Sullivan & Cromwell LLP at a Glance


  • “The work: interesting, cutting edge, headline-making, and varied”
  • “The lack of a billable hours requirement”
  • “Extremely smart lawyers to learn from”


  • “Round-the-clock availability”
  • “The office is ‘Fifty Shades of Beige’”
  • “The assignment coordination system doesn't always work as well as advertised”

The Buzz

  • “Brilliant”
  • “Best corporate hands down”
  • “Stuffy”
  • “Intense hours”

About Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

A BigLaw powerhouse, Sullivan & Cromwell has been ranked in the AmLaw 100 since the rankings began in the 1980s and is a regular player on The American Lawyer's elite A-List. The firm is well-thought of among the greenhorns as well as the old-timers-it consistently appears at the top of associate polls for the draw of big-money clients and its generous benefits.

S&C has followed-if not created-the blueprint for legal success: it has grown internationally and in response to the increasing cross-border M&A, restructuring and finance transactional demands of the biggest corporate clients in the world.

The Picture of Consistency

Sullivan & Cromwell has consistently steered the development of many of the world's corporate titans over the past 130-plus years. Founding fathers Algernon Sydney Sullivan and William Nelson Cromwell wasted no time in elevating the firm to elite status, advising J.P. Morgan-as in the man himself-during the creation of Edison General Electric in 1882 and later guiding key players in the formation of U.S. Steel and the financing of the Panama Canal.

During the 1950s, S&C's litigation group successfully defended five of the largest investment banking firms in the nation against antitrust charges filed by the federal government. Meanwhile, the general practice group dealt with the complexities of increasingly large public stock offerings, handling Ford Motor Co.'s $643 million IPO in 1956, the largest ever at that time. S&C reopened its Paris office-closed during World War II-in 1962 and opened a London office in 1972. The firm picked up its international pursuits again in the 1980s and hasn't slowed since, opening offices in Asia, Australia, and Europe and becoming one of the preeminent M&A shops on the planet along the way.

More recently, the firm drew on its financial services and restructuring prowess when it played a central role in dealing with the subprime and financial implosions in 2007 and 2008. Throughout the crisis, S&C maintained its compensation levels for associates and did not engage in a program of layoffs, defer incoming associate classes, or shorten its summer program. S&C seized upon the transactional wreckage of 2008 to build its reputation as, in the words of The American Lawyer, "the go-to firm for the financial services industry." After the storm cleared, its global reach served the firm well as it continued to build on its trans-Atlantic finance, restructuring, and M&A work.

The Best at Doing… Everything

S&C is known for its "generalist approach" to both professional development and client service. In contrast to the rotation systems found at many firms, S&C associates are exposed to a broad range of matters across subgroups, industries, and geographic location (a substantial number of S&C's clients are non-U.S. commercial enterprises and government entities). Associate development partners in each group ensure that junior lawyers and summer associates receive a balanced level of work as well as a mix of assignments that is customized to each individual's interests and goals.

This generalist training is a large part of why clients turn to S&C with their most complex problems-the firm's lawyers bring a broader perspective to cutting-edge legal issues than would more narrowly-trained practitioners. At the same time, the generalist approach prepares associates for success in any career objective they pursue, whether that be an S&C partner who can nimbly adapt his or her practice in response to changes in the market, a general counsel who is able to advise on a broad range of transactions and disputes, a government lawyer with experience in all types and stages of litigation, or a leadership position in one of the many industries in which the firm has expertise. Because of its comprehensive and holistic approach to training, the vast majority of the firm's lawyers begin their legal careers with S&C-either directly out of law school or after clerkships or government service-with a very limited number of lateral hires.

And while discussing associates' aspirations outside of partnership might still be taboo at some firms, S&C's innovative Office of Career and Alumni Services and Career Development Plan encourage associates to take charge of their careers and pursue their individual career goals-whether they include becoming an S&C partner or putting S&C's training to use as a foundation for their next move forward. Open communication between junior and senior lawyers is emphasized: each associate is paired with a partner advisor who works with the associate to develop, review, and revise his or her goals, and all associates have access to confidential career counseling from their first day at the firm. (The firm has also had an upward reviews program in place for more than a decade, further demonstrating its commitment to open communication.)

The Career Plan and Office of Career and Alumni Services are key components of the "S&C Passport"-the idea that the fundamental qualities of the firm's working environment-commitment to clients, leadership, professional development, broad experience, teamwork, and commitment to community-foster the development of lawyers that go on to succeed as S&C partners, in-house counsel, prosecutors, or in any other field they may choose. In fact, a key component of the firm's business plan is to develop not only the next class of S&C partners, but also future legal, business and government leaders worldwide, who-in a testament to the loyalty of lawyers who spend time at S&C-often go on to become clients of the firm.


June 2016
Career Counseling? Check. Loan Refinancing? Check.

