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  • Anonymous - let he who is without sin throw the first stone - or rock, if you will!

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  • White & Case in general and Philip Stopford in particular have long experience in African project finance transactions and initial bond issuance facilities, not to mention a close working relationship with the IFC. This is a sensible move which is true to the specialness of the W&C tradition.

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  • Nick Budd - you say "specialness" - don't you mean cake? Ha!

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  • White & Case is not the only firm to make this move. DWS has been focusing on Africa for a while now. White & Case has always been focused on emerging markets so it makes sense for it to roll out more practice groups in Africa.

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  • Anonymous (11:36am) and Anonymous (12:02pm): "W&C are weathering the storm better than most"?? White & Case has the largest number of layoffs of ANY firm in the world! White & Case is planning to cut between 10 to 15% of its partners. White & Case has lost its relationship partner for UBS and JP Morgan in London. White & Case has lost three of its most prominent partners in (including the head of) its Bankruptcy and Restructuring Department in New York - attorneys they desperately need in these troubled times. Weathering the storm better than other firms? What planet do you live on? Time to come back to Planet Earth!

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  • Dear Anonymous 4:32 am,
    I can see that being awake at 4.32am, means that you are not working. Either you were given the pink slip or you are a disgruntled student who got rejected at the Open Day stage for a TC at White & Case.
    Either way, I wish you all the best in life.

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  • Anon at 4:32 am:
    If you must compare absolute numbers (which is really silly) instead of doing a relative comparison using percentages, why is it that A&O with 260 associates laid off (plus practice group and partner carnage), CC with 220 laid off (plus practice group and partner carnage), etc., etc., is so much better than W&C with 300 associates laid off and a 10 - 15% partner cull?
    Laying 300 associates off was bound to happen - W&C is a lower RPL x higher associates model.
    Go away and be a little productive - brush the chips off you shoulder and come back with a relative analysis in terms of number of lawyers laid off as a percentage of total lawyers. Take in to account new office, old offices, closed offices.
    Also, seriously dude, get off the 'OMG, A law firm, or B Law firm has lost x and y and z partners'. While adminttedly, its not nice to lose important partners, partners come and partners go and unless they come and go in offices and droves, law firms usually carry on just fine.

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  • I think this is a really good idea. The work is drying up in a lot of countries and Africa remains relatively untouched by international law firms. There is a fair bit of money in Africa that could be invested internationally and firms could do well by getting close to that.

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  • At least the partners are going to the best emerging market in the world right now. If you're in Angola, Mozambique or Johannesburg you're pretty much guaranteed to be a success, with hard work of course.
    I wish I was getting posted there rather than picking up redundancy over here!

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  • Africa is a huge continent and clearly has a lot to offer international firms. I'm glad to hear that White & Case will be working alongside local firms. The markets there are so diverse that it wouldn't make sense for the firm to try to go in alone. How complex is the system for international firms setting up there though? Do they have to go through the same strict regulatory regimes as in Asia?

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  • Hmm. While it's true that partners come and go, W&C is definitely going through tough times of its own, irrespective of what's happening globally. They've lost key partners in London, Asia and New York, and have failed to capitalize on their advantages in emerging markets like Brazil.
    Again, partners come and go, but the amount of ship-jumping that has been seen at W&C in the past year or so should give one pause to consider.
    Perhaps the global crisis will allow them to rebuild while everyone else is also retrenching; on the other hand, W&C might be severely weakened already and might not recover.
    Not making any dire predictions but considering the size and scope of this firm, it definitely will make for interesting watching.

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  • good luck with the competition in those markets.

    Many Portuguese firms hold the monopolies and contacts in the majority of business operations in those countries!!!

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  • once again, milk africa for what it's got!

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