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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

New York

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP - New York
  • Worldwide Plaza
  • 825 Eighth Avenue
  • New York
  • New York
  • USA
  • NY 10019-7475
  • Presiding Partner: C Allen Parker
  • Number of partners worldwide: 87
  • Number of other lawyers worldwide: 337
  • Languages: Armenian, Bengali (India), Bulgarian, Cantonese (Chinese), Dutch, Farsi (Persian), French, German, Greek, Gujarati (India), Hebrew, Hindi (India), Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin (Chinese), Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian and Urdu (Pakistan)

Firm Overview: Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is widely recognised as one of the preeminent law firms in the world. Each of the firm’s practices is highly regarded, and its lawyers are recognised for their commitment to the representation of clients’ interests in the US and throughout the world. Cravath was founded in 1819 and maintains offices in New York and London.

Main Areas of Practice:  

Corporate: Clients repeatedly choose Cravath in large and complex matters, particularly with respect to cross-border transactions involving multiple jurisdictions. Cravath’s corporate lawyers advise global businesses in a diverse range of merger and acquisition transactions, including divestitures, spin-offs and joint ventures. The firm is active in both making hostile bids and defending against takeover attempts, based on the combined strength and depth of its corporate and litigation departments. Cravath has a highly regarded US and international securities practice, with lawyers representing issuers and investment banks in all types of US and global offerings. The firm’s commercial banking lawyers regularly represent major financial institutions and borrowers. Cravath’s experience in M&A, securities and commercial banking is a significant advantage for the firm’s clients, whose business concerns often involve all of these areas. A highly regarded group of environmental lawyers at Cravath work with the firm’s clients on matters related to acquisition and disposition strategies, financings and regulatory compliance with respect to a broad range of environmental issues.

Tax: Cravath’s tax lawyers play an integral role in structuring and negotiating all types of transactions, including mergers, spin-offs, joint ventures, securities offerings, commercial bank facilities and intricate private equity acquisitions and related financings. The firm’s Tax Department designs structures for complex domestic and international transactions and has developed innovative types of acquisitions and financings in the US and international markets. In cooperation with tax advisors in other countries, the firm’s tax lawyers work to capture the benefits of differences in the tax law in different jurisdictions.

Executive Compensation & Benefits: Cravath’s ECB Department brings experience and judgment to its clients’ employee benefits and compensation matters, which are often central concerns in acquisitions, dispositions and other transactions. The firm’s ECB lawyers advise companies, boards of directors, compensation committees and members of senior management in a variety of compensation and benefit arrangements as well as legal compliance concerns.

Litigation: Cravath is known for the breadth and depth of its litigation experience in such diverse areas of the law as the Alien Tort Claims Act, antitrust, bankruptcy, contracts and commercial disputes, corporate investigations and governance, employment, the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), intellectual property (patents, trademarks, trade dress, copyrights, trade secrets), mergers and acquisitions, real estate, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO), securities and tax. Cravath litigators are routinely called upon to represent non-US companies in many of the largest and most complex litigations and domestic and international arbitrations (including ICC, LCIA, AAA and private arbitrations), before administrative agencies and regulatory authorities, and in virtually every other type of proceeding, including internal investigations. Cravath litigators handle work involving contested merger and acquisition transactions, while boards of directors and special committees have relied on the firm’s lawyers to guide them through the intricacies of shareholder litigation and government investigations. The firm’s antitrust experience encompasses a wide range of industries, from mining to telecommunications. A significant portion of the firm’s litigation work relates to contracts and commercial disputes, often in the form of business torts as well as other areas of general business litigation. The firm handles a broad range of complex and challenging matters involving intellectual property across all industries, from computers to biotechnology and pharmaceuticals to recording technology. In the area of securities litigation, Cravath is widely recognised for handling complex and often precedent-setting cases.

Trusts & Estates: The firm’s trusts and estates lawyers have served as legal counsel, advisors and trustees to several generations of the families that built many of the most important businesses in the world. The firm’s insight and sound judgment have earned the respect and confidence of generations of some of the most successful private clients in their trusts and estates matters. Today, the firm continues to represent many leading entrepreneurs, senior executives, and private corporations and partnerships. The firm’s lawyers work closely with private clients and their families to realise their estate planning and philanthropic goals by creating and endowing trusts, estates and charitable foundations.

International Work: For the past 100 years, Cravath has had an international practice representing US firms abroad and non-US firms, both in the US market and worldwide. Cravath lawyers work on a diverse range of matters and regularly advise corporate and financial institution clients on a variety of capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate, commercial banking and SEC compliance matters. The firm’s lawyers often work closely with leading law firms in Europe and elsewhere, providing advice on complex transactions that require extensive knowledge of and experience in the laws of multiple jurisdictions. The firm also handles both US litigation and international arbitrations for non-US clients.

