Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP at a Glance


  • “Genuine commitment to pro bono”
  • “Reasonable hours”
  • “Incredible people”


  • “High hours requirement for full bonus”
  • “Training is lacking”
  • “Promotion potential”

The Buzz

  • “Interesting white collar cases”
  • “Good culture”
  • “Niche”

About Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Fourteen New York attorneys-including the late Arthur Kramer, brother of playwright Larry Kramer-teamed up to start Kramer Levin in 1968. The city was already well-stocked with law firms, many of them dating back to the 1800s, so Kramer Levin set out to distinguish itself on the basis of its skill, not the depth of its roots.

Breaking Through in NYC

From the start, Kramer Levin was positioned as a full-service firm that didn't rely on a single hallmark practice or longstanding relationship with one major client. This approach, combined with the firm's small size, meant that some practice areas were run by just one or two lawyers, but it also meant that Kramer Levin was able to accept litigation, real estate, transactional, tax and trusts and estates assignments. One of the reasons why the firm was able to attract and retain partners and associates in its early days was the fact that it offered attorneys a chance to work in small teams and build their practices themselves, instead of navigating through the crowds at larger firms.

By 1970, Kramer Levin was 20 attorneys strong, and it had established its Manhattan headquarters in midtown east. Thirty-five years later, the firm is 375 attorneys strong and has moved a few avenues over to its current location.

East Coast, West Coast & a Pinch of Europe

Kramer Levin has been notably conservative when it comes to expansion: the firm only ventured beyond New York in 1999, when it swallowed up Rogers & Wells' Paris office to obtain a 20-lawyer outpost in the City of Light. The location has provided the firm with a vantage point from which it can more easily handle cross-border assignments, especially those involving European clients. Three years thereafter, Kramer Levin sought to bolster its European presence through an alliance with British firm Berwin Leighton Paisner; the firms agreed to loosen ties in 2007, dropping the alliance in favor of a non-exclusive "preferred firm" relationship.

In 2011, the firm took its expansion state-side and opened shop in Silicon Valley. The firm's west coast office focuses on intellectual property litigation.

From Litigation to Land Use

With over 20 practice areas, ranging from complex securities law to corporate restructuring to unmanned aircraft systems, Kramer Levin's scope is broader today than it was when the firm began. Nonetheless, some of its practice areas have achieved special prominence, including the litigation department. Led by name partner, Gary Naftalis, and Barry Berke, the litigation department has represented the likes of JPMorganChase, Johnson & Johnson, Sirius XM Radio, Deloitte, Rajat K. Gupta, and Michael Steinberg. It has also worked closely with Lambda Legal in arguing marriage equality cases brought by same-sex couples petitioning the State of New York for recognition of their valid out-of-state marriages. Kramer Levin has also been involved in some of the largest and most complex bankruptcies filed in the U.S., including Caesar's Entertainment and Residential Capital.

On the transaction side, Kramer Levin has represented Del Monte Pacific Limited in its acquisition of the consumer foods business of Del Monte Corporation, and Perella Weinberg Partners Asset Based Value Strategy in its agreement to sell Flagship Rail Services to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. The firm has also represented clients in the beauty and fashion industries, such as Bobbi Brown.

The firm also has one of the largest and most experienced land use practices in New York, and it has represented most of the city's major developers and institutions. Clients include the NYU Langone Medical Center, South Street Seaport, Madison Square Garden and the Whitney Museum. Kramer Levin's real estate group handles advice to real estate owners and developers, private equity investors, investment bankers and hoteliers, among others. Clients include the Related Companies, LP in the 26-acre Hudson Yards development in midtown Manhattan and Sotheby's in exploring relocation possibilities.


June 2016
¡Hola Puerto Rico!

