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
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
IN THE NEWS
Paul, Weiss represented The National Football League in an
investigation into the use of deflated footballs in the 2015 AFC
Championship Game. The 243-page report, which was released publicly
by the NFL, garnered extensive and ongoing worldwide media
Paul, Weiss client Virtu Financial, Inc. closed its initial public
offering of approximately 19 million shares of its Class A common
stock at an initial offering price of $19 per share. The sale of
the common stock yielded approximately $335.9 million in net
proceeds. At the IPO price, the company has a market capitalization
of approximately $2.6 billion.
Paul, Weiss represented Pfizer in achieving a complete defense
verdict in the first Zoloft birth defects case to go to trial in
the U.S. A second trial is scheduled to begin in Pennsylvania state
court in May 2015.
Paul, Weiss client Grupo Salinas completed the sale of Mexican
wireless company Iusacell to AT&T for $2.5 billion, inclusive
of Iusacell's debt. As part of the transaction, AT&T acquired
all of Iusacell's wireless properties, including licenses, network
assets, retail stores and approximately 8.6 million
Paul, Weiss represented Anthony Chiasson in connection with his
successful appeal from an insider trading conviction. The Second
Circuit's decision represents the most significant change in
insider trading law in decades, and has had profound effects on the
investigation and prosecution of insider trader cases.
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of New York approved a landmark settlement
negotiated by Paul, Weiss and a number of legal advocacy groups
representing a class of individuals with mental illness residing in
adult homes in New York City. The settlement follows more than a
decade of pro bono litigation, and pursuant to the settlement, New
York has agreed to move up to 4,000 adult home residents to
supported housing over the next five years.