2021 Vault Rankings
- New York#2
At a Glance
“Ability to work on matters that make the front page of newspapers.”
“Firm culture of diligence.”
“Very high standards and expectations.”
“Lack of transparency.”
“The unpredictable schedule and the inability to completely sign off.”
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 practice. 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 a rotation 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 approximately 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—among others.
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. As a preliminary step, our recruiting season will run on a different schedule, beginning in early 2021. As of June 2020, we are working closely with law schools around the logistics for on-campus interviews, and expect these will be conducted remotely. The feasibility of office interviews will be determined based on student location and volume. Our top priority remains the health and safety of our people and our communities, and we will communicate additional changes as the situation evolves.
News & Awards
Cravath is representing The Boston Red Sox in multiple litigations relating to Major League Baseball’s highly publicized electronic sign-stealing scandal, including securing the dismissal with prejudice of consolidated purported class action litigation filed by users of fantasy sport betting service DraftKings.
Cravath is representing Mylan in its pending $50 billion combination with Upjohn, Pfizer’s off‑patent branded and generic established medicines business. The all-stock, Reverse Morris Trust transaction will create a new global pharmaceutical company, which The New York Times called “a potential powerhouse in the increasingly challenging business of producing generic medicines.” Cravath also represented Mylan in its related $4.6 billion of credit facilities, and in connection with Upjohn’s two senior notes offerings totaling approximately $11.5 billion, proceeds of which will be used to finance the combination.
Cravath is representing Tesla CEO and Chairman Elon Musk and other members of the Tesla Board of Directors in connection with a stockholder class and derivative action related to Tesla’s $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity Corporation, a solar energy services company. Cravath was retained as trial counsel after defendants’ motion to dismiss was denied, and a bench trial is scheduled to begin in 2021.
Following PG&E’s initiation of voluntary reorganization proceedings in January 2019 in order to fairly and efficiently resolve liabilities resulting from the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires, the company emerged from Chapter 11 on July 1, 2020, successfully completing its restructuring process. Cravath represented PG&E through this, one of the largest and most complex bankruptcies in history, as corporate, financing and litigation counsel, including in related wildfire litigation, which culminated in multiple multi-billion dollar settlements with affected stakeholders.
- Contributing to the Supreme Court’s ruling protecting the LGBTQ+ community from workplace discrimination, Cravath filed an amicus brief pro bono on behalf of Members of Congress arguing that the Civil Rights Act’s Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Cravath won a U.S. Supreme Court victory for American Express in one of the most significant antitrust enforcement actions in history. The decision defines how antitrust law is applied to two-sided markets.
- Cravath led Qualcomm’s fight with Apple, securing a settlement resolving litigation across three continents.
- Cravath represented Viacom’s Board Committee in its $30 billion merger with CBS.
- Litigation Department of the Year, 2019—New York Law Journal
- Antitrust Law Firm of the Year, 2019—Chambers USA
- Restructuring Advisory Firm of the Year, 2019—The Deal
- New York Tax Firm of the Year, 2019—International Tax Review
- Practice Group of the Year – Banking, Bankruptcy, Competition, M&A and Tax, 2019—Law360
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: D. Scott Bennett (Corporate); Benjamin Gruenstein (Litigation)
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
500 - 750
No. of Partners Named 2020:
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
Summer associate: $3,700/week
Lisa A. Kalen
Director of Legal Recruiting
No. of U.S. Offices: 1
No. of International Offices: 1
New York (HQ)
Executive Compensation and Benefits
Trusts and Estates
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.