Faculty, employees establish White & Case Award to recognize pro bono work

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Staff Writer

Sweet Briar College has announced the establishment of the White & Case Award, an annual gift to a qualified Sweet Briar student. The award will provide the recipient supplemental financial assistance for continuing her studies at the College.

The award was established in recognition of the pro bono legal representation that the international law firm White & Case LLP provided to faculty and staff of the College in the wake of the March 2015 closure announcement. Initiated by the firm’s retired managing partner of 20 years, the now-deceased James Hurlock, and led by partner Michael Shepherd, White & Case represented Sweet Briar College’s faculty and staff in legal action opposing the College’s closing and in the mediation arranged by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring that led to an agreement keeping the College open.

Shepherd, although based in Miami, returned again and again to Virginia to meet with employees, attend court hearings and participate in the mediation sessions. Many other White & Case attorneys and employees contributed to the firm’s representation of Sweet Briar College’s faculty and staff. Among them are Thomas Lauria, global head of White & Case’s financial restructuring and insolvency practice, and Raoul Cantero, a former Florida Supreme Court Justice and head of the firm’s Miami disputes practice, both of whom traveled to Sweet Briar for the initial meeting with faculty and staff.

The value of the firm’s pro bono representation exceeded $1.569 million.

The White & Case Award was established by gifts from Sweet Briar College faculty and staff members Carrie and John Gregory Brown, Scott and Phoebe Hyman, and Aaron and Elisabeth Mahler.

“We feel such an immense sense of gratitude to White & Case,” John Gregory Brown said. “We wanted to find a way to recognize the firm’s enormous generosity and how very important their support was for the College’s employees, whose lives were upended in such a devastating manner by the sudden announcement of the College’s closure.

“Michael Shepherd worked so tirelessly on our behalf. We could never repay that debt. But we do hope that this award will at least remind future students and employees of the incredible contribution that Michael and his colleagues made in keeping Sweet Briar College alive.”

For more information about Sweet Briar College’s White & Case Award, please contact the alumnae relations and development office at (434) 381-6131. For more information about White & Case, contact Erin B. Hershkowitz, media relations manager, at (646) 885-2200 or erin.hershkowitz@whitecase.com.