Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “Challenging and cutting edge cases”
  • “A lot of responsibility from the beginning”
  • “Best exit options”

Downers

  • “Hours can be demanding”
  • “Opaque path to partnership”
  • “Culture of perfectionism”

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).

If It Ain't Broke…

Cravath is a market leader in salaries, bonuses, and hiring practices. 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 leaders in the areas of capital markets and M&A. The corporate powerhouse is representing Luxottica, as U.S. counsel, in its pending $49 billion combination with Essilor-a headline deal led by one of the firm's London partners.

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
Credit Where Credit is Due

Cravath has been Credit Suisse's go-to counsel for their most significant matters since successfully leading the company's defense in Enron-related litigation 15 years ago. Among other matters, Cravath currently represents Credit Suisse in litigation brought by former Huntsman shareholders relating to the failed 2008 Hexion/Huntsman merger, which is scheduled for trial in February 2018; in all of its residential mortgage-backed securities litigation, so far securing the dismissal of claims covering approximately $835 million in securities; and in pursuing over $1 billion in claims in the Lehman bankruptcy related to the early termination of derivative trades. 

February 2017
One Tequila, Two Tequila…

Cravath represented Becle, S.A.B. de C.V. in connection with its MXN12.8 billion 144A/Reg. S international offering of shares in the United States and its concurrent MXN5.8 billion initial public offering offered in Mexico through the Mexican Stock Exchange and the Latin American Integrated Market. Becle, S.A.B. de C.V. and its subsidiaries, collectively known as Jose Cuervo, is a globally recognized spirits company and the largest tequila producer in the world.

Turbo Charge Court Win

Cravath represented DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. in a consolidated class action securities lawsuit in federal court in the Central District of California alleging that the company misrepresented its financial performance with respect to the 2013 animated film, Turbo. The court granted defendants' motion to dismiss in April 2015, which was affirmed on appeal by the Ninth Circuit in February 2017. Cravath also represented DreamWorks in connection with a related SEC investigation, which the SEC terminated without taking action in July 2016.

November 2016
That's Kind of a Big Deal

Cravath represented Qualcomm Incorporated, as borrower, in connection with a US$5 billion amended and restated senior unsecured revolving credit facility provided for working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes and a US$4 billion senior unsecured delayed-draw term loan facility provided to finance the acquisition of NXP Semiconductors N.V. by Qualcomm River Holdings B.V., a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated.

October 2016
TV on Your Phone

Cravath is representing Time Warner Inc. in connection with its pending US$108.7 billion sale to AT&T Inc. The deal combines Time Warner's vast library of content with AT&T's extensive customer relationships, pay TV subscriber base and leading scale in TV, mobile, and broadband distribution.

September 2016
Platinum Win

Cravath led American Express to a major victory in a lawsuit brought by the DOJ and 17 state attorneys general alleging that "nondiscrimination" provisions in AmEx's card agreements prohibiting merchants from steering customers to use other cards restrained competition in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Cravath tried the case over seven weeks in New York federal court. Although the trial court ruled adversely, a panel of the Second Circuit unanimously reversed the decision and directed judgment in favor of AmEx in September 2016.

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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: Eric L. Schiele (Corporate); Michael A. Paskin (Litigation)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 498

  • Base Salary
    All offices
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year: $190,000
    3rd year: $210,000
    4th year: $235,000
    5th year: $260,000
    6th year: $280,000
    7th year: $315,000
    Summer associate: $3,500/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    110 out of 110 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

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

Major Office Locations

  • New York (HQ) London