Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz at a Glance


  • “The best compensation and benefits”
  • “Quality/prestige of work”
  • “Incredibly intelligent colleagues”


  • “Expectation of constant availability”
  • “Workload is not predictable”
  • “The hours can be difficult”

The Buzz

  • “Best of the best”
  • “Amazing compensation”
  • “Overworked associates”
  • “Extremely elite”

About Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Each year, a significant chunk of the world's dealmaking-major mergers and acquisitions, antitrust and shareholder litigation, big name restructurings and multi-billion-dollar real estate ventures-gets cranked through the well-greased machine that is Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Manning the apparatus are a gifted few, whose compensation far outstrips industry standards. While it may not be the biggest or the highest revenue-maker as a firm, it is the most profitable place in the world to practice law. Wachtell Lipton is one of the smallest firms in the AmLaw 100, but it is continually one of the top firms (and usually the top firm) when it comes to PPP, and it stands above the going market rate for first-year associate salaries.

The New York Four

Founded in 1965 by four princes of NYU's Law Review-Herbert Wachtell, Martin Lipton, Leonard Rosen and George Katz-this resolutely New York firm still operates from a single Manhattan office. Public interest law champion Katz died young, at 57, in 1989. Rosen remained at the firm as Of Counsel until he passed away in 2014 at the age of 83. Wachtell and Lipton remain at the firm as active partners. In 1982, Lipton-who recently topped New York Magazine's list of the most influential lawyers in New York-actually created the "poison pill," one of the most famous and enduring ways to protect shareholders' rights.

History of Excellence

What sets the firm apart, even rivals concede, is that in a city of razor-sharp competitors, no other quite matches what Wachtell Lipton does. From its early days, the firm steered clear of run-of-the-mill corporate matters, choosing messier, riskier work. As such, Wachtell Lipton relies far less on bread-and-butter clients and politely declines more plebeian (if nonetheless profitable) engagements.  The firm was one of the first to link its fees to deal value, a model that became the aspiration of most major M&A houses.

Historic matters for the firm include the death's door resuscitation of Chrysler in the 1970s. The firm also played a key role in the much-publicized acquisition of Getty Oil Company, in which Texaco's "white knight" offer was heralded as one of the greatest acquisitions in history. In more recent history, the firm has seen great success with LBOs and IPOs, corporate restructurings and other finance matters. It took the lead on what some observers have called the most complex real estate deal in history: the successful negotiation of a master development agreement for the World Trade Center site following September 11th.

Hard Times = Cold Cash

Wachtell Lipton's more recent work reflects its dominance as a corporate finance powerhouse as well as the economic climate's provision of M&A and restructuring work. The firm represented Bank of America as it acquired Merrill Lynch, co-advised the U.S. Department of the Treasury when the government took over AIG, and advised the Feds during the takeover of mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.


Hostile Takeover Heroes
Corporate Partners Dan Neff and David Katz were featured in The American Lawyer Dealmakers of the Year issue for their representation of Allergan in its $66 billion acquisition by Actavis plc., the culmination of the firm's work on the closely watched, months-long takeover battle kicked off by an "odd-couple" hostile bid engineered by Bill Ackman's Pershing Square and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The fight over Allergan highlighted Wachtell Lipton's integrated team approach and litigation prowess, including its work in winning a groundbreaking preliminary injunction that set new precedent against unfair tactics in takeover bids.

Bring on the Inversions
Inversions have been a hot (and perhaps controversial!) topic. Among some of the transactions Wachtell Lipton handled that fall into this category are: Tim Hortons in its $12.2 billion combination with Burger King Worldwide, Covidien plc in its $49.9 billion acquisition by Medtronic, and both Forest Laboratories and Allergan in their $28 billion and $66 billion acquisitions by Actavis plc.

Dollar Store Wars
The firm is representing Dollar Tree in its $9 billion acquisition of Family Dollar, an epic takeover saga during which Dollar General unsuccessfully launched a competing topping bid and Elliott Management sought to run a proxy contest in connection with the deal. The deal was initially signed against the backdrop of Carl Icahn threatening a proxy fight at Family Dollar and pushing for a sale to none other than Dollar General.

Coffee and Donuts and…Burgers?
The firm represented Canadian super chain Tim Hortons in its $12.2 billion combination with Burger King Worldwide creating a global leader in the quick service restaurant industry.

The firm was recognized by Who's Who Legal as Firm of the Year for M&A and Corporate Governance. 

The firm's Litigation Department was awarded M&A Litigation Team of the Year by The Legal 500 in the publication's inaugural Legal 500 US Awards, recognizing the firm's expertise in takeover and transactional litigation.

NBA Investigations
The NBA tapped the firm to lead its investigation of comments by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling that caused Sterling to be banned from the NBA, fined $2.5 million, and ultimately led to the sale of the Clippers for $2 billion. The firm has also represented the NBA in a number of other internal investigations.

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Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019-6150
Phone: 212-403-1000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Executive Committee Co-Chairs: Edward D. Herlihy, Daniel A. Neff
  • Executive Partner: Meyer G. Koplow
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 255

  • Employment Contact
    Elizabeth F. Breslow
    Director of Recruiting & Legal Personnel
    Phone: (212) 403-1334
    Fax: (212) 403-2000
    E-mail: efbreslow@wlrk.com

  • Base Salary
    New York, NY
    1st year: $165,000
    Summer associate: $3,100/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    28 out of 28 (2014)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Restructuring & Finance
    Executive Compensation & Benefits

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY

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