In collaboration with its Associate Experience Committee and associate focus groups, S&C announced the creation of its Office of Career and Alumni Services. The Office will provide confidential and individualized career counseling to associates and alumni as they consider and explore opportunities within and outside of the Firm, and will serve as a conduit for connecting associates with the firm's network of more than 3,000 alumni that includes CEOs, general counsel, government officials, business and public service leaders and law school professors. The Firm also announced a new student loan refinancing program, which will allow associates to refinance their student loans at a significantly reduced rate.

Patently Supreme

The U.S. Supreme Court took on two major patent cases during the 2015 term, and S&C briefed and argued both. In Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc., S&C achieved a monumental win for the petitioners in a case that relaxed the Federal Circuit's standard for awarding enhanced damages in patent infringement actions. And in Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee, the S&C team argued that new procedures render patents challenged through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office much more vulnerable than those challenged in federal court-an inconsistency that produces confusion and unfairness.

March 2016
Deal of the Year

S&C advised Kraft Foods Group on its $55 billion merger with H.J. Heinz-a transaction named The American Lawyer's "Deal of the Year" and one of the Financial Times' most innovative transactions of 2015for its size, speed, and significant impact on the consumer packaged goods sector. Other recent blockbuster representations for S&C's team, named Law360's "M&A Group of the Year" this year, include Teva Pharmaceuticals, in its $40.5 billion pending acquisition of Allergan Generics and $50.5 billion unsolicited acquisition of Mylan (later withdrawn); AT&T, in its $67 billion acquisition of DIRECTV and on its acquisition of two Mexican wireless companies, giving AT&T a combined market platform that covers over 400 million consumers and businesses; ACE Limited, in its $29.5 billion acquisition of The Chubb Corporation; and Valeant Pharmaceuticals, in its $15.8 billion acquisition of Salix Pharmaceuticals.

Litigation Luminaries

S&C represents Volkswagen as lead counsel in more than 700 cases involved in multidistrict litigation, including consumer and securities litigation, and related regulatory investigations. Over the last year, the firm's headline-making courtroom victories included obtaining a federal court order striking down as unconstitutional New York City's Responsible Banking Act and securing a dismissal of five securities class actions against Barclays in a multi-district litigation arising out of high-frequency traders' actions in its private securities exchanges. The firm's litigators also represented Barclays in settling criminal antitrust charges of collusion to manipulate benchmark rates in the foreign exchange market, and advised Dallas Airmotive in an investigation into FCPA anti-bribery charges which culminated in a settlement with the DOJ.

Commitment to Community

In 2015, S&C devoted more than 64,000 hours to a range of pro bono activities and was named a "Pro Bono Firm of 2015" by Law360. Recent matters include Franco-Gonzalez v. Holder, in which the firm obtained first-in-kind right to counsel protections for a class of mentally ill immigration detainees; multiple successful asylum petitions; and representing New York City charter schools in connection with securing rental assistance for the expansion of a school and litigating the right of charter schools to provide pre-kindergarten classes.

August 2015
A Multi-Billion Dollar Tango

After more than nine years of litigation, S&C secured a major victory for Banco Central de la República Argentina (BCRA) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, after two investment funds sought a declaratory judgment that the bank was responsible for covering $2.4 billion in defaulted Argentinian bond debt. In addition to the billions saved for BCRA, the ruling reinforces that New York is a safe place for central banks to keep their foreign currency reserves. S&C also represented BCRA this year in repurchase transactions involving sovereign bonds with a group of international banks, resulting in a cash reserve increase of USD $5 billion for BCRA.

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Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

125 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004
Phone: (212) 558-4000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: Joseph C. Shenker
  • Senior Chairman: H. Rodgin Cohen
  • Hiring Partner: Sergio J. Galvis
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 819

  • Base Salary
    All U.S. offices
    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: $305,000
    8th year: $325,000
    Summer associate: paid at the annual rate of $180,000 prorated according to the time spent at the firm and the days worked during the month, on a semi-monthly basis.

  • Summer Associate Offers
    105 out of 105 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    General Practice/Corporate Law:
    Capital Markets, Leveraged Finance & Lending
    Commercial Real Estate
    Commodities, Futures & Derivatives
    Executive Compensation & Benefits
    Financial Services
    Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions
    Mergers & Acquisitions
    Project Development & Finance
    Congressional Investigations
    Criminal Defense & Investigations
    EU Competition
    FCPA & Anti-Corruption
    Financial Services Investigations & Litigation
    Intellectual Property & Technology Litigation
    International Trade & Investment/CFIUS
    Labor & Employment
    M&A Litigation
    Securities Litigation
    Whistleblower Litigation and Workplace Investigations 
    Tax and Tax Controversy
    Estates & Personal
    Industry Sectors, Areas of Focus:
    Commercial Real Estate
    Consumer Financial Services
    Consumer & Retail
    Corporate Governance
    Financial Services
    Healthcare and Life Sciences
    Natural Resources
    Sports & Entertainment
    Australia/New Zealand
    Latin America
    Middle East
    United States

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY (HQ)
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Beijing
  • Frankfurt
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Melbourne
  • Paris
  • Sydney
  • Tokyo
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