Davis Polk & Wardwell, founded in New York City over 160
years ago, has finance in its DNA. The firm boasts one of the
nation's best and most comprehensive corporate departments, with
impressive teams in capital markets, M&A, bankruptcy, and tax.
Its highly-regarded litigation practice-which includes a top-notch
white-collar criminal defense team-also has deep roots: in his long
career, name partner John Davis argued over 250 cases before the
U.S. Supreme Court.
On the Coattails of the Robber Barons
Davis Polk dates back to 1849, making it one of the oldest law
firms in the United States. Original founder Francis Bangs made his
name opposing the legendary Boss Tweed and his Tammany Hall
cronies. Bangs' successor, Francis Stetson, was quick to recognize
the growing importance of corporate work. In 1887, banker and
industrialist J. Pierpont Morgan selected Stetson for his chief
counsel-the firm helped Morgan restructure the Pennsylvania
Railroad and create General Electric. Morgan's businesses, in their
modern day incarnations-JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley-have
remained firm clients. Over the course of many decades, the firm
has built relationships with a host of other financial institutions
and corporations across the country and around the world.
Davis Polk's flair for the international is well-established. The
firm has expanded across Europe, opening its Paris office in 1962,
its London office in 1973 and its Madrid office in 2001. In 2007,
Davis Polk opened an office in Beijing, its third Asian office
after Hong Kong and Tokyo. The firm's seventh international office,
in São Paulo, opened in 2011.
Under managing partner Tom Reid, expect the firm to continue doing
what it does best: expanding overseas and representing financial
institutions. Reid, who hails from Scotland himself, took a hiatus
from law to join the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley
in London before returning to the firm in 2003, bringing back loads
of capital markets, M&A and corporate governance business with
European blue-chip companies and financiers.
Staying on Top
Davis Polk emerged swinging from the 2008 economic downturn,
gobbling up resulting M&A and restructuring work while its PPP
continued to rise-all without dumping or driving away loads of
associates. From advising on unprecedented transactions in the
banking industry (such as counseling Citi on its $306 billion
loss-protection agreement with the U.S. government) to the largest
IPO in history-counseling the underwriters on the $23.1 billion IPO
of GM-Davis Polk knows how to successfully weather the storm.
Davis Polk's litigators are no slouches either. Known for their
elite trial work in general commercial, white-collar, and
antitrust, they've taken the bull by the horns in litigation
stemming from the financial industry's meltdown, representing Bank
of America's board in the Merrill Lynch acquisition litigation,
Bear Stearns' audit committee in hedge fund collapse
investigations, and Citigroup and other banks in litigation
relating to one of the largest-ever leveraged buyouts.
IN THE NEWS
Cleaning Up at the IFLR Americas Awards
At the 2013 IFLR Americas Awards, Davis Polk was named "Americas
Law Firm of the Year" for the second consecutive year. Davis Polk
is the only firm to receive the honor in back-to-back years. The
firm also won "Debt and Equity-Linked Team of the Year," "Financial
Regulation Team of the Year," "Restructuring Team of the Year" and
"Restructuring Deal of the Year."
Head of the Table
Davis Polk ranked first in the Global and U.S. M&A league
tables for the first quarter of 2013. Deal highlights included
Heinz's $28 billion acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G
Capital, and Comcast's $18.1 billion acquisition of the remaining
equity stake in NBCUniversal.
Hong Kong Strong
Davis Polk strengthened its market-leading litigation practice and
expanded its global enforcement capability in Asia with the
announcement that prominent litigators Martin Rogers and James
Wadham will join the firm's Hong Kong office.
Davis Polk advised Santander Mexico on its $4.1 billion global
initial public offering and dual Mexican Stock Exchange/NYSE
listing. The deal was the largest IPO in Latin America since 2009,
the largest-ever IPO on the Mexican market, and the second-largest
U.S. IPO of 2012.
Trusted by the Treasury
Davis Polk advised the U.S. Treasury on the $20.7 billion
SEC-registered common stock offering of American International
Group (AIG)-the largest common stock offering in U.S.
Pro Bono across the Board
Law360 selected Davis Polk as a "Pro Bono Firm of 2012" in
recognition of the firm's efforts over the past year, including its
representation of mortgage modification fraud victims, death row
inmates, individuals seeking asylum in the U.S., restaurant
workers, and a class of foster youth, among many others.