Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP at a Glance


  • “Prestige”
  • “Substantial client contact”
  • “Rotation system”


  • “Very formal”
  • “Trial by fire”
  • “A lot of stress”

The Buzz

  • “The gold standard”
  • “Trend-setters”
  • “Stuffy”
  • “Elite sweatshop”

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, securities, commercial banking 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).

If It Ain't Broke…

Cravath is a market leader in salaries, bonuses and hiring practices. Named 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, 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 includes an international aspect, and approximately 25 percent of its clients are based outside the United States. After opening and then abandoning two international offices during the last 50 years, Cravath has settled on a lean and mean approach to world dominance. It recently bulked up its London capabilities in both securities and M&A, but still continues to practice only U.S. law. London partner Philip Boeckman is a recognized corporate powerhouse in the area of capital markets and M&A, and the London office follows his lead-its accomplishments include teaming up with Freshfields to defend the London Stock Exchange from NASDAQ's £2.7 billion hostile bid.

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.


June 2013-April 2014

Don't Leave Home Without It
Cravath is representing American Express in various antitrust matters in New York federal courts, including a civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and 17 state attorneys general challenging AmEx's nondiscrimination provision in its merchant acceptance agreements. In April 2014, Cravath won a judgment in favor of AmEx after trial in a class action suit alleging that AmEx and other credit card issuers conspired, in violation of the Sherman Act, to adopt arbitration clauses barring class actions by cardholders. Cravath also handled an action heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in AmEx's favor on the enforceability of class action arbitration waivers in June 2013.

March 2014
Custody Battle and Victory at the U.S. Supreme Court
Cravath represented pro bono client Diana Montoya Alvarez in winning a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming the denial of a petition pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which requested that Ms. Montoya Alvarez's daughter be returned to the United Kingdom for custody proceedings. The petition was filed by the child's father over a year after she and her mother left the country. Cravath persuaded the courts at trial and on appeal that the child was "now settled" in the United States and that the one-year period for filing the petition before the now-settled defense can be raised cannot be equitably tolled. This decision aligns U.S. treaty interpretation with other nations'.

January 2014

Making Healthy Choices
Cravath represented a consortium of financing sources, led by BofA Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse, in connection with $12.3 billion of debt financing made available to Community Health Systems to fund its acquisition of Health Management Associates and to refinance certain indebtedness. The debt financing included an aggregate of $4.0 billion of senior secured and senior unsecured high-yield notes and the incurrence or extension of an aggregate of $8.3 billion of bank financing. Community Health Systems is one of the largest publicly traded operators of hospitals in the United States. 

October 2013

Extra, Extra!
Cravath represented The Washington Post Company in connection with the $250 million sale of its newspaper publishing businesses, including The Washington Post newspaper, to Jeffrey P. Bezos.

February 2014

High-Tech Sales
Cravath represented Life Technologies Corporation, a leading life sciences company, in connection with its $15.8 billion sale to Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

March 2013-February 2014

Masters of the Securities Litigation Universe
Cravath is handling a wide range of litigation stemming from the 2008 financial crisis. As national coordinating counsel overseeing all of Credit Suisse's residential mortgage-backed securities litigation, the firm secured the dismissal of claims against Credit Suisse covering approximately $470 million in securities in March and April 2013. Cravath also obtained PricewaterhouseCoopers's dismissal from a multibillion-dollar securities class action lawsuit arising out of severe losses at AIG that led to a government bailout. In February 2014, Cravath obtained Deloitte's dismissal from a $200 million securities lawsuit brought by SRM Global Master Fund arising out of Bear Stearns's collapse.

- Show Less + Show Full Description

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Worldwide Plaza
825 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10019-7475
Phone: (212) 474-1000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Presiding Partner: C. Allen Parker
  • Hiring Partners: George F. Schoen (Corporate); Karen A. DeMasi (Litigation)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2014: 433

  • Employment Contact
    Lisa A. Kalen
    Director of Legal Recruiting
    Phone: (212) 474-3215
    Fax: (212) 474-3225

  • Base Salary
    All 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
    93 out of 93 (2013)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Executive Compensation and Benefits
    Trusts and Estates

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY
  • London, United Kingdom

Become a Vault Basic Member

Complete your Vault Profile and get seen by top employers