Clients expect efficient service and clear communication
from their lawyers.
White & Case launched several innovations
that helped to improve client service
, provide a consistent client
experience and enhance our communications with clients.

Portfolio company team focuses
on long-term relationships

When a portfolio company is newly acquired by a financial sponsor, a key issue it faces is learning how to live with the new leveraged debt and equity structure put in place by the sponsor to acquire the portfolio company. To help support the relationship between financial sponsors and portfolio companies, White & Case has invested in a portfolio company team of PE, corporate and banking lawyers who work across practice areas, advising portfolio companies on everything affecting their capital structures, management incentivizations, strategic issues and any other day-to-day needs, such as advice on contentious intellectual property issues or a query relating to employment issues.

The portfolio company team helps chief financial officers and general counsels come to grips with the deal documentation, which impacts their day-to-day operations. The team is on hand immediately following the deal to give “teach-ins” on the various equity and debt documents to help management teams avoid pitfalls and ensure compliance.

By assisting companies throughout the investment life cycle, the portfolio company team focuses on getting the company ready for exit by rolling data rooms forward and ensuring the preparation of the full paper train of activity that buyers of the business will expect, as well as planning around potential issues to simplify exit transactions.

Our portfolio company team served DX (Group) plc—the British mail, courier and logistics company—while it was a portfolio company with Arle Capital Partners and throughout its 2014 IPO, and DX remains a client today. “What sets the White & Case team apart,” said DX CEO Petar Cvetkovic, “is its focus on our long-term relationship, not just the next transaction.”

One of the team’s tactics includes developing and guiding 100-day plans that detail post-deal-completion workstreams and provide clarity about which items of work are included in the deal fee. For new items, it provides a fee estimate, offering full transparency and total clarity about next steps.

Following the sale of part of the web security company Avast to PE investor CVC Capital in 2014, for example, a member of the portfolio company team was seconded part time to the portfolio client to coordinate the 100-day plan across White & Case’s Prague, London and New York offices, ensuring the client’s access to necessary international capabilities.

The new portfolio company team enables clients to maintain continuity between deals, supported by a firm that strives to understand them. And it provides a “one-stop shop” with full-service cross-border capabilities.

Matter Pathways provides tools to ensure globally consistent and cost-effective client service

Like other global law firms, White & Case has access to a huge and constantly expanding volume of internal and external know-how and information, much of it contained in document management systems, knowledge banks, CRM tools and the intranet. But how do we ensure that the information is used in the most effective way?

To meet this challenge, the Firm built Matter Pathways, which provides online tools for our lawyers with a step-by-step guide through a transaction or process. Matter Pathways goes beyond a simple enterprise-wide search; it ensures the right people receive the relevant information, at the point they need it and in the right format, so they can do their jobs more effectively. The result is consistent client service around the world and more effective and efficient work—at a lower cost.

Each pathway maps the life cycle of a matter by overlaying a user interface onto existing content, showing the bigger picture as well as the building blocks, and for the first time giving access to different types of resources in one place. Because the information is delivered to the user via the White & Case intranet, adoption of the service has been effortless. It allows our lawyers to gain access to, share and efficiently use the wealth of valuable data that are available to them.

The global focus of Matter Pathways facilitates collaborative work on multijurisdictional deals involving multiple offices and promotes a consistent approach to the different stages of a matter, regardless of where the members of the team are based. What’s more, new joiners are brought up to speed very quickly on the White & Case way of working by using Matter Pathways.

Matter Pathways also increases efficiency—the right information is accessed more quickly—and manages risk by reducing the chance of anything being overlooked. Also, Matter Pathways assists our profitability. Due diligence, for example, is a notoriously time-intensive and potentially expensive procedure, but thanks to the global due diligence toolkit it provides, the process has been streamlined and made more cost-effective.

While both the increase in efficiency and management of risk provided by Matter Pathways are internal to the workings of White & Case, clients benefit from the premium, cost-effective and efficient service they receive as a result.

Nestlé’s Trevor Brown
on the Alliance for YOUth

Nestlé launched the Alliance for YOUth in 2014 to tackle youth unemployment in Europe, which in some countries has risen to 50 percent for people under the age of 30 years. White & Case is proud to be the only law firm among the 14 global partners that Nestlé invited to help establish the Alliance—an innovative collaboration that enables White & Case to combine resources with a global client to advance the shared goals of creating opportunities for young people and ensuring readiness for work.

In this interview, Trevor Brown, Nestlé’s general counsel for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, highlights the program’s genesis and objectives as well as discusses White & Case’s participation.

When did Nestlé begin to focus on youth unemployment?
We launched the Nestlé needs YOUth Initiative at the end of 2013, pledging by 2016 to hire 10,000 people in Europe who are under 30 years of age and also open 10,000 apprenticeship and training opportunities for this group. By September 2014, Nestlé had already created more than 8,600 such opportunities.

How did the Alliance for YOUth take shape?
To fully leverage our scale, we realized we would need to involve partners in addressing this challenge. In early 2014, Nestlé joined forces with 14 of its strategic providers, including White & Case, to create the backbone of the Alliance for YOUth, which is supported by the European Commission’s European Alliance for Apprenticeships. About 200 companies are now involved, collectively pledging to create 100,000 jobs and training opportunities as well as provide career mentoring and training programs to prepare young people for the job market.

What will be the impact of the Nestlé alliance with White & Case?
Nestlé and White & Case are working together to establish a powerful mentoring network for young people in Europe who want to pursue a career in law or for whom we can provide more general career counseling and training. The mentoring initiative is led by senior lawyers at Nestlé and White & Case who are based in countries spanning the continent, including Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Russia. This unprecedented partnership gives young people access to successful practitioners who can provide invaluable guidance on the full range of opportunities in the field. I’m not aware of any other initiative that involves close collaboration of this scale between an in-house legal team and a major law firm.