Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “High-profile deals and clients”
  • “Early responsibility”
  • “The rotation system”

Downers

  • “The hours are very long”
  • “Sky high expectations”
  • “Being available all the time”

About Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has been known as one of the nation's pre-eminent law firms for nearly 200 years. With industry-leading practices on both the litigation and corporate sides and stand-out teams in M&A, capital markets, banking and credit, and corporate governance, Cravath has played a central role in developing not only how law is practiced, but also how lawyers are trained. Although the firm has only two offices and a relatively concentrated list of services, it has the unqualified esteem of its peers.

Storied History

At nearly two centuries old, Cravath is one of the nation's oldest law firms. Firm founders Richard Blatchford and William Seward were active early members of the Whig party, and Seward went on to develop an illustrious career as a federal statesman, including as Lincoln's Secretary of State. Past clients of the firm include several 19th century greats, such as New York Tribune publisher and famed abolitionist Horace Greeley, whom the firm defended in a libel suit filed by Last of the Mohicans author James Fenimore Cooper. The firm also has a history of championing new-fangled notions: Cravath has represented inventors Samuel Morse (the electric telegraph), Cyrus McCormick (the reaper), and Elias Howe (the sewing machine). And before he joined the firm, Paul Cravath himself represented George Westinghouse in a dispute with Thomas Edison over the patent for the lightbulb-Cravath will be played by Eddie Redmayne in a fictional accounting of the battle in the upcoming film The Last Days of Night.

If It Ain't Broke…

Cravath is a market leader in salaries, bonuses, and hiring practices, including leading the 2016 associate pay raises and coming over the top when the market went up again in 2018. Name partner Paul Cravath pioneered the modern associate hiring approach (still called "the Cravath System"), which focuses on finding the best and brightest law school grads, paying them high salaries in lockstep compensation, and promoting partners from within that group after a certain number of years. While the model is definitely fraying at the edges at many firms (associates are hardly guaranteed partnership like they used to be, and lateral movement by associates has become standard in the industry), Cravath has stuck to its guns. It rarely hires lateral partners, almost never hires lateral partnership-track associates, has kept its number of lawyers relatively low, and still rotates each of its new hires to work under as many partners as possible in the associate's chosen department.

Rolling With the Times

For a large operation, Cravath responds very nimbly to market changes. When the economy went into meltdown, Cravath's team stepped up, advising directors at companies like Citigroup, General Electric, General Motors, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Wachovia. Its partnership weathered the economic downturn well, seeing an uptick in its board advisory practice and adding a new restructuring and insolvency practice to its well-known litigation, M&A, and corporate finance capabilities. A white-shoe stalwart, Cravath has also shown its innovative side by being willing to consider-and in some circumstances even suggesting-alternative billing arrangements with its clients.

International without the Sprawl

Each of Cravath's practice areas has a strong international focus, and approximately 25 percent of its clients are based outside the United States. Cravath has settled on a lean and mean approach to world dominance with two strategically placed offices in New York and London. The firm's London office was opened in 1973 and its partners, who practice only U.S. law, are recognized as leaders in the areas of capital markets and M&A.

It's 1 p.m. Monday-Do You Know Where Your Partners Are?

In a tradition that goes back to the 1920s, every Monday afternoon, Cravath's entire New York partnership gathers for a weekly business lunch. At each of these lunches, the partnership considers and decides on pressing firm matters, discusses each new client business matter from the prior week, and reviews weekly financial statements that detail the firm's performance. Longer-term decisions and discussions of strategic initiatives are reserved for the three times each year that the firm holds a firm meeting of all partners.

 

IN THE NEWS

Ongoing

Cravath is a key player in one of the largest technology-related legal wars of the past year, representing Qualcomm Incorporated as both plaintiff and defendant in numerous high-stakes disputes and investigations around the world relating to the company's patent licensing and modem chipset businesses, including suits filed by the FTC and Apple and multidistrict consumer class action litigation.

Ongoing

Cravath partner John Buretta was appointed by two U.S. government agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") and the DOJ, to serve as compliance monitor overseeing both the recall of Takata airbags in tens of millions of U.S. vehicles-the largest and most complex recall in U.S. history-and the worldwide operations of Takata Corporation, headquartered in Japan.

June 2018

Cravath represented Time Warner in a trial victory against the DOJ, defeating the government's attempt to block Time Warner's $108.7 billion acquisition by AT&T-its first challenge to a vertical merger in decades. In addition to representing Time Warner on the deal, Cravath led its defense in the government's investigation and litigation, culminating in the June 2018 decision from Judge Richard Leon allowing the merger to proceed. Considered one of the most important antitrust cases in years, the six-week bench trial drew extensive media attention. Bloomberg called Cravath's cross-examination of key witnesses "a withering attack on the U.S. government's evidence."

December 2017

Cravath is representing The Walt Disney Company in connection with its pending $66 billion acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses.

August 2017

Cravath represented B.A.T Capital Corporation, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, in connection with its $17.25 billion 144A/Reg. S fixed and floating rate notes offering. Proceeds of the offering were used to repay a portion of amounts outstanding relating to the acquisition of Reynolds American Inc. by British American Tobacco and for general corporate purposes. The notes were listed on the London Stock Exchange.

July 2017

Cravath represented Crown Castle International Corp. ("Crown Castle"), in connection with its $7.1 billion bridge commitment to be used to finance Crown Castle's acquisition of LTS Group Holdings LLC ("Lightower"). Cravath also represented Crown Castle in connection with a commitment by Crown Castle's financing sources to provide, under certain circumstances, a "backstop" senior unsecured credit facility, consisting of a $1.75 billion revolving credit facility and a term loan facility in an aggregate principal amount equal to the term loans outstanding under Crown Castle's existing credit agreement.

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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Worldwide Plaza
825 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 474-1000

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • Presiding Partner: Faiza J. Saeed
  • Hiring Partners: D. Scott Bennett (Corporate); Michael A. Paskin (Litigation)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2018: 500

  • Base Salary
    All offices
    1st year: $190,000
    2nd year: $200,000
    3rd year: $220,000
    4th year: $255,000
    5th year: $280,000
    6th year: $305,000
    7th year: $325,000
    8th year: $340,000
    Summer associate: $3,700/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    119 out of 119 (2Ls) (2017)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Corporate • Litigation • Executive Compensation and Benefits • Tax • Trusts and Estates

Major Office Locations

  • New York (HQ) London