Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP at a Glance


  • “Wonderful people who are true professionals”
  • “Culture is great”
  • “Complex, sophisticated work”


  • “Slim partnership prospects”
  • “Big”
  • “Long hours”

The Buzz

  • “Bonus trendsetters”
  • “Top tier”
  • “Preppy”
  • “Very corporate”

About Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, 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.

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: 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. 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 PricewaterhouseCoopers US in all civil litigation and investigations relating to Bernard Madoff, the Audit Committee of Bear Stearns in its investigation into the collapse of two hedge funds, and Morgan Stanley in all matters arising from the mortgage meltdown and financial crisis.


April 2015

Delicious Deals
The American Lawyer named Gar Bason among its 2015 "Dealmakers of the Year." Bason, the global chairman of Davis Polk's mergers and acquisitions practice, was recognized for his role advising Tyson Foods on its $8.55 billion acquisition of Hillshire Brands.

February 2015

First Place Finishers
In the final 2014 Bloomberg capital markets league table rankings, Davis Polk once again had the most No. 1 rankings across all categories and also ranked 1st in 14 Global and U.S. categories-more than any other firm.

December 2014

Award Winning Practices
Law360 named Davis Polk a "Practice Group of the Year" in four areas: Banking, Capital Markets, Competition and M&A.

November 2014

Commercial Litigation Experts
The 2015 U.S. News-Best Lawyers' "Best Law Firms" report named Davis Polk as "Commercial Litigation Law Firm of the Year."

October 2014

Welcome Home
Former Chief of the Fraud Section and Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice Denis McInerney returned to the firm as a partner in the white collar criminal defense and investigations practice in New York.

June 2014

Supporting Diversity
At the 2014 Euromoney LMG Americas Women in Business Law Awards, Davis Polk received the award for "Best Gender Diversity Initiative by an International Firm" for the second consecutive year.

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Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

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


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Thomas J. Reid
  • Hiring Partner: Warren Motley
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 916

  • Employment Contact
    Cristóbal V. Modesto
    Director of Legal Recruiting
    Phone: 212-450-4768
    Fax: 212-450-5046
    Email: cristobal.modesto@davispolk.com

  • Base Salary
    All US 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
    Summer associate: $3,077/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    121 out of 121 (2014)

  • 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
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