Debevoise & Plimpton LLP ranks as one of New York's most
powerful law firms, representing high-profile clients in
transactions and disputes in established and emerging markets
around the world. The firm's core franchise practices include
strategic and private equity, M&A, insurance and financial
services transactions, private funds, complex
litigation/investigations and international arbitration.
Eli Whitney Debevoise - a direct descendent of the
inventor of the cotton gin - and William E. Stevenson founded their
firm in New York in 1931. Debevoise wasn't the only one with an
interesting background; Stevenson was an Olympic gold medalist on
the 1924 1,600 meter relay team. Francis T.P. Plimpton, whose name
graced the masthead starting in 1933, was the father of famed
journalist and writer George Plimpton.
Sophisticated Practice across the Globe
Debevoise's corporate department remains its largest, with M&A
and private equity leading the charge. Its lawyers consistently
lead transactions for some of the world's most prominent
corporations, financial services institutions and private equity
firms. The firm has particularly strong experience with complex
leveraged acquisitions and cross-border transactions across a wide
range of industries. Debevoise is a leader in the representation of
private equity firms, in fundraisings and deal activity for those
firms and their portfolio companies, providing "one stop shopping"
for private equity and financial sponsor clients. The firm's
Financial Institutions Group possesses deep knowledge of the
financial services industry and long experience counseling
financial services clients on complex banking, insurance,
securities broker-dealer and investment management matters.
On the litigation side, the firm boasts one of the premier and
most active white collar practices in the country, representing
clients in the U.S. and abroad involved in criminal and SEC
investigations and litigation, and in parallel civil and
administrative proceedings. The international arbitration practice
includes two of the top seven leading international arbitration
lawyers in the world and handles a large number of significant
international arbitrations, including treaty and other public law
arbitrations. Debevoise is the only law firm to have former U.S.
and UK Attorneys General. The firm also has a stellar intellectual
property team, covering trademark, trade dress, false advertising,
anti-counterfeiting, unfair competition, copyright, trade secret,
patent, first amendment, information technology, domain names and
right of publicity.
The first of the firm's six international offices was opened in
Paris in 1964 to provide French, U.S. and English law advice. A
London bureau was established in 1989. Eastern Europe came in 1992,
with the creation of a Moscow office, and in 2001, the firm opened
a Frankfurt location. Debevoise has also had a presence in Asia
since the 1980s and continues to maintain offices in Shanghai and
Hong Kong. Still, the firm's midtown New York office handles the
bulk of its activity and houses more than 450 of the firm's
Debevoise has an established paper trail of pro bono achievement.
Indeed, The American Lawyer has made special note of the firm's
"do-gooder ethos." Recent pro bono representations have served a
diverse range of clients: a class of mentally ill New York City
inmates; Texas doctors whose hospital admitting privileges were
revoked because they provide abortion services at other facilities;
continued representation of certain Mexican nationals on
death row in the United States; Yemeni and Sudanese detainees at
Guantánamo Bay, including a mentally ill detainee for whom the firm
secured release and repatriation back to Sudan (it was the first
habeas grant to a Guantanamo detainee since 2010); and
asylum-seekers from around the world who have benefited from
Debevoise lawyers' work on their bids to obtain refugee status and
settle permanently in the United States.
Dedication to Feedback
Debevoise has an associate review system designed to improve the
quality, frequency and timeliness of the practical feedback it
provides associates. The firm conducts training sessions for
lawyers on writing effective evaluations, for partners on giving
effective review talks, and for associates on making the most of
feedback opportunities. It created an Associate Development Model
to make explicit the competencies to be evaluated, and revised the
evaluation form to track the model in order to provide more
targeted feedback for junior associate reviews.
IN THE NEWS
Debevoise represented former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis in his
settlement with the New York Attorney General, which arose over the
bank's consolidation with Merrill Lynch & Co in 2009. Under
terms of the agreement, Mr. Lewis agreed to a $10 million fine,
which will be paid by Bank of America.
Litigation Department of the Year
The American Lawyer named Debevoise the winner of its seventh
biennial "Litigation Department of the Year" competition,
identifying the firm as having demonstrated the most impressive
litigation accomplishments of any U.S.-based law firm over the
previous two years.
Dude, You're Getting Acquired
Debevoise advised the Special Committee of the Board of Directors
of Dell Inc. in its acquisition by Michael Dell, Dell's Founder,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Silver Lake Partners, a
leading global technology investment firm, in a transaction valued
at approximately $24.9 billion.
A $2.5 Billion Joint Acquisition
Debevoise advised Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in its deal with
Harsco Corporation to acquire Harsco's Infrastructure division and
then form a joint venture with Harsco to acquire Brand Energy &
Infrastructure Services, Inc. from private equity firm First
Reserve in a separately negotiated transaction. The joint
acquisition was valued at $2.5 billion.
Partnering with Providence Equity
Debevoise represented Providence Equity Partners in the formation
of Providence Equity Partners VII, a $5.1 billion global buyout
fund. Debevoise has represented Providence in connection with all
of its investment vehicles raised over the past decade, including
its predecessor buyout fund, Providence Equity Partners VI, a $12.1
billion fund that closed in 2007.
10-Year A-List Winner
Debevoise placed No. 1 overall in The American Lawyer's "10-Year
A-List," a ranking of the law firms who have earned the highest
cumulative score on the A-List since its inception in 2003. The
annual A-List ranks firms according to their performance in four
categories: revenue per lawyer, pro bono service, associate
satisfaction and diversity. In addition to the firm's overall top
score over the 10-year period, Debevoise placed first in pro bono,
second in associate satisfaction, third in revenue per lawyer and
fourth in diversity.