2019 Vault Rankings
“The quality of work is exceptional”
“Hands-on, substantive assignments”
“Lack of promotion potential”
“The hours can be rough”
In the biggest law firm merger news of 2017, Washington, DC giant Arnold & Porter combined with New York’s Kaye Scholer, creating Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (but you can just call it Arnold & Porter), a firm of nearly 1,000 attorneys. The merger combines the best of both worlds—a DC firm known for its top-ranked practices, including antitrust, regulatory, and litigation, and a New York firm recognized by Vault and others for its top-notch associate quality of life.
A Playwright and a Professor build Kaye Scholer
In 1917, tax attorney and playwright Benjamin Kaye co-founded a law firm in the Big Apple with their early work focused on banks. That is, they focused on banks until the Great Depression and the fall of the firm’s largest client—Chatham Phoenix National Bank—in 1934 forced the firm to shift its focus. In 1951, the firm welcomed one of the most interesting and versatile attorneys in its history: Milton Handler. A Columbia Law School professor (a role he continued into the 1970s) and former clerk for SCOTUS’s Harlan Fiske Stone, Handler entered Kaye Scholer with a range of skills, including expertise in labor law—he was one of the drafters of the National Labor Relations Act; trademark law—Handler testified before Congress regarding the Lanham Act; and antitrust, perhaps his most well-known focus. Handler served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s top antitrust advisor and was the first to teach an antitrust law school class in the U.S.; in fact, he was dubbed the “Dean of Antitrust.”
A&P—Getting out of Government
While Handler was building his Kaye Scholer practice, two Yale Law professors and New Deal veterans, Thurman Arnold and Abe Fortas, decided to go into private practice. Arnold, who had previously headed the DOJ’s antitrust practice, was also a judge on the DC Circuit Court, but resigned after two years because he "would rather be speaking to damn fools than listening to damn fools." Fortas, who had served as general counsel of the Public Works Administration and undersecretary of the Interior, was a close advisor to future president Lyndon Johnson. In 1947, a year after founding the firm, Arnold and Fortas were joined by former FCC commissioner Paul Porter.
Arnold, Fortas & Porter didn’t waste any time making serious history and racking up an impressive client list. In its early years, the firm defeated McCarthy-era “communist espionage” charges against Asia scholar Owen Lattimor, represented Clarence Earl Gideon in Gideon v. Wainwright (the landmark Supreme Court case that established a criminal defendant’s right to counsel), and handled an obscenity defense assignment for a little rag called Playboy (a long-standing client thereafter). By 1951, the firm had landed Pan American Airways, Lever Brothers, Western Union, Otis Elevator, the American Broadcasting Company, and Sun Oil as clients. In 1965 LBJ shook up the firm’s partnership by appointing Fortas to the Supreme Court, an appointment he accepted “reluctantly.”
Arnold & Porter Today
Today, Arnold & Porter continues its of top-notch antitrust work, handling the full range of complex and critical antitrust matters, including transactions, government investigations, cartel matters, strategic counseling, and class action litigation. The firm’s lawyers have helped clients obtain antitrust clearance for some of the largest M&A deals, including: Kroger in its $2.5 billion merger with Harris Teeter; General Electric in the $32 billion combination of GE Oil & Gas with Baker Hughes; and AT&T in its $49 billion acquisition of DIRECTV. The firm also has a strong antitrust litigation practice whose successes include defending the Golden State Warriors in an antitrust suit brought by StubHub and defending HarperCollins and Random House in multiple private retailer litigations following on government investigations into the sale of e-books.
The firm also boasts an impressive appellate litigation practice, with a long history of success at the Supreme Court, as well as in federal and state appellate courts. Appellate group head Lisa Blatt has argued 35 SCOTUS cases (more than any other female litigator) and has prevailed in 33—an unprecedented win record.
Arnold & Porter also continues Kaye Scholer’s history of defending Big Pharma from potentially devastating lawsuits, on behalf of clients like Novartis, Pfizer, Purdue Pharma, and Complete Genomics. Also noteworthy is the firm’s bankruptcy department, which has handled numerous high-profile matters, including the bankruptcies of Enron, Adelphia, Delta Airlines, Delphi, Reliant Energy, Aladdin Gaming, and Formica.