Clients: Along with governments and multinational institutions, the firm’s client base includes some of the world’s best known companies and financial institutions, including: Alcoa, American Express, Avon, AWB Ltd., BAE Systems, Banco Santander, Barnes & Noble, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deloitte & Touche, Delta, Deutsche Bank, DreamWorks Animation, DuPont, European Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs, Hertz, IBM, INEOS, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Kraft Foods, Lindsay Goldberg, Medinol, Merck, Morgan Stanley, Mylan, Naspers, NCR, Nestlé, Novartis, Permira, PricewaterhouseCoopers, QUALCOMM, Royal Dutch Shell, Sappi, Sprint Nextel, Time Warner, UBS, Unilever, Vivendi and Xerox. Approximately one-quarter of the firm’s clients are non-US institutions for which the firm provides a wide variety of corporate, tax and litigation representations.


  • Citypoint,
  • One Ropemaker Street,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC2Y 9HR
  • Tel +44 20 7453 1000
  • Fax +44 20 7860 1150
  • Email : london@cravath.com

Capital Markets - Global-wide

What the team is known for Particularly proficient in senior debt transactions in the high-yield space, in both the USA and London. The firm also demonstrates skill in both general debt and equity, due to its formidable practice predominantly in the USA.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Technical ability: "Just incredibly experienced, you know you're getting the best advice."

Professionalism: "The lawyers are extremely able and will get the deal done."

Work highlights Acted for initial purchasers Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas and Citigroup in a senior debt offering of 144A/Reg. S notes by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. The notes were worth USD6.5 billion and the proceeds will be used to fund the acquisitions of the Plains Exploration & Production Company and McMoRan Exploration Company.

Acted for a syndicate of underwriters led by JPMorgan with regards to four equity offerings of depository shares in JPMorgan Chase & Co. Together the offerings totalled USD5.2 billion.

Notable practitioners William Whelan leads the firm's securities practice and William Fogg is managing partner of the corporate department, both of whom are based in the New York headquarters. Philip Boeckman is the managing partner of the London office, and advises on a range of both debt and equity matters.

Significant clients INEOS, IBM, Unilever, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs.

Corporate/M&A - Global-wide

What the team is known for Co-ordinates major international transactions involving Europe, Latin America and Asia from its top-ranked US office. Has a strong focus on representing hostile bidders and defending against takeover attempts.

Work highlights Represented Amerisource Bergen Corporation in connection with a strategic long-term relationship with Walgreen and Swiss pharmacy group Alliance Boots.

Acted for Archer-Daniels-Midland Company on the corporate aspects of its proposed acquisition of Australian agricultural company GrainCorp. 

Notable practitioners

Scott Barshay and Mark Greene are key contacts for the firm's New York M&A office.

Significant clients Amerisource Bergen Corporation, Banco Santander, Delta Air Lines, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever.

Dispute Resolution - Global-wide

What the team is known for One of the leading New York litigation practices, handling high-profile cross-border cases with the assistance of its London office. Recent cases include alleged breaches of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, business torts and unfair competition claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Among the very best litigation firms in the USA, with a great client list."

Work highlights Represented Alcoa in an action brought by Aluminium Bahrain concerning alleged bribery.

Acted for grain marketing organisation AWB on an action filed by the Republic of Iraq against 93 defendants who allegedly participated in a conspiracy to corrupt the United Nations' Oil-for-Food Programme.

Notable practitioners

Renowned litigator Evan Chesler is the firm's chairman. Robert Baron is the litigation's department managing partner, while former team leader Richard Clary is another key contact in New York.

Significant clients Alcoa, Barnes & Noble, Credit Suisse, IBM, Morgan Stanley.

Tax - Global-wide

What the team is known for A prestigious US firm that adopts a central role in the tax structuring of many complex cross-border M&A transactions. Services clients in a wide range of industries, including finance, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, shipping, media and telecommunications.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "A very well-balanced and focused tax group."

Work highlights Assisted Archer Daniels Midland with its proposed acquisition of the Australian agricultural company GrainCorp.

Notable practitioners  

Stephen Gordon chairs the firm's tax practice from New York. Mike Schler and Andy Needham are other additional contacts.

Significant clients Time Warner, Life Technologies, Continental Energy Systems, Alliant Techsystems, Delta Air Lines.

Capital Markets - Latin America-wide

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Corporate/M&A - Latin America-wide

London-based David Mercado has a reputation among sources as one of the sharpest legal minds focused on Latin America. He represented Grupo Modelo during its high-profile takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev and also acted for Santander on the USD1.67 billion sale of a controlling interest in its Latin American operations to Zurich Financial Services.

Banking & Finance - USA

Michael Goldman earns much praise from sources, with one commenting: "Not only does he offer sound legal advice, but he has a great ability to frame business questions as well." Of late he has done considerable work with Credit Suisse on several highlight deals.

James Cooper is well respected by market observers. He often works with JPMorgan and recently advised the firm in connection with two credit facilities totalling USD8 billion provided to social networking company Facebook.

