Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP Company Profile

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 justices Charles Evans Hughes and 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-two 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 and telecoms, baseball teams and oil heiresses, Kaisers and Trumps. 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. The firm converted to a limited liability partnership in 2003 and formed a strategic alliance with U.K. boutique firm Dickson Minto W.S. in 2008. This move has allowed Willkie's European offices, particularly its London location, to increase services to corporate and commercial clients.
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, Alcatel-Lucent, Comcast Corporation, General Electric, Level 3 Communications, Hallmark Cards, Major League Baseball, MasterCard, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Robert DeNiro.

IN THE NEWS

Put On Your Power Suit
In October 2013, Willkie represented Men's Wearhouse in its rejection of the $2.3 billion unsolicited buyout bid from Jos. A. Bank, which the company's board of directors determined to be an undervaluation of the men's retailer and not in the best interest of the company's shareholders. In January 2014, Men's Wearhouse proposed acquiring all of the outstanding shares of Jos. A. Bank common stock for approximately $1.6 billion, as well as nominating two independent directors for Jos. A. Bank's board. In February 2014, Men's Wearhouse raised its bid to approximately $1.78 billion and commenced a lawsuit, successfully handled by a Willkie litigation team, to block Jos. A. Bank from its pending deal to acquire Eddie Bauer. The deal ended a six-month merger battle, resulting in a combined company with more than 1,700 stores in the U.S. and approximately 23,000 employees.

Charge It, Please
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York approved the settlement agreement reached by Willkie client MasterCard, along with Visa and 13 of the nation's largest banks, with a class of about 12 million merchants in a multidistrict class action litigation involving antitrust allegations of price fixing, tying, monopolization and exclusive dealing against the U.S. credit card industry. The approved settlement resolved eight years of litigation challenging the payment-card networks' setting certain transaction fees and maintaining certain rules governing merchant acceptance of MasterCard and Visa payment cards, and fully addressed merchants' antitrust and competition issues presented by the MasterCard and Visa networks in the U.S. The settlement is believed to be the largest-ever antitrust settlement in U.S. history.

Media Monoliths Merging
The firm's Communications, Media & Privacy Department is leading the effort to secure FCC regulatory approval for Comcast Corporation in its acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. The merger agreement, valued at approximately $45.2 billion ($67 billion including debt), creates one of the world's leading technology and media companies. The merger is expected to accelerate delivery of Comcast's technologically advanced products and services to Time Warner Cable's customers.

Top Dogs of Delaware
The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's decision in In re MFW Shareholders Litigation, agreeing with arguments presented by Willkie, and establishing a new standard for going-private deals involving controlling shareholders. The Supreme Court held that the deferential business judgment rule rather than the entire fairness standard applies to going-private transactions involving controlling stockholders as long as there is a well-functioning special committee and a majority-of-the-minority voting condition. The MFW ruling makes it more likely that such transactions-if they have the correct procedural protections-will be reviewed and resolved earlier than at a full trial.

Friends on Fifth Avenue
Willkie client Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay Company acquired U.S. luxury retailer Saks Incorporated for $16.00 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $2.9 billion, including debt. The deal united three iconic retail brands-Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue-creating a leading North American retailer to serve consumers across the luxury, mid-tier and outlet retail sectors. The cross-border acquisition increases HBC's growth potential both in the U.S. and Canada, generates significant efficiencies of scale, adds prime real estate to the company's portfolio and provides substantial shareholder value.

Billions for Buyouts
Global private equity firm and longtime Willkie client Warburg Pincus LLC closed Warburg Pincus Private Equity XI, L.P., an $11.2 billion global fund. The newly created fund is one of the largest private equity funds raised since the global financial crisis. Like Warburg Pincus' prior funds, WP XI focuses on investments in growth companies in the firm's key industry sectors-energy, financial services, healthcare, technology, media and telecommunications, and consumer, industrial and services (CIS)-around the world.

Investment Funds Firm of the Year
Willkie was named the Investment Funds Firm of the Year at the 2014 Chambers USA Awards for Excellence. Chambers highlights that "these awards shine a spotlight on the firms and individuals that have excelled above all others in the U.S. legal market over the period 2013-14." In presenting the honor, Chambers noted that Willkie's "impressive East Coast group remains strong across the board on investment fund issues, with particular prominence in transactional, regulatory, formation and governance work relating to registered funds and private funds. The team has also made waves in the market with significant additions to its trading and markets and derivatives expertise, enhancing its ability to handle some of the most sophisticated pieces of work in that area."

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Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP


787 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019-6099
Phone: (212) 728-8000
www.willkie.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairmen: Tom Cerabino and Steve Gartner
  • Total No. Attorneys 2014: 580

  • Employment Contact

    New York, NY and Houston, TX
    Christie Bonasera
    Associate Director of Legal Recruiting
    Phone: (212) 728-3650
    Email: cbonasera@willkie.com

    Washington, DC
    Gail P. McGinley
    Associate Director of Legal Personnel and Recruiting
    Phone: (202) 303-1305
    Email: gmcginley@willkie.com


  • Base Salary

    New York, NY
    1st year: $160,000
    2nd year: $170,000
    3rd Year: $185,000
    4th Year: $210,000
    5th Year: $230,000
    6th Year: $250,000
    7th Year: $265,000
    8th Year: $280,000
    Summer associate: $3,077/week


  • Summer Associate Offers

    46 out of 46 (2013)


  • Major Departments & Practices

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

Major Office Locations

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