Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “Commitment to pro bono”
  • “Headline-grabbing cases”
  • “Partnership truly cares about transparency”

Downers

  • “The hours can be brutal”
  • “Almost zero partnership opportunities”
  • “Disrespect from some partners and associates”

About Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

For decades, Paul, Weiss has valiantly defended the coffers and reputations of some of the world's largest financial institutions and companies. Though perhaps best recognized for its courtroom dazzle, the firm's prolific corporate and restructuring departments more than hold their own. The firm is also known for its expertise in telecom and entertainment law.

Diverse to the Core

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison dates to pre-WWI New York, where Samuel William Weiss and partners opened a practice to handle commercial law matters for other members of the local Jewish business community. Back then, Jewish attorneys struggled to find acceptance in Gentile firms, so many formed firms of their own. Weiss's son Louis took a different tack-after graduating from Columbia Law he went into business with a classmate, John F. Wharton, who was a Protestant. It was one of the earliest instances of an American law firm where Jews and Gentiles worked as equals. Eventually Weiss & Wharton merged with the firm Louis' father had helped start.

The firm's focus on diversity continued. Paul, Weiss was the first New York firm to hire a black associate and was the first major New York law firm to make a woman partner. The words of longtime partner Simon H. Rifkind remain entrenched in the firm's statement of principles: "We are sensitive to the fact that we practice in New York City, which is a pluralistic community and the major international and financial center of the Western world. We believe in maintaining, by affirmative efforts, a membership of partners and associates reflecting a wide variety of religious, political, ethnic, and social backgrounds, characteristic of that community." Paul, Weiss continues to make serious efforts to hire and retain a diverse mix of lawyers and support staff through the work of the firm's Diversity Committee and programs such as its annual Diversity Networking event.

With Liberals and Justice for All

From its earliest days, Paul, Weiss was associated with progressive politics and civil rights. Well-known First Amendment lawyer Walter Pollak joined the firm in 1936, after having argued some of the infamous "Scottsboro Boys" trials (which inspired Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird) before the United States Supreme Court. Named partners Lloyd Garrison and Randolph Paul joined in the mid-1940s. Paul was a tax attorney who'd previously worked at the Treasury, and Garrison-the great-grandson of an abolitionist-stood up for clients like Arthur Miller, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Langston Hughes during the McCarthy era.

The last name partner to join the masthead was Judge Simon Rifkind, who came on board in 1950 after serving as a federal district court judge and working in the Roosevelt administration to craft New Deal legislation. He stayed with the firm until his death in 1995 and is credited with helping to establish the firm as a litigation powerhouse.

Trial Size Gets Huge

The firm grew through the 1960s and 1970s, expanding from litigation, tax, and entertainment law to include corporate clients. It continued to be involved in the kinds of cases that defined their times, from the earliest environmental lawsuits to the "salad oil scandal," in which major financial institutions, including American Express, got caught up in a fraudulent loan scheme involving a New Jersey vegetable oil company. In the 1980s, the firm developed a white-collar defense practice-star attorney Arthur Liman defended corporate raider Carl Icahn, mutual-fund embezzler Robert Vesco and junk bond dealer Michael Milken.

Today Paul, Weiss is smaller than many of its rivals, but it remains among the top 50 firms in the U.S. by gross revenue. It has forged ahead during the financial crisis, representing Bear Stearns and major client Citigroup in litigation and regulatory matters. 

IN THE NEWS

May 2017
Bancarrota Gigante
On May 4, Puerto Rico did what no U.S. state or territory has ever done: file for court-supervised bankruptcy relief. The scale of Puerto Rico's debt is jaw-dropping: $70 billion in debt, far larger than the $18 billion Detroit bankruptcy. Paul, Weiss is representing the largest creditor group, mostly mutual funds and hedge funds, holding $18 billion in bonds issued or guaranteed by the commonwealth.

April 2017
Taking it to the Supreme
On April 26, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sandoz v. Amgen/Amgen v. Sandoz regarding an issue of first impression: the interpretation of a law governing FDA approval of biological products by innovators and would-be competitors. Paul, Weiss represents biotech pioneer Amgen in this and other efforts to protect its innovative products from the so-called "biosimilars"-biologically similar products made by rivals. The much-anticipated decision is expected to address key provisions of the law, the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, a matter of great importance to the biopharmaceutical industry as a whole.

December 2016
Taking Concussion Settlement to the End Zone

After six years of litigation, on December 12, 2016, Paul, Weiss guided the National Football League to a conclusion in the sprawling class action litigation brought on behalf of 22,000 retired players who suffered alleged impairment from concussions sustained during their NFL careers. Objecting players challenged the 2015 landmark settlement; after their appeal was denied in April 2016, they sought Supreme Court review. But the high court denied the objectors' petition, paving the way for funds to finally be paid out to eligible former NFL players this year.

Fighting Gun Violence
In the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre, Paul, Weiss was among the first firms to reach out to anti-gun violence groups to offer legal assistance. In December, the firm teamed up with six firms and three leading nonprofits in a coordinated national litigation effort to reduce the epidemic of gun violence. The effort is "highly unusual in its scale," The New York Times noted. The initiative will focus on tackling state courts and regulatory agencies. The firm was recently honored by both the Brady Center and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence for its gun violence prevention commitment.

October 2016
Inking Europe's Largest Tech Deal
Marking the largest deal in the semiconductor industry's history-and the largest European tech deal ever-San Diego-based semiconductor giant Qualcomm Incorporated on October 27 announced its $47 billion all-cash pursuit of Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors N.V. To lead the deal, Qualcomm relied on Scott Barshay, Paul, Weiss's global M&A head-who had joined the firm just weeks earlier from Cravath, Swaine & Moore. In April 2017, U.S. antitrust regulators approved the combination, which is expected to close by the year's end.

July 2016
The Ultimate Deal
In one of the largest sports transactions ever, WME/IMG and a group of investors including private equity titans KKR & Co. and Silver Lake Partners announced on July 11 the multibillion-dollar acquisition of mixed martial arts organization The Ultimate Fighting Championship. The deal, a major bet on the power of live sporting events, was the largest for WME/IMG since William Morris Endeavor acquired sports-and-entertainment marketing giant IMG in 2013. Paul, Weiss was tapped by the WME/IMG consortium for the UFC deal as well as the 2013 IMG deal.

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Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019-6064
Phone: (212) 373-3000

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • Firm Chair: Brad S. Karp
  • Deputy Chair: Valerie E. Radwaner
  • Hiring Partners: Catherine Nyarady & T. Robert Zochowski, Jr.
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 949

  • Base Salary
    New York, NY; Washington, DC
    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
    Summer associate: $3,500/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    126 out of 126 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Antitrust • Bankruptcy & Corporate Reorganization • Communications & Technology • Corporate • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation • Entertainment • Environmental • Finance • Intellectual Property • Litigation • Personal Representation • Real Estate • Tax

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY (HQ) • Washington, DC • Wilmington, DE Beijing • Hong Kong • London • Toronto • Tokyo