Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “Quirky ‘be yourself’ culture”
  • “Best place to become a trial lawyer”
  • “Partners’ investment in associates”

Downers

  • “No 401(k) match”
  • “Unclear path to promotion”
  • “Money is always the bottom line”

The Buzz

  • “Great litigation firm”
  • “Lots of cool practice areas”
  • “Great middle-market firm”
  • “Safety NY firm”

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 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

April 2015

I'd Trust Them with my Life (Sciences)
Kramer Levin expanded its Life Sciences Practice with the addition of partners Brian Slater and Gregory Sephton. Each has more than 20 years' experience handling complex patent litigation involving a broad range of technologies in the life sciences. Mr. Slater, who chairs the firm's Life Sciences Practice, focuses on pharmaceutical patent cases under the Hatch-Waxman Act. Mr. Sephton's experience spans diverse areas related to medical devices, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and biologics. Special counsel Christine Willgoos, also a life sciences patent litigator, joined the firm in October.

February 2015

Breaking Up is Hard to Do
Kramer Levin obtained a $600 million settlement for Johnson & Johnson in a breach of contract suit against Guidant Corp. J&J filed the suit in 2006 following the breakup of its proposed merger with Guidant. After initially accepting J&J's $21.5 billion offer, Guidant sold instead to Boston Scientific for $27 billion. J&J asserted that the merger was possible only because Guidant had leaked confidential information in violation of Guidant's merger agreement with J&J. The case settled after all the evidence was presented before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

A Bigger Boat
Kramer Levin advised General Maritime in its merger with Navig8 Crude to create Gener8 Maritime Inc., a world-class provider of international seaborne oil transportation services. Under the terms of the agreement, General Maritime and Navig8 Crude will create a company with a fleet valued at over $3 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2015, subject to approval by the shareholders of each company and customary closing conditions.

November 2014

Bankruptcy Successes
Kramer Levin represented an ad hoc group of holders of more than $1 billion of certificates of participation in the city of Detroit bankruptcy-the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. The firm secured a favorable settlement for the COP holders that resolved a substantial hurdle to confirmation of the bankruptcy. Separately, firm clients, holders of $1.6 billion in bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, scored a landmark victory when the U.S District Court for the District of Puerto Rico struck down the Puerto Rico Public Corporation Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act.

June 2014

A Careful Acquisition
Kramer Levin advised Stone Point Capital LLC in its acquisition of LTCG Holdings Corp., the parent of Long Term Care Group, Inc. LTCG is the largest provider of comprehensive outsourcing and claims management to long-term care insurers. The acquisition furthers Stone Point's strategy of backing innovative companies in the financial services sector. The deal was named "Financial Services Deal of the Year" by Global M&A Network.

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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 Ann Law
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 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
    14 out of 14 (2014)

  • 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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