Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP at a Glance


  • “The people are all pretty chill”
  • “Lack of billable requirements alleviates stress”
  • “Never a fight to get work”


  • “The highly hierarchical nature”
  • “Health insurance coverage not great”
  • “The unpredictable hours”

The Buzz

  • “Top notch corporate practice”
  • “The best in securities”
  • “Passive aggressive”
  • “Stuffy”

About Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, founded in New York City more than 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 more than 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 John 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.

International Flair

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: thriving 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. Approximately 50 percent of the firm's principal clients are non-U.S. companies or governments.

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-ever IPO by a U.S. issuer-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 crisis, representing the owners of the New York Mets in connection with the highly publicized litigation arising from the Madoff liquidation, Citibank in multi-billion dollar litigation in the United States, and Argentina related to Argentina's 2001 sovereign debt default, and Morgan Stanley in all matters arising from the mortgage meltdown and financial crisis.


February 2016
Credit Where Credit is Due

In Bloomberg's Year-End 2015 Capital Markets league tables, Davis Polk had the most #1 rankings across all categories and also ranked 1st in 17 Global and U.S. categories-more than twice as many as the next firm. Davis Polk's Credit Group advised on nearly 100 deals totaling over $217 billion in 2015, ranking the firm as the top legal advisor in Overall Acquisition and Lender-Side  Acquisition loan volume for the year, according to Thomson Reuters LPC.

September 2015
International Investigatory Ingenuity

Global Investigations Review named Davis Polk to its inaugural "GIR 30," a guide to the world's best law firms for international investigations work.

August 2015
Bigger and Better

Law360 named Davis Polk to its annual "Global 20" list, which recognizes firms with the biggest global presence and those that handle the largest, most significant and groundbreaking international and cross-border matters.

June 2015
Leading Ladies

For the fourth consecutive year, Davis Polk was named a "Gold Standard Firm" by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum, in recognition of the firm's commitment to integrating women into leadership positions.

Transgender Allies

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) honored longtime pro bono partner Davis Polk for the firm's commitment to transgender advocacy at its annual Freedom Awards benefit. Through TLDEF's Name Change Project, Davis Polk has successfully assisted more than 300 transgender individuals with their petitions to change their names to those more reflective of their gender identity and gender expression.

May 2015
Corporate Recognition

Davis Polk was named "Corporate/M&A Team of the Year" and "Investment Funds Client Service Team of the Year" at the 2015 Chambers USA  Awards. The awards recognize firms for their preeminence in key practice areas, as well as their notable achievements over the past year, including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth, and excellence in client service. 

- Show Less + Show Full Description

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

450 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 450-4000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Thomas J. Reid
  • Hiring Partners: Warren Motley & Maurice Blanco
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 933

  • Base Salary
    All US 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
    Summer associate: $3,500/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    134 out of 134 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Antitrust & Competition
    Capital Markets
    Corporate Governance
    Derivatives and Structured Products
    Executive Compensation
    Financial Institutions
    Global Technology
    Insolvency & Restructuring
    Intellectual Property
    Investment Management
    Mergers & Acquisitions
    Private Equity
    Real Estate
    Trusts & Estates

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY (HQ)
  • Menlo Park, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • São Paulo
  • London
  • Paris
  • Madrid
  • Hong Kong
  • Beijing
  • Tokyo
- Show Less + Show More