Established more than two centuries ago, Cadwalader, Wickersham
& Taft LLP is one of the oldest law firms in the United States
and the oldest Wall Street firm still in existence. Known
especially for its capital markets, bankruptcy and real estate
expertise, the firm is a well-established presence in the New York
legal market and has expanded around the globe in recent years.
First on the Street
Cadwalader was founded in New York in 1792, just a few years
after the United States ratified its first national constitution.
In the late 19th century, the firm introduced such new-fangled
technology as typewriters and telephones to its offices. Cadwalader
was similarly revolutionary in its approach to training and
staffing: to replace the old system of unpaid law clerkships, the
firm established the role of the associate.
The present-day Cadwalader forged a niche early on by working on
commercial claims, litigation, maritime law and real estate for
banks, insurance companies and members of New York society. The
real catalyst for the growth and increased financial stability the
firm experienced throughout the 20th century, however, came only
when former US Assistant Secretary of State John Cadwalader joined
the firm in 1878, bringing big-time corporate connections with him.
The 1889 addition of named partner Henry Taft-whose older brother
would later succeed Teddy Roosevelt in the White House-brought more
political clout and cemented the firm's status as a fixture in
American law. In 1942, the firm elevated lawyer Catherine Noyes Lee
to partner, making Lee the first woman partner of a major Wall
Ever-evolving financial nous
Today, Cadwalader operates eight offices in the United States,
Europe and China, with an eye that's generally focused on corporate
and financial work, including some of the most interesting and
complex cases and deals for some of the most prominent businesses.
Cadwalader's London office was established in 1997 and is best
known for its capital markets, structured products and
restructuring work. The office includes lawyers qualified in
England and Wales, Ireland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and
multiple US jurisdictions.
Cadwalader's reputation has earned it a stable of prestigious
clients, including leading financial services institutions, such as
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and UBS
AG; global insurance companies such as AIG, CIGNA, Munich Re,
Prudential and Swiss Re; and major corporations, including Anheuser
Busch InBev, Chevron, Dow Chemical, Hoffmann-La Roche Inc, IBM,
Lockheed Martin and Motorola.
During the recent economic crisis, as real estate and structured
finance work began to slow, Cadwalader responded with redundancies
and a shift in leadership, and the London office lost a number of
partners and associates. But the firm-traditionally a finance
powerhouse-has also increasingly relied on other areas of strength
in tough times, including its antitrust, IP, securities and
white-collar litigation practices, as well as its energy,
restructuring and regulatory groups. For example, Cadwalader
advised the US Treasury Department on restructuring options for
American automakers General Motors and Chrysler, and counselled
LyondellBasell when the Dutch petrochemical giant filed for
bankruptcy in New York with $19 billion in liabilities.
Starting the year with renewed energy
Cadwalader kicked off the new year in 2011 with the launch of a
new global energy and commodities practice and an office in
Houston, Texas, thanks to the hiring of a nine-partner energy team
from McDermott Will & Emery, including the head of McDermott's
energy and commodities advisory practice and the global co-leader
of the firm's M&A group. The team also includes Doron Ezickson,
McDermott's former London managing partner and head of the firm's
international energy and commodities team. Ezickson joined
Cadwalader's London office, while the other members of the team
work in New York, Washington DC and Houston.
Going big in Brussels
In another high-profile expansionist move, Cadwalader brought in
Linklaters EU and competition law specialist Alec Burnside to
launch an office in Brussels in May 2011. Burnside's record
includes advising Microsoft on its acquisition of Yahoo!'s search
function, successfully defending Aer Lingus against hostile
takeover bids by Ryanair and advising Deutsche Börse on its pending
merger with NYSE Euronext. A few months later, the Brussels team
acquired another antitrust star when Anne MacGregor joined as
special counsel from Baker & McKenzie.
Once you pop, the fun don't stop
Consumer product giant Procter & Gamble sought Cadwalader's
tax counsel in its sale of potato-crisp brand Pringles to packaged
food company Diamond Foods Inc, maker of such popular snacks as
Kettle Brand Chips. The $2.35 billion price tag includes $1.5
billion in Diamond stock and the assumption of $850 million in
debt. The addition of the iconic Pringles canister to Diamond's
collection of brands will reportedly triple the size of Diamond's
global business and more than double its sales in the UK and the
US. The transaction, which was announced in April 2011, is expected
to close by the end of the year.
Pleased as Punch
In 2011, Cadwalader was retained by MBIA to advise on an
impending restructuring of Punch Taverns Finance B Limited, a whole
business securitisation vehicle owned by Punch Taverns Finance Plc.
The Punch restructuring will be one of the first whole business
securitisation deals restructured in the UK.
It's kind of a big deal
For its role as debtor's counsel for the global reorganisation
of petrochemical giant LyondellBasell Industries, Cadwalader was
the recipient of numerous awards, including "Restructuring Deal of
the Year" at the International Financial Law Review
European awards ceremony in London in March 2011; "Deal of the
Year" by Investment Dealers' Digest; and the "Industrial
Goods and Basic Resource Deal of the Year" by The M&A
Advisor in Palm Beach, Florida. The awards recognise the
firm's work on the matter, including securing an $8 billion DIP
facility (the greatest in Chapter 11 history at the time) and
settling the largest fraudulent conveyance action against secured
A royal transaction
In February 2011, Cadwalader was honoured for its work on the
origination and securitisation of RBS Commercial Funding 2010-MB1,
a transaction for client Royal Bank of Scotland. Thomson
Financial's International Financing Review recognised the
transaction as "Americas Securitisation of the Year".