Debevoise & Plimpton LLP at a Glance


  • "Work is challenging and substantive"
  • "Family-oriented culture"
  • "Commitment to women in the profession"


  • "Imbalanced workload among associates"
  • "Lack of honest feedback"
  • "Outdated technology"

The Buzz

  • “Pleasant people”
  • “Very intellectual”
  • “Too polite”
  • “Well-rounded”

About Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP ranks as one of New York's most powerful law firms, representing high-profile clients in transactions and disputes in established and emerging markets around the world. The firm's core franchise practices include strategic and private equity, M&A, insurance and financial services transactions, private funds, complex litigation/investigations and international arbitration.

Good Genes

Eli Whitney Debevoise―a direct descendent of the inventor of the cotton gin―and William E. Stevenson founded their firm in New York in 1931. Debevoise wasn't the only one with an interesting background; Stevenson was an Olympic gold medalist on the 1924 1,600 meter relay team. Francis T.P. Plimpton, whose name graced the masthead starting in 1933, was the father of famed journalist and writer George Plimpton. 

Sophisticated Practice across the Globe

Debevoise's corporate department remains its largest, with M&A and private equity leading the charge. Its lawyers consistently lead transactions for some of the world's most prominent corporations, financial services institutions and private equity firms. The firm has particularly strong experience with complex leveraged acquisitions and cross-border transactions across a wide range of industries. Debevoise is a leader in the representation of private equity firms, in fundraisings and deal activity for those firms and their portfolio companies, providing "one stop shopping" for private equity and financial sponsor clients. The firm's Financial Institutions Group possesses deep knowledge of the financial services industry and long experience counseling financial services clients on complex banking, insurance, securities broker-dealer and investment management matters.

On the litigation side, the firm boasts one of the premier and most active white collar practices in the country, representing clients in the U.S. and abroad involved in criminal and SEC investigations and litigation, and in parallel civil and administrative proceedings. The international arbitration practice includes two of the top seven leading international arbitration lawyers in the world and handles a large number of significant international arbitrations, including treaty and other public law arbitrations. Debevoise is the only law firm to have former U.S. and UK Attorneys General. The firm also has a stellar intellectual property team, covering trademark, trade dress, false advertising, anti-counterfeiting, unfair competition, copyright, trade secret, patent, first amendment, information technology, domain names and right of publicity.

The first of the firm's six international offices was opened in Paris in 1964 to provide French, U.S. and English law advice. A London bureau was established in 1989. Eastern Europe came in 1992, with the creation of a Moscow office, and in 2001, the firm opened a Frankfurt location. Debevoise has also had a presence in Asia since the 1980s and continues to maintain offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Still, the firm's midtown New York office handles the bulk of its activity and houses some 500 of the firm's lawyers.

"Do-gooder Ethos"

Debevoise has an established paper trail of pro bono achievement. Indeed, The American Lawyer has made special note of the firm's "do-gooder ethos." Recent pro bono representations have served a diverse range of clients: black and Hispanic sheet metal workers who were subject to illegal and discriminatory practices by their labor union won a long-awaited settlement; 51 Mexican nationals on death row in the United States had their rights advanced in successful litigation before the International Court of Justice and in U.S. proceedings that have twice resulted in arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court; Yemeni and Sudanese detainees at Guantánamo Bay received advocacy regarding their detainee status and conditions of detention; and asylum-seekers from around the world have benefited from Debevoise lawyers' work on their bids to obtain refugee status and settle permanently in the United States.

Dedication to Feedback

Debevoise has an associate review system designed to improve the quality, frequency and timeliness of the practical feedback it provides associates. The firm conducts training sessions for lawyers on writing effective evaluations, for partners on giving effective review talks, and for associates on making the most of feedback opportunities. It created an Associate Development Model to make explicit the competencies to be evaluated, and revised the evaluation form to track the model in order to provide more targeted feedback for junior associate reviews.


January - April 2012

Early in 2012 Litigation Chair Mary Jo White, former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, represented a number of headline clients, including JP Morgan Chase in the mortgage foreclosure investigation conducted by the state Attorneys General and the U.S. Department of Justice, the NFL on the New Orleans Saints bounty matter, and Syracuse University in connection with the investigation of allegations of sexual abuse by a former assistant basketball coach.

March 2012

Debevoise advised American International Group, Inc. (AIG) with placing 1,720,000,000 shares of Hong Kong-listed life insurance group AIA Group Limited (AIA). AIG plans to use the net proceeds from the placing to reduce the balance due to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Debevoise has been advising AIG and AIA since the autumn of 2008 in various restructurings and transactions to pay down AIG's loans from the U.S. federal government.

February 2012

In the largest buyout deal of the first quarter of 2012, Debevoise is advising Access Industries in its pending $7.15 billion acquisition, as part of a consortium, of the oil and gas exploration and production assets of El Paso Corporation, an industry leader in transporting natural gas. Access Industries is a privately held, U.S.-based industrial group with long-term holdings worldwide.

August 2011

Debevoise ramped up its talent development program for first year associates to enable them to become more knowledgeable and more business savvy earlier in their careers by introducing an intensive business education program ("mini MBA") in financial analysis, valuation and practical skills like computer spreadsheet analysis.

Debevoise IP lawyers won a key battle for client Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) in an ongoing war over whether the use of a color deserves trademark protection, when a judge overruled a preliminary injunction sought by rival shoe designer Christian Louboutin (of red sole fame) barring YSL from selling a high heel with a red bottom.

July 2011

Out of its Moscow and London offices, Debevoise advised KazakhGold Group Limited in its $11 billion merger with OJSC Polyus Gold Polyus Gold, the largest gold producer in Russia and in the subsequent listing of Polyus Gold on the London Stock Exchange. At an expected market capitalization of about $13 billion, the combined firm would be the U.K.'s biggest listed gold miner.

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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

919 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 909-6000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Presiding Partner: Michael W. Blair
  • Total No. Attorneys 2012: 687

  • Base Salary
    US offices
    1st year: $160,000
    2nd year: $170,000
    3rd year: $185,000
    4th year: $210,000
    5th year: $230,000
    6th year: $250,000
    7th year: $265,000
    Summer associate: $3,077/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    55 out of 56 (2011)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Trusts & Estates

Major Office Locations

  • Shanghai, China
  • Washington, DC
  • New York, NY
  • Moscow, Russia
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Paris, France
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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