Debevoise & Plimpton LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “A strong culture of niceness and respect”
  • “Commitment to diversity”
  • “Training is great”

Downers

  • “Demanding workload”
  • “Opaque partnership decisions”
  • “Expectation of around-the-clock availability”

About Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton 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, fund formation, complex litigation, white collar/investigations, and international arbitration.

Good Genes

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 a gold medalist on the 1,600-meter relay team in the 1924 Olympics. 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 and 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 14 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 both 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 IP team also includes a highly regarded cybersecurity & data privacy practice that includes several former senior government cyber experts.

The first of the firm's seven 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 and recently opened an office in Tokyo. Still, the firm's midtown New York office handles the bulk of its activity and houses approximately 450 of the firm's lawyers.

"Do-gooder Ethos"

Debevoise has an established record 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, including public school students in Connecticut who are alleging that the state does not adequately fund their schools; New York State female prisoners allegedly sexually assaulted by prison guards; transgender women denied equal treatment by the West Virginia DMV; an international not-for-profit organization in a cross-border corporate transaction with another organization; more than 20 federal prisoners applying for clemency; and low-income New Yorkers seeking relief from overwhelming student debt.

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 associate reviews.

IN THE NEWS

April 2017
Dealmaker of the Year

Debevoise partner Erica Berthou, leader of the firm's Global Investment Management/Funds Group and a member of the firm's management committee, has been named a "Dealmaker of the Year" by The American Lawyer. Ms. Berthou was recognized for her role in advising GSO Capital Partners, the credit division of Blackstone, in connection with the formation of its third mezzanine fund, one of the world's largest funds of its type.

SWAT Team

Debevoise launched a Strategic Crisis Response and Solutions Group, bringing together a deeply experienced global team to help organizations and boards navigate their most critical issues by anticipating and responding to problems and investigations with strategic defenses and solutions. Led by former SEC Chair and former United States Attorney Mary Jo White, Debevoise's Strategic Crisis Response and Solutions Group will leverage the expertise of six elite teams of internationally recognized lawyers.

March 2017
Forming a Formidable Fund

Debevoise advised Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in connection with the formation of its latest fund. With $15.8 billion in capital commitments, making it the largest infrastructure fund and one of the largest private investment fund programs ever raised.

February 2017
Mary Jo Coming Home

Mary Jo White, who served from April 2013 to January 2017 as Chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, returned to legal practice at Debevoise and serves as Senior Chair of the firm. Her arrival followed the announcement that Andrew J. Ceresney also rejoined Debevoise after serving under Ms. White as the Director of the Division of Enforcement at the SEC.

January 2017
Group Recognition

Debevoise's Insurance and Private Equity Groups have both been recognized as 2016 "Practice Groups of the Year." The Law360 "Practice Groups of the Year" awards are the latest honors for the Insurance and Private Equity Groups. Recent awards include the Chambers USA Award for Excellence-"Insurance (Insurer) Team of the Year," while the Private Equity practice received international recognition as "Law Firm of the Year-Transactions" in North America by Private Equity International and was noted for the 2016 "Global M&A Deal of the Year" in The American Lawyer for their work in Canada on CPPIB's purchase of Antares Capital.

September 2016
Overhauling Education

In a decision that will impact educational funding in Connecticut, a Connecticut State Superior Court Judge declared several features of the state's system of education, including the formula for distributing funding to school districts, unconstitutional. Pro bono legal service has been deeply rooted in the culture of Debevoise since it was founded in 1931. While it satisfies the firm's ethical obligation to help those in need, it is also part of what makes Debevoise lawyers strong leaders of their practices and communities.

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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

919 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 909-6000

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • Presiding Partner: Michael W. Blair
  • Hiring Partner: Nicole Levin Mesard
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 613

  • Base Salary
    U.S. 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: $300,000
    8th year: $315,000
    9th year+: $325,000
    Summer associate: $3,500/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    72out of 72 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Corporate • Litigation • Tax

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY (HQ) • Washington, DC Frankfurt • Hong Kong • London • Moscow • Paris • Shanghai • Tokyo