Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP at a Glance


  • “Atmosphere is professional and warm”
  • “Great exit opportunities”
  • “Never a dull day”


  • “Uncertainty about partnership potential”
  • “Hierarchy”
  • “Can be all-consuming”

The Buzz

  • “Impressive associates”
  • “Top-notch”
  • “White shoe”
  • “Buttoned-up”

About Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell, founded in New York City over 160 years ago, has finance in its DNA. The firm boasts one of the nation's best and most comprehensive corporate departments, with impressive teams in capital markets, M&A, bankruptcy, and tax. Its highly-regarded litigation practice-which includes a top-notch white-collar criminal defense team-also has deep roots: in his long career, name partner John Davis argued over 250 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

On the Coattails of the Robber Barons

Davis Polk dates back to 1849, making it one of the oldest law firms in the United States. Original founder Francis Bangs made his name opposing the legendary Boss Tweed and his Tammany Hall cronies. Bangs' successor, Francis Stetson, was quick to recognize the growing importance of corporate work. In 1887, banker and industrialist J. Pierpont Morgan selected Stetson for his chief counsel-the firm helped Morgan restructure the Pennsylvania Railroad and create General Electric. Morgan's businesses, in their modern day incarnations-JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley-have remained firm clients. Over the course of many decades, the firm has built relationships with a host of other financial institutions and corporations across the country and around the world.

International Flair

Davis Polk's flair for the international is well-established. The firm has expanded across Europe, opening its Paris office in 1962, its London office in 1973 and its Madrid office in 2001. In 2007, Davis Polk opened an office in Beijing, its third Asian office after Hong Kong and Tokyo. The firm's seventh international office, in São Paulo, opened in 2011.
Under managing partner Tom Reid, expect the firm to continue doing what it does best: expanding overseas and representing financial institutions. Reid, who hails from Scotland himself, took a hiatus from law to join the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley in London before returning to the firm in 2003, bringing back loads of capital markets, M&A and corporate governance business with European blue-chip companies and financiers. Approximately 50 percent of the firm's principal clients are non-U.S. companies or governments.

Staying on Top

Davis Polk emerged swinging from the 2008 economic downturn, gobbling up resulting M&A and restructuring work while its PPP continued to rise-all without dumping or driving away loads of associates. From advising on unprecedented transactions in the banking industry (such as counseling Citi on its $306 billion loss-protection agreement with the U.S. government) to the largest IPO in history-counseling the underwriters on the $23.1 billion IPO of GM-Davis Polk knows how to successfully weather the storm.


Davis Polk's litigators are no slouches either. Known for their elite trial work in general commercial, white-collar, and antitrust, they've taken the bull by the horns in litigation stemming from the financial industry's meltdown, representing Bank of America's board in the Merrill Lynch acquisition litigation, Bear Stearns' audit committee in hedge fund collapse investigations, and Citigroup and other banks in litigation relating to one of the largest-ever leveraged buyouts.


March 2014

Government Insiders
Former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride joined Davis Polk as a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office's White Collar Criminal Defense and Government Investigations groups. MacBride is part of a wide-ranging group of former senior government officials advising Davis Polk's clients on their most challenging criminal, congressional and regulatory problems.

February 2014

Ranking First Across the Board
In the final 2013 Bloomberg league tables, Davis Polk had the most No. 1 capital markets rankings across all categories ranking 1st in 16 Global and U.S. categories-more than three times as many as the next firm. In the final 2013 Thomson Reuters capital markets league table rankings, Davis Polk ranked 1st in 27 Global and U.S. categories-almost twice as many as the next firm.

Davis Polk ranked 1st in announced global M&A, 1st in announced U.K. M&A and 1st in completed Asia-Pacific Emerging Markets M&A for 2013 in the Thomson Reuters league tables.

January 2014

Securities Superstars
The American Lawyer named Davis Polk one of the top four securities litigation and enforcement firms in the United States. Davis Polk's "elite securities team" was specifically recognized for having "consistently scored outright dismissals in many key cases" as well as for having "deftly handled a range of high-stakes matters."

December 2013

Volcker Rule Resource
The final Volcker Rule regulations represent some of the most sweeping changes to financial regulation in decades. Davis Polk's Financial Institutions Group analyzed the final rule and created a collection of reference materials as part of Davis Polk's Volcker Rule resource site, www.volckerrule.com, which included the firm's proprietary trading and hedge/private equity fund visual memoranda on the final rule, information on compliance tools and other materials.

November 2013

Award-Winning Pro Bono
Davis Polk and several individual Davis Polk lawyers were honored by the Legal Aid Society with 2013 Pro Bono Publico Awards for outstanding contributions to the Legal Aid Society and its assistance with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

Lifetime Achieving Lawyers
Davis Polk senior counsel Bob Fiske recognized as New York Law Journal Lifetime Achiever and named to The American Lawyer's list of "The Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years," for popularizing white collar defense as a large firm practice area. Fiske joined as an associate in 1955, was elected partner in 1964 and served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1976 to 1980. He has been involved in many of the most high-profile cases.

July 2013

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joins Firm
Former Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Jon Leibowitz, joined the firm as a partner in Washington, DC focusing on the complex antitrust aspects of mergers and acquisitions, government and private antitrust investigations and litigation and providing counsel in the developing area of privacy law.

February 2013

Record-Breaking Acquisitions
Davis Polk advised CNOOC Ltd. on its $15.1 billion acquisition of Canadian energy company, Nexen, Inc., the largest foreign acquisition by any Chinese company. 

Davis Polk advised H. J. Heinz Company on its $28 billion acquisition by an investment consortium consisting of Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, the largest transaction ever in the food industry.

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Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

450 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 450-4000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Thomas J. Reid
  • Hiring Partner: Warren Motley
  • Total No. Attorneys 2014: 885

  • Employment Contact
    Cristóbal V. Modesto-Fulton
    Director of Legal Recruiting
    Phone: 212-450-4768
    Fax: 212-450-5046
    Email: cristobal.modesto-fulton@davispolk.com

  • Base Salary
    All US offices
    1st year: $160,000
    2nd year: $170,000
    3rd year: $185,000
    4th year: $210,000
    5th year: $230,000
    6th year: $250,000
    Summer associate: $3,077/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    126 out of 126 (2013)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Capital Markets
    Corporate Governance
    Derivatives and Structured Products
    Executive Compensation
    Financial Institutions
    Global Technology
    Insolvency & Restructuring
    Intellectual Property
    Investment Management
    Mergers & Acquisitions
    Private Equity
    Real Estate
    Trusts & Estates

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY (HQ)
  • Menlo Park, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Beijing
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Paris
  • Tokyo
  • São Paulo
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