2022 Vault Rankings
- New York#2
At a Glance
“The level of responsibility and substantive experience.”
“The prestige and exit opportunities.”
“Long, unpredictable hours.”
“Expectations are very high.”
“Lack of transparency for promotion.”
About Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
With two centuries under its belt, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is one of the nation’s preeminent law firms. Cravath has settled on a lean-and-mean approach to world dominance with two strategically placed offices in New York and London.
Storied History, Market Leader
Cravath is one of the nation’s oldest law firms, and it certainly has made its mark. Firm founders Richard Blatchford and William Seward both served in Lincoln’s administration—Seward was the Secretary of State. Over the years, the firm has had its hand in representing famed abolitionist Horace Greeley and inventor Samuel Morse, organizing NBC for its original shareholders, and handling the famed 13-year antitrust lawsuit that began in 1969 for IBM.
Cravath is a market leader in salaries, bonuses, and hiring practices. Name partner Paul Cravath pioneered the modern associate hiring approach (the hallmark “Cravath System”), which focuses on finding the best and brightest law school grads, paying them lockstep compensation, providing them with the highest caliber training, and promoting partners from within that group. The firm rarely hires lateral partners and has kept its attorney headcount relatively low. Unlike many of its peers, the firm’s partners are all full equity partners, and they are compensated through a lockstep model. Also unique to the firm is its rotation system through which associates select from among the firm’s five practice areas and then are assigned to different partners or groups of partners through the system, which continues for their entire time as associates.
At the Top
Cravath is known as one of the most elite law firms and has a strong reputation for its work in antitrust, banking and credit, capital markets, corporate governance, executive compensation and benefits, M&A, securities litigation, tax, trusts and estates, and white collar criminal defense. Each of Cravath’s practice areas has an international focus, and more than one-third of its clients are based outside the United States.
The firm is a go-to firm for corporate matters—consistently ranking at the top of Vault’s Best Law Firms for General Corporate Practice. Its corporate lawyers train through a generalist model, gaining experience in such areas as banking and credit, capital markets, corporate governance, IP, M&A, and financial restructuring and reorganization (FR&R).
Cravath’s corporate practice is matched by an equally lauded litigation practice that ranks among various of Vault’s Practice Area rankings, including general commercial litigation, appellate litigation, securities litigation, and white collar criminal defense. Among the industries its litigators work in are consumer products, energy, financial institutions, fintech, health care, media, technology, and telecommunications—to name some.
The firm’s clients have included such names as AmEx; Credit Suisse AG; Goldman Sachs; Hasbro, Inc.; Hewlett Packard; IBM; JPMorgan Chase; Qualcomm; Toll Brothers; US Foods; and The Walt Disney Company.
In 2019, Cravath launched the Cravath Scholars Program at Fisk University—one of the nation’s historically Black colleges—in Nashville, Tennessee. Through this program, the firm provides tuition assistance and summer internships to high-achieving undergraduate students. The firm and the university have shared close ties since Fisk’s founding in 1866; Paul Cravath’s father—abolitionist Reverend Erastus Milo Cravath—was one of the institution’s founders and the first president of the university.
Cravath remains committed to recruiting the most promising students from a diverse array of law schools and backgrounds and providing our associates with rigorous and expansive training. Just as we have adapted to working remotely and adjusted logistics of our Summer Associate Program, we are continuing to tailor our recruitment process as the situation around COVID-19 develops. We are working closely with law schools around the logistics for on-campus interviews, and expect these will be conducted remotely. Our top priority remains the health and safety of our people and our communities, and we will communicate additional changes as the situation dictates.
News & Awards
- Over the course of nearly 40 years, the firm represented African American and female plaintiffs in pro bono litigation related to employment discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama. The case was brought by the NAACP in 1974, and, at the request of the national Lawyers’ Committee, Cravath took on the representation of the plaintiffs in 1983; the case concluded in December 2020.
- Cravath is representing Canadian National Railway in its pending $33.6 billion combination with Kansas City Southern. This is the first major rail deal since 1999 and establishes the first North American railway spanning Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
- The firm won a complete defense victory for Qualcomm Incorporated in August 2020, securing a unanimous Ninth Circuit decision that vacated a permanent, worldwide injunction against the company and confirmed the lawfulness of Qualcomm’s business model in litigation brought by the FTC.
- Cravath represented Peugeot as U.S. counsel in its $50 billion merger with Fiat Chrysler. The companies entered into a definitive combination agreement to create Stellantis, the fourth-largest global automotive manufacturer by volume and third largest by revenue.
- Banking, Bankruptcy, Benefits, Competition, and Tax “Practice Group of the Year,” 2020—Law360
- “Trial Firm of the Year,” 2021—Benchmark Litigation
- “Antitrust Law Firm of the Year,” 2021—Chambers USA
- “Beacon of Justice Award,” 2020—National Legal Aid & Defender Association
- “Innovation Award,” 2020—New York Law Journal.
Why Work Here
Here’s what you may not know: The professional development of our lawyers is our most important long-term objective. Our continued success depends on our ability to attract and develop the best talent, and we are committed to providing our lawyers with a rewarding and well-rounded professional experience.
We are not, and do not strive to be, the largest law firm measured by number of offices or lawyers. Our goal is to be the firm of choice for clients facing their most challenging legal issues, most significant business transactions and most critical disputes. To that end, we recruit the nation’s most outstanding law students and focus on training and developing them into world-class lawyers through our hallmark Rotation System.
825 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 474-1000
Presiding Partner: Faiza J. Saeed
Hiring Partners: Ting S. Chen (Corporate); Benjamin Gruenstein (Litigation)
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
250 - 500
No. of Partners Named 2021:
1st year: $205,000
2nd year: $215,000
3rd year: $240,000
4th year: $275,000
5th year: $305,000
6th year: $330,000
7th year: $350,000
Summer Associate: $3,950/week
Lisa A. Kalen
Director of Legal Recruiting
No. of U.S. Offices: 1
No. of International Offices: 1
New York, NY (HQ) | London
Executive Compensation and Benefits
Trusts and Estates
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.