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.
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.
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
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
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.
FanDueling with Attorneys General
Debevoise represents FanDuel in defending actions by the New
York State Attorney General and in tag-along actions by other
states' attorneys general alleging that fantasy sports contests
constitute gambling. According to New York Attorney General
Eric Schneiderman, "Give credit where credit is due: some good
lawyering, particularly by a couple of the lawyers at Debevoise,
who did some good work to figure out how to craft an agreement," he
stated after FanDuel and the state of New York reached a temporary
settlement while lawmakers consider legislation regulating the
Dealmaker of the Year
Debevoise partner M. Natasha Labovitz was named a "Dealmaker of
the Year" by The American Lawyer for her role in
advising Altegrity Inc. in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Ms.
Labovitz, Co-Chair of the firm's Business Restructuring &
Workouts Group, was one of only 12 lawyers honored in the annual
list, which recognizes the leading corporate lawyers and
transactions of the previous year.
Debevoise Women's Review
Debevoise recently launched the Debevoise Women's
Review, a website dedicated to spotlighting topics of interest
to professional women, including the achievements, initiatives, and
advocacy efforts of women and organizations around the world,
through Q&A features with leading women in business; thoughtful
coverage of conferences and pertinent books and articles; and
reflective pieces tying in the personal experiences of Debevoise
Practice Groups of the Year
Debevoise's Business Restructuring & Workouts, Healthcare,
Intellectual Property, and Mergers & Acquisitions groups were
named among Law360's "Practice Groups of the Year"
for 2015. According to Law360, practices selected
were chosen from over 700 submissions, and the publication honored
those that "came through for clients by sealing the biggest deals
and securing wins in high-stakes litigation."
Candy Crushing It
Debevoise advised California-based Activision Blizzard in its
$5.9 billion acquisition of King Digital Entertainment, based in
Ireland. The acquisition was the largest-ever in the mobile gaming
space, and the third-largest ever in the video game industry. The
deal married the world's most successful console game franchise
(Call of Duty) and personal computing franchise (World of Warcraft)
with King's top-selling mobile social game (Candy Crush Saga),
among other popular mobile games, making Activision the world's No.
2 interactive-entertainment company.
Big Deal, eh?
Debevoise advised Canada Pension Plan Investment Board ("CPPIB")
in the acquisition of GE Capital's sponsor lending business,
including Antares Capital, for $12 billion. Antares Capital is the
leading lender to middle market private equity sponsors in the U.S.
The deal marked one of the largest financial takeovers since the
financial crisis, and provided CPPIB with a business to serve as a
major lender to private equity firms investing in midsize U.S.
businesses. The transaction also earned the lead lawyers, Jeffrey
J. Rosen and Kevin M. Schmidt, "Dealmaker of the Week" honors
from The American Lawyer.