2019 Vault Rankings
“It's a great place to learn how to be a lawyer”
“Cutting-edge legal work”
“The below-market comp for seniors”
“Very little social interaction outside the firm after business hours”
“Very few truly junior associates to handle junior-associate type of work”
With around 200 attorneys working out of its single outpost in Manhattan, Patterson Belknap may seem like a modest operation relative to New York’s megafirms, but the firm holds its own with a top-notch litigation department representing an impressive roster of clients. Handling litigation and corporate matters on behalf of clients from such disparate fields as media, financial services, banking, private equity and life sciences, the firm also represents non-profits and foundations on a wide range of matters.
A Distinguished Career
Patterson Belknap was founded in 1919. Leading name partner Robert P. Patterson was a Harvard Law grad, who interrupted the early stages of his legal career to fight with the New York National Guard in Mexico in 1916. He then became a decorated soldier during World War I. Upon returning to the home front, he was tapped to sit on the U.S. District Court by President Herbert Hoover. His career toggled between law and war thereafter.
Patterson was elevated to the Second Circuit in 1939, but he then stepped down to join the infantry in World War II. From there, he became Harry Truman's Secretary of War, serving until the war's end. President Truman tried to persuade him to stay on as Secretary of Defense, but another kind of duty called: Patterson went back to his office in New York City, joining partners (and Harvard Law classmates) Vanderbilt Webb and Chauncey Belknap. The firm promptly adopted all three men's names. Fourth and final name partner, Harold R. Tyler, was an eminent New York federal judge, Deputy U.S. Attorney General, and a leader of the New York City Bar Association. He spent three decades with the firm until his death in 2005.
Big Apple Loyalty
Today Patterson Belknap is a full-service firm with commercial law and litigation strength across 20 practice groups. Despite litigating in courts across the country and handling international matters, the firm has decided to remain in one office to maintain the culture and quality control that come with practicing so closely together. In 2007, the firm established a dedicated team to tackle subprime lending and credit crisis matters. The group kept busy working on disputes related to residential mortgage backed securities, CDOs, credit default swaps and other complex financial instruments.
More recently, the firm launched a privacy and cybersecurity practice. The firm also has a growing white collar defense practice that handles sensitive government investigations, internal investigations, and parallel civil actions for large companies, nonprofits, and individuals. And the firm couldn’t have chosen a better location for its well-established art and museum practice—Patterson Belknap has worked with several of the city's largest museums, collectors, and art estates (including the Jean-Michel Basquiat authentication committee).
Defending Law Firms
Patterson has carved out a key niche with its law firm defense practice, which represents individual attorneys as well as other law firms—from small local shops to large regional and national practices. In fact, Patterson has become one of the nation's heavy hitters in defending legal malpractice and fraud claims. In addition, Patterson helps other lawyers and practices settle disputes about partnership compensation, manage disciplinary proceedings, and handle conflict disclosure claims.
Committed To Doing Good
Patterson earned a perfect rating in the 2017 Human Rights Campaign Foundation Corporate Equity Index and proudly boasts that since 2004, 100 percent of the firm’s attorneys have participated in pro bono projects each year, something that’s earned them continuous top rankings in The American Lawyer.
1133 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 336-2000
Executive Director: Michael J. Greis
Managing Partner: Lisa E. Cleary
Hiring Partners: Catherine Williams, Josh Goldberg
New York, NY
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
Summer Associate Offers:
N/A – No summer program
New York, NY
Alternate Dispute Resolution
Art & Museum Law
Business Reorganization and Creditors’ Rights
Class Action Litigation
Complex Commercial Actions
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
False Claims Act & Whistleblower Defense
Insurance Coverage Practice
Intellectual Property Litigation
Intellectual Property Transactions
Law Firm Defense
Media, Entertainment & Sports
Mergers & Acquisitions
Privacy and Data Security
Securities & Derivatives Litigation
Structured Finance Litigation
Trademark & Copyright Litigation
Trusts & Estates
White Collar Defense & Investigations