Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP at a Glance


  • “The people”
  • “Significant, substantive work early on”
  • “No minimum billable hours”


  • “Outmoded technology”
  • “The unpredictability of the hours”
  • “Slow to respond to change”

The Buzz

  • “Friendly”
  • “Good for PE work”
  • “Lit practice seems to be shrinking”
  • “Generic”

About Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie has all the history you could ask for and then some. The firm's clients have ranged from inventors to industrial titans to elite financial institutions, and its attorneys have included presidential candidates, Supreme Court justices and governors. While the firm has just under 600 lawyers across the U.S. and Europe, it has established itself as a New York firm through and through.

Politics & Innovation

Tracing its ancestry to 1880s New York City, Willkie began as Hornblower & Byrne, founded in 1888 by two attorneys and two clerks. The elder of the two founding attorneys was William B. Hornblower, a Columbia law grad who attracted such luminaries as Thomas Edison and Ulysses S. Grant as clients.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the firm picked up a new name-partner who would shape the next 40 years: William W. Miller, who was primarily responsible for driving business into the 20th century. During the Miller years, the firm added attorneys of influence to its ranks (including future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter), worked landmark cases, and merged with Miller, Otis & Farr-another major New York firm. A young Iowan named Harold Gallagher joined as an associate in 1917, made partner in 1925, and continued as a member of the firm for 51 years-the longest any partner has served.

Quality, Not Quantity

In 1941-three years after the firm hired its first female associate-defeated presidential candidate Wendell Willkie came on as partner, pursuing a flurry of high-profile engagements. In the three and one-half years before his death in 1944, Willkie defended Hollywood against a Congressional communist witch hunt, penned a bestselling treatise on international peacekeeping that influenced the formation of the United Nations and defeated the federal government in a civil liberties case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite his brief tenure with the firm, Willkie's accomplishments ensured that his name would remain etched at the top of the masthead for the rest of the 20th century and beyond. The firm became Willkie Farr & Gallagher in 1968.

A Solid Base from which to Grow

The firm evolved into a preeminent East Coast institution, known for representing railroad and insurance companies, blue-collar manufacturers, telecoms, baseball teams, and oil heiresses. The 1970s brought the arrival of the firm's first female partner, a merger with a New York municipal bond boutique, and the reopening of the Paris office. During the late 1980s, Willkie thrived as it handled hostile takeovers, expanded to London, and built up existing offices stateside and across the pond. Willkie rang in the new millennium by putting down roots in Milan, Rome, and Frankfurt; a Brussels office followed two years later. In the fall of 2014, Willkie opened its first domestic office in more thant 30 years in Houston, Texas.

Willkie's impressive client list has included longtime client Bloomberg L.P., insurance giants Marsh and Zurich, TimeWarner, and a slew of other notable names such as Men's Warehouse, Teva Pharmaceuticals, NBC Universal, BlackRock, Alcatel-Lucent, Comcast Corporation, General Electric, Level 3 Communications, Major League Baseball, MasterCard, and  Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


May 2016
Going Private

Willkie recently obtained a landmark victory for Kenneth Cole in the New York Court of Appeals, which ruled that the business judgment standard of review, not entire fairness, applies to going-private transactions involving controlling shareholders. This case establishes important precedent for future corporate transactions, and provides a roadmap to corporate attorneys structuring going-private transactions involving controlling shareholders under New York law. 

Viva Las Vegas

Willkie represented client FP Holdings L.P. (doing business as Palms Casino Resort) as it was acquired by Red Rock Resorts for total cash consideration of $312.5 million. Red Rock manages and owns a significant indirect equity interest in Station Casinos, a leading provider of gaming and entertainment to residents of Las Vegas.

Seacrest Out!

Willkie represented client Core Media Group, the production company behind American Idol, when they filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Prior to its filing, Willkie assisted in extensive negotiations with Core's lenders for almost a year, which ultimately led to a chapter 11 with full support of its first and second lien lenders. Willkie also successfully obtained approval of various key first-day motions to allow the company to continue to operate.

January 2016
Shop til you Drop

On January 7, Willkie client Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) announced that it has agreed to acquire Gilt Groupe Holdings, Inc. for $250 million in cash. The transaction reflects HBC's ongoing focus on advancing its all-channel model while continuing to grow its successful off-price business through the integration of Gilt with Saks OFF 5TH locations. Willkie represented HBC in previous transactions, most recently in June 2015.

December 2015
Big Pharma, Big Deal

Willkie advised client Teva Pharmaceutical Industries when it announced that it has priced concurrent stock offerings totaling $6.75 billion, consisting of 54 million American Depositary Share, each representing one Teva ordinary share, and 3.375 million of its 7.00% Mandatory Convertible Preferred Shares. The net proceeds from each offering will be approximately $3.29 billion. Teva intends to use the net proceeds toward the cash portion of the purchase price for its pending acquisition of Allergan's worldwide generic pharmaceuticals business, Actavis Generics, among other purposes. Willkie has advised Teva in a number of financing arrangements related to its pending $40.5 billion acquisition of Actavis Generics.

November 2015
Transgender Advocates

Willkie was honored by The Legal Aid Society with a 2015 Pro Bono Publico Award for its recent role as co-counsel with The Legal Aid Society and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in Cruz v. Zucker, a federal class action filed in June 2014 on behalf of a class of transgender Medicaid recipients diagnosed with gender dysphoria (GD). The suit was brought against the NYS Department of Health in Federal Court seeking to overturn a NYS regulation that excluded Medicaid coverage for transgender-related healthcare. The suit resulted in an amendment to the regulation which now provides coverage for treatment for many low-income people with GD. The Willkie team continues to pursue the suit to overturn the regulation's remaining barriers to Medicaid coverage, recently defeating the state's attempt to dismiss the complaint.  

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Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

787 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 728-8000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairmen: Tom Cerabino & Steve Gartner
  • Hiring Partners: Elizabeth Bower (DC); Angela Olivarez (TX); Sameer Advani, Joseph Cunningham, David Drewes, Mark Getachew, Matthew Guercio, Deirdre N. Hykal, Danielle Scalzo (NY)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 561

  • Base Salary
    New York, NY
    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
    Summer associate: $3,461/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    74 out of 74 (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Antitrust & Competition
    Asset Management
    Business Reorganization & Restructuring
    Communications, Media & Privacy (DC office) 
    Corporate & Financial Services
    Environmental, Health & Safety (DC office)
    Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
    Government Relations (DC office)
    Insurance & Reinsurance
    Intellectual Property
    Private Clients
    Real Estate

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY (HQ)
  • Houston, TX
  • Washington, DC
  • Brussels
  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Milan
  • Paris
  • Rome
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