First Class Response

A White & Case lawyer goes above and
beyond to help victims of Hurricane Sandy

White & Case associate Jonathan Ulrich had planned to cross areas without food, water or electricity—just not in the populated neighborhoods of Central and Northern New Jersey. He was packing for a desert hiking vacation in October 2012 when his flight was canceled by wind and water as Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Jonathan, a lawyer in our Washington, DC office, decided his time and energy would be better spent helping with the relief efforts, and headed north to the disaster area. He found homes destroyed, buildings flooded and people in need—but also volunteers like himself who wanted to help.

For two weeks, Jonathan participated in disaster relief operations with the American Red Cross, helping launch the large-scale distribution of relief supplies in New Jersey. He extended his leave with the full support of the partners in the arbitration practice when his role had become critical to the operations.

On the first day of relief operations, Jonathan led a quickly assembled convoy of trucks and cars to deliver emergency supplies to particularly hard hit urban areas. By the time he left the area of operations two weeks later, he was coordinating a fleet of approximately 70 trucks and a team of more than 100 volunteers that together had delivered nearly two million items of food, water and other basic necessities to residents throughout New Jersey.

“It was a tremendous experience in leadership and management of scarce operational resources, including people, vehicles, fuel and relief supplies,” Jonathan said. “The efforts by all of the volunteers on the bulk distribution team were truly impressive. As just one example, in the middle of the Nor’easter snowstorm that hit the area shortly after Sandy, I led a truck convoy to make an urgent midnight delivery of supplies for hundreds of people at a shelter. Volunteers on my team stepped forward for the operation without hesitation and performed flawlessly under challenging circumstances. I am happy that I could play a part.”

Jonathan is just one of many White & Case people who found a way to help following the disaster. Based on his exceptional role in the relief efforts, senior Red Cross disaster operations staff presented him with a Red Cross Exceptional Volunteer Service Award.

The Firm responds to meet new needs

After Hurricane Sandy, the nature and urgency of pro bono legal services in the New York area were transformed overnight by the emergency. Our lawyers responded quickly. Lawyers in our New York office participated in disaster assistance clinics sponsored by the City Bar Justice Center, Legal Services NYC, The Legal Aid Society, New York Legal Assistance Group and the City Bar Committee on Pro Bono and Legal Services aimed at assisting residents and small business owners who were adversely affected by the storm. The clinics provide legal counseling on Disaster Unemployment Assistance and benefits offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as on issues related to insurance, food stamps, replacement of documents and other such needs.

White & Case offered a Gift Matching Program for lawyer and employee donations worldwide to relief agencies actively engaged in responding to this disaster. Partnering with local organizations, the New York office collected food and emergency supplies for distribution to those in need. We also created an employee emergency resource webpage containing contact information for power and transportation, details on Firm charitable response programs, local volunteer opportunities and an exchange board designed to enable White & Case employees to help each other following a disaster.
Read more about our
charitable contributions

Read more about our
volunteerism programs

The nature and urgency of pro bono legal services in the New York area were transformed overnight by the emergency. Our lawyers responded quickly.


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