On June 13, 2016, Kramer Levin clients Franklin Mutual and Oppenheimer funds scored a major win when the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that Puerto Rico's Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act is pre-empted by the Federal Bankruptcy Code. Puerto Rico had adopted the act to compel a restructuring of more than $18 billion in bonds issued by the Commonwealth's electric, sewer, and highway corporations. Kramer Levin's victory protects bondholders across the United States from Puerto Rico's now-void statute. Franklin Mutual and Oppenheimer Funds hold more than $1.5 billion in Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) bonds.

March 2016
Patent Perfect

Kramer Levin secured three critical wins for Depomed, defeating all of Purdue Pharma LP's patent invalidity challenges in three separate inter partes review trials. This marked one of the first times that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the validity of all the patent claims subjected to inter partes review. The decisions, which were affirmed by the Federal Circuit on March 24, 2016, are related to the patent infringement lawsuit that Depomed brought against Purdue's drug OxyContin in federal district court in New Jersey.

December 2015
Making Manhattan

Kramer Levin represented Related Companies and Oxford Properties, developers of the 28-acre Hudson Yards project located above the Long Island Rail Road yards in Manhattan, in condominium matters relating to two multibillion-dollar finance packages that closed on December 11, 2015. The first financing transaction included a $1.3 billion financing package and an $850 million construction loan for 15 Hudson Yards, a 960,000-square-foot residential tower. The second was a $5 billion financing package for 20-30 Hudson Yards. The new 20 Hudson Yards will consist of a 1-million-square-foot retail destination and the adjoining 30 Hudson Yards will be a 90-story office building.

November 2015
Always Bet on BlackRock

Kramer Levin represented BlackRock in its agreement, inked in November 2015, with Bank of America's asset management business, BofA Global Capital Management, to transfer investment management responsibilities of approximately $87 billion of assets managed by BofA to BlackRock. Earlier in the year, Kramer Levin had represented BlackRock in its acquisition of FutureAdvisor, a leader in digital wealth management. The deal, which was announced in August 2015, enables BlackRock to provide financial institution clients with technology that their clients can use to gain personalized insights into their investment portfolios.

August 2015
Breaking a Deadlock

Kramer Levin represented Elizabeth Elting, the co-founder, co-CEO and 50 percent owner of TransPerfect, in a trial in Delaware Chancery Court against Philip Shawe, TransPerfect's other co-CEO and 50 percent shareholder. Alleging irreconcilable deadlock with Shawe over the management and operation of the company, Elting sued for the appointment of a custodian to put the company up for sale. On August 13, 2015, the court awarded Elting a complete victory. The precedent-setting decision to force the sale of a $1 billion company reinforced the Court of Chancery's broad powers to do equity in cases of corporate deadlock.

June 2015
Love is Love

Kramer Levin capped a decade of work on marriage equality by playing a key role in the ultimate U.S. Supreme Court victory in June 2015. The firm filed an amicus curiae brief in Obergefell v. Henry on behalf of nearly 2,000 mainstream clergy and religious organizations-including leadership of the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism-supporting the freedom to marry. The firm filed similar briefs in United States v. Windsor, which struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, and in the wave of subsequent cases leading up to Obergefell.

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Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

1177 Avenue of Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 715-9100


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Paul S. Pearlman
  • Hiring Partner: Kerri Ann Law
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 375

  • Base Salary
    New York, NY
    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
    10th year: $330,000
    11th year: $335,000
    12th year+: $340,000
    Summer associate:  $3,500/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    11 out of 12 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Accounting Liability
    Advertising Litigation
    Alternative Investment Management
    Banking and Finance
    Business Immigration
    Capital Market/Finance
    Corporate Governance/Board Committee Representations
    Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy
    Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Protection
    Electronic Discovery
    Employee Benefits
    Employment Law
    EU Competition & Trade Law
    Fashion & Consumer Brands
    Financial Services
    Individual Clients
    Intellectual Property
    Land Use
    Leveraged Finance
    Life Sciences Litigation
    Mergers & Acquisitions/Joint Ventures
    Private Equity & Hedge Funds
    Real Estate
    Securities & Shareholder Litigation
    White Collar Defense & Investigations

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY (HQ)
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Paris