Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz at a Glance

Uppers

  • “The caliber of assignments”
  • “Incredibly smart people”
  • “The money”

Downers

  • “The hours can be unforgiving”
  • “24/7 accountability”
  • “Pressure to be perfect”

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-oiled machine that is Wachtell Lipton. 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.

IN THE NEWS

Ongoing
Tech Time

Wachtell Lipton is representing CenturyLink in its acquisition of Level 3 Communications in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $34 billion, including the assumption of debt. The firm also recently represented, among others, Hewlett Packard Enterprise in its $1 billion acquisition of Nimble Storage; CBS in its $2-bilion sale of CBS Radio to Entercom Communications, Square, Inc.; and Match Group in recent IPOs; as Tesla Motors in its acquisitions of SolarCity and Grohmann Engineering; and TEGNA in its spin-off of Cars.com

Facebook Fight

Wachtell Lipton represents the outside directors of Facebook, Inc. in connection with a stockholder class action challenging the proposed reclassification of the company's common stock. Facebook is the world's leading social media company, founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. In 2015, Mr. Zuckerberg proposed that the company create a new class of non-voting stock that would be issued to all stockholders via a pro rata stock dividend. When the Facebook board formed a special committee of independent directors to negotiate the potential transaction, it retained the Wachtell Lipton as legal counsel. Our litigators worked hand-in-hand with our corporate team as the reclassification was negotiated, and they now lead the defense against the consolidated stockholder class action challenging the transaction in the Delaware Court of Chancery.

Big Acquisitions for Big Pharma

The firm is representing Actelion Ltd in its $30 billion acquisition by Johnson & Johnson and the spin-off of its drug discovery operations and early-stage clinical assets, one of the biggest global healthcare deals of the year as well as Abbot Laboratories in its $25 billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical.

Cashing In

The firm is representing Monsanto in its $66 billion acquisition by Bayer Aktiengesellschaft, the largest all-cash transaction on record.

Anthem Altercation

Wachtell Lipton represents Cigna Corp. in litigation against Anthem, Inc. arising out of the parties' proposed merger. In 2015, Anthem agreed to acquire Cigna in a $54 billion transaction, but the deal was blocked by federal regulators on antitrust grounds. The parties each filed lawsuits in the Delaware Court of Chancery alleging that the other party had breached the merger agreement, and Anthem moved for an injunction to prevent Cigna from terminating the agreement. Following expedited litigation, Wachtell Lipton succeeded in defeating Anthem's motion, and the deal is now terminated. The case has now moved to a damages phase, with the litigation team prosecuting Cigna's claims for a $1.85 billon reverse termination fee and additional damages as well as defending against Anthem's own damages claims.

2016
Annual Accolades

Three partners were featured in American Lawyer's annual Dealmakers of the Year publication for their creativity and business savvy work. Andy Brownstein and Mark Gordon were featured as Dealmakers of the Year for their representation of Valspar in its $11.3 billion acquisition by Sherwin-Williams. Josh Cammaker was featured as a Dealmaker of the Year for his representation of Lexmark International, Inc. in its $3.6 billion acquisition by a consortium led by Apex Technology Co. Ltd. And PAG Asia Capital. Wachtell Lipton litigation Partner Marc Wolinsky was the recipient of the 2017 Servant of Justice Award from the Legal Aid Society.

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Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

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

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • Executive Committee Co-Chairs: Edward D. Herlihy & Daniel A. Neff
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 255

  • Base Salary
    New York, NY
    1st year: $185,000
    Summer associate: $3,550/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    28 out of 28  (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Corporate • Litigation • Restructuring & Finance • Antitrust • Executive Compensation & Benefits • Tax

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY