Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP Company Profile

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 Patriot Coal 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 in industry (Bobbi Brown).

The firm also has one of the largest and most experienced land use practices in New York, and 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.

IN THE NEWS

March 2014

Setting Federal Drone Precedent
Kramer Levin won dismissal of all claims against its client Raphael Pirker, in the country's first-ever federal litigation concerning the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (commercial drones). The Federal Aviation Administration had sought to impose a penalty against Mr. Pirker, the world's foremost civilian drone pilot, in connection with his operation of a model aircraft (drone) for purposes of recording commercial aerial video. The Administrative Law Judge ruled that at the time of that operation, "there was no enforceable FAA rule or FAR Regulation applicable to model aircraft or for classifying model aircraft as [unmanned aircraft systems]."

February 2014

Eat Your Veggies and Drink Your Broth
Kramer Levin client Del Monte Pacific Limited completed its acquisition of the consumer foods business of Del Monte Corporation, based in the United States, for $1.675B, subject to working capital adjustments. The Del Monte consumer foods business is considered the leading U.S. canned fruit, vegetable and broth business, and includes iconic brands Del Monte, Contadina, S&W and College Inn. Under the terms of the purchase agreement, DMP purchased the brands and certain assets, and assumed certain liabilities related to DMC's consumer foods business, in the U.S., as well as equity interests in certain South American subsidiaries.

December 2013

A Majorly Patriotic Reorganization
On December 17, 2013 the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri confirmed the Plan of Reorganization of Patriot Coal Corporation and its 100 subsidiaries. On December 18, 2013, Patriot successfully emerged from Chapter 11 by, among other things, closing an exit financing for $545 million and raising $250 million from the issuance of new notes and warrants to Knighthead Capital Management, LLC and other participating unsecured creditors. Kramer Levin represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors.

November 2013

Check Out this Star-Studded Litigation Team
In the 2014 edition of Benchmark Litigation, Kramer Levin was named in the top tier of litigation firms in New York, and nationally as a leading litigation firm. Partners Barry H. Berke, Nicholas L. Coch, Michael J. Dell, Kenneth H. Eckstein, Thomas Moers Mayer, Gary P. Naftalis and Harold P. Weinberger were recognized as "Litigation Stars."

September 2013

Time to Get Sirius in NY Supreme
The Commercial Division of New York Supreme Court, New York County dismissed a putative class action against Kramer Levin client, Sirius XM Radio Inc. Claimants alleged that Sirius XM was improperly collecting a $2 Invoice Administration Fee from subscribers to its satellite radio service who paid their subscription fees by credit card.

MBS Victory for JPMorgan Chase
Kramer Levin won dismissal of all claims in a federal court fraud and breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit brought by Bank of America against JPMC's Bear Stearns Asset Management unit, stemming from a $4 billion CDO transaction underwritten and marketed by Bank of America that closed in May 2007. BSAM was the collateral manager and two BSAM hedge funds provided the initial CDO collateral. Bank of America alleged that BSAM improperly concealed mounting redemptions and the likely collapse of these two hedge funds, and that it lost $3 billion on the deal.

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Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP


1177 Avenue of Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 715-9100
Fax: (212) 715-8000
www.kramerlevin.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Paul S. Pearlman
  • Hiring Partner: Kerri Law
  • Total No. Attorneys 2014: 375

  • Employment Contact

    Renée Vanna
    Director of Legal Recruiting
    Phone: (212) 715-9467
    E-mail: legalrecruiting@kramerlevin.com


  • Base Salary

    New York, NY
    1st year:  $160,000
    2nd year:  $170,000
    3rd year:  $185,000
    4th year:  $210,000
    5th year:  $230,000
    6th year:  $250,000
    7th year:  $265,000
    8th year:  $280,000
    Summer associate:  $3,077/week


  • Summer Associate Offers

    18 out of 18 (2013)


  • Major Departments & Practices

    Banking and Finance
    Corporate Restructuring/Bankruptcy
    Business Immigration
    Corporate
    Employee Benefits
    Employment
    Environmental
    Financial Services Group
    Individual Clients
    Intellectual Property
    Land Use
    Litigation and White Collar Defense
    Real Estate
    Tax

Major Office Locations

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

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