Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP at a Glance


  • “Great, intelligent colleagues”
  • “The rotation system”
  • “Best deals in NYC”


  • “Needing to be on-call 24/7”
  • “Lack of transparency”
  • “The expectation of perfection”

The Buzz

  • “Best of the best”
  • “M&A Powerhouse”
  • “Work crazy hours”
  • “Arrogant”

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. 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 recently represented Grupo Modelo, as U.S. counsel, in its $20.1 billion acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev-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.


February-April 2016
Don't Cry for Me, Argentina

After being retained as new counsel to the Republic of Argentina in February 2016, Cravath obtained the vacatur of extraordinary injunctions that had been imposed on Argentina in 2012 and 2015, first at the district court level and then on an expedited appeal before the Second Circuit. The victory cleared the way for Argentina to resolve the vast majority of its litigation with holdout creditors and return to the international capital markets for the first time since its $80 billion default in 2001, with the largest ever emerging markets debt offering.

February 2016
Big Pharma, Big Bridge Loans

Cravath represented Mylan N.V., as borrower, and Mylan Inc., as guarantor, in connection with a $6 billion term loan A bridge facility and a $4.05 billion term loan B bridge facility provided to finance its acquisition of Meda AB and to refinance existing indebtedness. 

October and November 2015
AmEx Antitrust Arbitrations and Actions

Cravath is representing American Express in several antitrust matters in New York and California courts, including merchant arbitrations, merchant and consumer class actions, and a civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and 17 state attorneys general that was tried over seven weeks in 2014 and is now on appeal. Cravath won a judgment in favor of AmEx after a five-week trial, affirmed on appeal in November 2015, in a class action suit alleging a conspiracy by credit card issuers to adopt arbitration clauses barring class actions by cardholders. Cravath also won the October 2015 dismissal of a shareholder derivative suit arising from allegations in the DOJ action.

October 2015
Ferrari's Fast Start

Cravath represented the underwriters, led by UBS Investment Bank and BofA Merrill Lynch, in connection with the $982 million initial public offering of Ferrari, one of the world's leading luxury brands focused on the design, engineering, production, and sale of the world's most recognizable luxury performance sports cars.

July 2015
Cigna-Anthem Merger

Cravath is representing Cigna Corporation in connection with its pending $54.2 billion merger with Anthem, Inc.

June 2015
The Wide World of Litigation

Representing ABC and ESPN, Cravath won the June 2015 dismissal of a putative class action in Tennessee federal court brought by former NCAA football and basketball players against various broadcasters, athletic conferences, and licensing entities, centered on the issue of whether student athletes should receive compensation. Plaintiffs asserted right of publicity, Lanham Act, federal antitrust and related state law claims, and sought treble and other damages. Plaintiffs have appealed. 

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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

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


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Presiding Partner: C. Allen Parker
  • Hiring Partners: Eric L. Schiele (Corporate); Karin A. DeMasi (Litigation)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 497

  • 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
    100 out of 100 (2Ls) (2015)

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

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY
  • London, United Kingdom