2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
"I truly enjoy the people I work with.”
“The commitment to pro bono.”
"Partner prospects are slim.”
“The hours can be long at times.”
"Diversity can be improved on.”
About Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Rooted in New York, with offices in Silicon Valley, and Paris, Kramer Levin is a full-service shop with 375 lawyers. The firm practices across dozens of areas with particular strength in bankruptcy, immigration, litigation, M&A, real estate, and white collar.
Many Eggs, Many Baskets
Fourteen New York attorneys teamed up to start Kramer Levin in 1968. From the start, Kramer Levin was positioned as a full-service firm that didn’t rely on a single hallmark practice or longstanding relationship with one major client. This approach, combined with the firm’s small size, meant that some practice areas were run by just one or two lawyers, but it also meant that Kramer Levin was able to accept litigation, real estate, transactional, tax, and trusts and estates assignments. One of the reasons why the firm was able to attract and retain partners and associates in its early days was the fact that it offered attorneys a chance to work in small teams and build their practices themselves, instead of navigating through the crowds at larger firms.
From Gavels to Distress to Buildings
Kramer Levin has stuck by its diversified practice model. Its litigators handle everything from advertising litigation and commercial litigation to antitrust and real estate litigation to securities litigation and white collar defense—to name some. The firm was in the spotlight recently for its work on the U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which determined that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violates the Constitution.
The firm ranks within the top 20 of Vault’s Bankruptcy/Restructuring ranking. And for good reason. Kramer Levin has been involved in some of the largest and most complex bankruptcies filed in the country, including Caesar’s Entertainment, Toys R Us, and Puerto Rico.
Holding a spot within the top 20 of Vault’s Real Estate ranking, Kramer Levin’s real estate practice is also widely recognized. The group advises real estate owners and developers, private equity investors, investment bankers, and hoteliers, among others. Clients include the Related Companies LP in the 26-acre Hudson Yards development in Midtown Manhattan and The Walt Disney Co. in the sale of its Upper West Side campus and the purchase of a new headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
Rising to the Challenge
Pro bono isn’t an afterthought at Kramer Levin. The firm was a charter member of Volunteers of Legal Service, Inc, and through its partnership with the organization, Kramer pledges a minimum of 30 hours each year per lawyer. That’s more than 11,000 hours in case you lost count. In addition, Kramer Levin is a signatory of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge through the Pro Bono Institute.
News & Awards
January 2020 (Projected)
Kramer Levin has elected Paul Schoeman and Howard Spilko co-managing partners, effective January 1, 2020. Paul Pearlman, who has led the firm as managing partner since August 2000, will step down at the end of this year as part of a long-planned succession strategy. Executive Director Nicholas Tortorella, who joined the firm in 2001, will also be retiring at the end of the year. Schoeman is co-chair of the firm’s white collar defense and investigations practice. Spilko is co-chair of the firm’s corporate practice. According to the firm, the move comes at a time of stability, innovation, and financial growth at Kramer Levin. In 2017, the firm topped $2 million in profits per partner for the first time, and in 2018, the firm did so again while recording its third consecutive year of record financial results. Kramer Levin celebrates 50th anniversary
Kramer Levin is approaching the end of a two-year renovation of its offices at 1177 Avenue of the Americas. The new space features glass-walled offices that allow more natural light into the interior of the space, electric sit-stand desks, informal collaborative meeting spaces, state-of-the-art video and audio technology, and an expanded cafeteria.
Kramer Levin celebrated its 50th anniversary on July 1, 2018. The firm’s founders set out to establish a different type of law firm—one that advances human dignity, respect, and collegiality both within the firm and across society. Today, the firm continues to maintain its unwavering commitment to these principles, which inform its culture and distinguish it from other elite New York law firms.
- Won a landmark case in the Puerto Rico bankruptcy when, on August 8, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the right of Kramer Levin’s bondholder clients to seek a receiver for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
- Represented BlackRock Inc. in its $1.3 billion acquisition of eFront, the world’s leading end-to-end alternative investment management software company.
- Represented The Walt Disney Co. in its $650 million acquisition of the rights to 4 Hudson Square for 99 years. Kramer Levin also advised Disney in the $1.2 billion sale of its ABC campus on the Upper West Side to Silverstein Properties.
- No. 2—2018 annual Summer Associates Survey (The American Lawyer)
- 2018 Practice Group of the Year for Real Estate (Law360)
- 2018 Law Firm of the Year (M&A Advisor’s Turnaround Awards)
- 2018 IP Litigation Law Firm of the Year in California (Global Law Experts)
- 2018 Overall Best Securitization Law Firm (GlobalCapital)
1177 Avenue of Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 715-9100
Managing Partner: Paul S. Pearlman
Hiring Partner: Kerri Ann Law
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
250 - 500
New York, NY
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
9th year+: $350,000
Summer associate: $3,700/week
No. of Summer Associates:
14 total (12 2Ls; 1 JD/MBA; 1L) (2019)
Director of Legal Recruiting & Diversity
New York, NY (HQ)
Silicon Valley, CA
Banking & Finance
Bankruptcy & Restructuring
Cybersecurity, Privacy, & Data Protection
Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
EU Competition & Trade Law
Insurance & Reinsurance
Mergers & Acquisitions
Real Estate, Land Use, & Environmental
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Securitization & Derivatives
White Collar Defense & Investigations
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.