Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “Friendly culture”
  • “Supportive partners”
  • “Work on interesting matters”

Downers

  • “Partnership prospects”
  • “Administrative transparency”
  • “Formal training”

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 has ventured beyond New York only twice. In 1999 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. 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 Real Estate

With more than 20 practice areas, ranging from complex securities law to corporate restructuring, Kramer Levin's scope is broader today than it was when the firm began. Nonetheless, some of its practice areas have achieved special prominence. The litigation department, led by name partner Gary Naftalis and Barry Berke, has represented the likes of JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, HJ Heinz Co., Deloitte, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. It capped a decade of work on marriage equality by playing a key role in the U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which determined that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violates the Constitution. Kramer Levin has also been involved in some of the largest and most complex bankruptcies filed in the country, including Caesar's Entertainment, Residential Capital, and Puerto Rico.

On the transaction side, Kramer Levin has advised BlackRock on strategic M&A and investments, including an agreement to transfer investment management responsibilities of approximately $87 billion of assets managed by BofA to BlackRock; Hydra Industries Acquisition Corp. in its $200 million acquisition of U.K.-based Inspired Gaming Group; and Stone Point Capital's acquisition of NFP Advisor Services, which was named 2016 USA Private Equity Deal of the Year by Global M&A Network. The firm has also represented clients in the beauty and fashion industries, such as Bobbi Brown.

Kramer Levin 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 of American Art. 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 Anbang Insurance Co., the new owner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

IN THE NEWS

March 2017
Trans Equality

Kramer Levin filed an amicus brief in on behalf of numerous major religious organizations and individual faith leaders supporting application of Title IX to protect transgender students in the landmark case now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. The brief states that equal treatment for transgender individuals under Title IX is consistent with fundamental principles of both equal protection and religious freedom. Kramer Levin has played a leading role in pro bono LGBT rights litigation for nearly two decades.

February 2017
How Do You Say… Win?

Kramer Levin achieved a complete victory for client Elizabeth Elting, the co-founder and co-CEO of Transperfect Global Inc., when the Delaware Supreme Court upheld the Court of Chancery's decision to order the sale of the company. Ms. Elting had sought the court-ordered sale to end irreconcilable shareholder and director deadlock. In a separate opinion, the Supreme Court also affirmed the Court of Chancery's decision awarding Ms. Elting $7.1 million in legal fees and expenses as a sanction against her business partner and adversary in the litigation, Philip Shawe.

Home Sweet Home

Kramer Levin announced it has signed a 15-year lease for 265,000 square feet at 1177 Avenue of the Americas, a 47-story skyscraper in midtown Manhattan that the firm has called home since 2005. The firm will begin remodeling its space-which includes the concourse as well as floors 22 through 30-in the fall.  

January 2017
Give Unto Caesar

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois confirmed the Chapter 11 plan of reorganization for Caesars Entertainment Operating Company and its affiliated debtors, following more than two years of protracted bankruptcy proceedings, litigation, and negotiations. Kramer Levin played a pivotal role in the negotiations that formed the basis for Caesars' 2015 bankruptcy filing, and has continued to represent holders of more than $3 billion of first lien notes issued by Caesars (the largest and key creditor constituency) throughout the evolution of these uniquely complex Chapter 11 cases.

Moving Forward

Kramer Levin obtained a favorable settlement for Forward Pharma in its worldwide dispute with Biogen over patent rights to the blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug, Tecfidera. Kramer Levin has been spearheading forward pharma's patent fight, including representing it before the patent trial and appeal board in a patent interference against Biogen. Under the settlement, in exchange for licensing its IP to Biogen, Forward Pharma receives an up-front, non-refundable cash payment of $1.25 billion. Forward Pharma may also be entitled to substantial future royalties should it prevail in the interference and/or an opposition proceeding in Europe. 

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Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

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

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Paul S. Pearlman
  • Hiring Partner: Kerri Ann Law
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 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
    13 out of 13 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Accounting Liability • Advertising Litigation • Alternative Investment Management • Banking and Finance • Business Immigration • Capital Market/Finance • Corporate • Corporate Governance/Board Committee Representations • Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy • Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Protection • Electronic Discovery • Employee Benefits • Employment Law • Environmental • 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 • Securitization • Tax • White Collar Defense & Investigations

Major Office Locations

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