IN THE NEWS
A year after the successful combination of Arnold & Porter and Kaye Scholer, the firm has continued to actively serve its clients’ business imperatives more broadly and deeply, taking on more talent across numerous practice areas and in many of its 13 offices. The list of 16 partners and counsel includes the following: Steve Benz in Life Sciences; Maria Chedid in International Arbitration; Mehtap Cevher Conti in Corporate & Finance; Doug Curtis in Commercial Litigation; Sen. Chris Dodd in the Legislative & Public Policy group; John M. Fietkiewicz and Paul Fishman in the White Collar and Crisis Management areas; Dori Hanswirth and Theresa House in Intellectual Property; Brian Lohan in the Bankruptcy practice; Tirzah Lollar and Craig Margolis in the False Claims Act and White Collar space; Evan Rothstein in Intellectual Property; John Tan in the Anti-Corruption and White Collar area; Erik Walsh in Financial Services; and Jane Wessel in Antitrust/Competition.
The Chambers USA 2018 Awards celebrate “preeminence in key practice areas” and “notable achievements” over the past 12 months. The firm was recognized for its “outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service.” Arnold & Porter was just one of three firms to win awards in two distinct practice areas. The firm's Antitrust practice was commended for its “impressive year” handling “high-value transactions, complex government investigations and high-profile litigation,” while the Product Liability Litigation practice was praised for its “high-profile defense work for blue-chip companies in the pharmaceutical sector.”
The London-based Global Arbitration Review (GAR), in its 11th edition, recognized Arnold & Porter for its outstanding work, including 19 treaty arbitration cases, and its pending counsel workload involving claims worth US $11.7 billion. The write-up noted that “the firm has had a stellar run of defense wins at ICSID,” and that “[a]s a defender of states, Arnold & Porter has arguably had a longer winning streak at ICSID than any other firm in this book.” GAR highlighted the firm's recent success in obtaining a US $800 million on behalf of a Turkish company in an investment treaty arbitration against the Government of Pakistan, and an earlier success on behalf of the French power company EDF in obtaining a $200 million award against the Government of Argentina.
Corporate and Finance partner Whitney Debevoise has again been named to The American Lawyer's “Dealmakers of the Year” list for his innovative legal work. He was previously recognized in 2015. The special report, which commends “creative lawyering” and “novel issues of law,” featured Debevoise's sovereign finance work for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The profile notes that Debevoise's work, which helped Nigeria become the second country in sub-Saharan Africa to register bonds with the SEC and the first to obtain approval in both the US and the UK for a single prospectus to offer a low-denomination sovereign bond, “covered new ground” for sovereign financing deals involving developing countries.
The firm was honored at the inaugural San Francisco Bay Area Gala of Tahirih Justice Center, a national non-profit working to end gender-based violence. The organization lauded the firm's “tireless commitment to furthering Tahirih's mission” by securing “essential office space to launch its work in the Bay Area” and “the invaluable services of pro bono attorneys who are nothing short of an inspiration.” Arnold & Porter's office in Washington, DC was named “Firm of the Year” by the Tahirih Justice Center in 2014.
The National Law Journal's list of “Trailblazers” included six Arnold & Porter attorneys in their respective practices: Richard Alexander for Regulatory & Compliance; Matt Wolf for Intellectual Property; Jonathan Martel for Environmental; Ken Chernof for Cybersecurity & Data Privacy; Lisa Blatt for Litigation; and Bill Baer for Mergers & Acquisitions and Antitrust.
In a groundbreaking decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of Arnold & Porter's pro bono clients in the high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth. The Court struck down Pennsylvania's congressional districting map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander exclusively under the Pennsylvania Constitution. In addition to striking down the 2011 map, the Court ordered that a new and constitutional map be put in place in time for the 2018 congressional elections.
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP has nearly 1,000 lawyers across nine domestic and four international offices. In its largest offices, the firm has 400+ lawyers in Washington, DC, 300+ lawyers in New York, and 150+ lawyers in three California offices (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley). In addition, the firm has domestic offices in Chicago, Denver, Houston, and West Palm Beach; and international offices in Brussels, Frankfurt, London, and Shanghai.
601 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 942-5000
Employer Type: Private
Chairman: Richard M. Alexander
Hiring Partners: Ellen Kaye Fleishhacker, Kate Schumacher, and Darren Skinner
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 1,000
All US Offices
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer associate: $3,654 per week
58 out of 59 eligible (2Ls) (2017)
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA
San Francisco, CA
West Palm Beach, FL
Corporate & Finance
Government Contracts & National Security
Intellectual Property & Technology
Labor & Employment
Legislative & Public Policy
Life Sciences & Healthcare Regulatory
Securities Enforcement and Litigation
White Collar Litigation