Financial institution practice chair Robbins Kiessling remains a prominent figure within the firm. His wealth of experience in lending transactions ensures continued work with clients such as JPMorgan, Citi and Bank of America.

James Vardell has a strong reputation with interviewees. His practice focuses on syndicated bank financings and he regularly represents both corporate borrowers and traditional lenders. He is also well versed in project finance, restructurings and equipment finance.

Described as "a great adviser," Jed Zobitz is adept at handling syndicated loan transactions, and has particular strengths in acquisition financings, leveraged recapitalisations and M&A.

Presiding partner at the firm, Allen Parker has a wealth of experience in the field, specifically in syndicated loan transactions, acquisition finance and leveraged recapitalisations. Recent highlights include the representation of Rock Tenn Company and Rock Tenn Company of Canada as borrowers in connection with USD3.7 billion of credit facilities.

Capital Markets - USA

Kris Heinzelman is "highly thoughtful" and a "terrific lawyer," sources say. He recently represented the underwriters led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and others in a USD2 billion registered debt offering by Hewlett-Packard.

John White is a "great thinker" who sources report "has a command of the intersection of accounting and disclosure that is really superb." He represented Rock-Tenn in its USD750 million Rule 144A/Regulation S debt offering.

Stephen Burns "gets to the point very quickly," "has a fabulous knowledge of what is going on in the market" and is "highly user-friendly," sources say. His highlights include advising the initial purchasers on a USD230 million Rule 144A/Regulation S senior convertible debt offering by DFC Global.

Andrew Pitts "does his job highly rigorously, but with an attitude and bedside manner that are enviable," market sources say. He represented Citi as underwriter in FleetCor Technologies' USD249 million secondary offering of common stock. 

William Rogers is acclaimed by sources for his commercial understanding and hands-on approach to transactions. His highlights include representing Gaslog in its USD329 million IPO.

William Whelan has "a complete grasp of all the legal issues, but can give practical advice, too" and he "can advise on risk but also on the practicalities of those risks coming to fruition and on ways to minimise risks," clients say. He advises investment banks and issuers on IPOs, high-yield and investment grade debt, and equity offerings.

William Fogg advised the underwriters, led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan, on Freeport-McMoRan Cooper & Gold's USD3 billion registered senior debt offering. Clients highly acclaim his practical judgement on complex issues.

Craig Arcella frequently represents both corporate clients and financial institutions in a range of capital markets transactions. He recently advised the underwriters led by Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs and UBS Investment Bank on a USD1.5 billion registered debt offering by the State of Israel.

Erik Tavzel represented DHT in its USD80 million offering of common stock and series A participating preferred stock. He counts a number of Canadian public companies among his clients.

Competition/Antitrust - USA

Evan Chesler is the managing partner of Cravath and a very well-regarded general litigator whose practice includes antitrust, securities and IP work. One peer calls Chesler "a terrific, terrific lawyer - someone I'd turn to if I couldn't represent myself." He defended IBM in a suit concerning mainframe computers.

Corporate/M&A - USA

Scott Barshay is an impressive performer who clients say is "brilliant." His recent highlights include advising Barnes & Noble on a USD300 million investment from Microsoft into its digital reading subsidiary, NOOK Media.

Richard Hall is seen as one of the most esteemed practitioners in the state. He divides his time between New York and the firm's London office, and recently advised the Linde Group on its USD4.6 billion acquisition of Lincare Holdings.

Interviewees say Faiza Saeed is "a superstar." She recently represented Pentair in its USD10 billion combination with Tyco's Flow Control business.

Robert Townsend represented Olin Corporation in acquiring bleach manufacturer K.A. Steel Chemicals for USD328 million. He also recently closed the USD19.7 billion acquisition of Synthes for Johnson & Johnson.

Clients say Philip Gelston "is very pragmatic and will give you a straight answer right away." His clients include Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods), which he recently represented in the creation of a North American grocery entity and a global snacks business.

Foreign Desks New York-based Craig Arcella is a key contact in Cravath's corporate team, which has a strong emphasis on M&A and financings in Latin America.

Intellectual Property - USA

Evan Chesler is the firm's chairman. He has a distinguished litigation and trial practice, much of which is devoted to IP disputes. He played an instrumental role in the victory achieved for Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi in a long-running patent dispute with Apotex regarding anti-clotting agent Plavix.

Keith Hummel is praised by clients as an "outstanding patent litigator." He also oversees clients' global litigation strategies and has recently been deeply involved in a round of medical device-related patent disputes dubbed the 'Stent Wars'. His practice notably includes a focus on matters involving Germany and the Netherlands.  

Tax - USA

Stephen Gordon heads the firm's tax group. His practice incorporates a host of major transaction types, including handling the tax aspects involved in joint ventures, restructurings, M&A transactions and spin-offs. His clients include JPMorgan Chase and Time Warner. He is recognised for his professional aptitude, which one interviewee describes as "far above that of any other tax professional I've ever dealt with."

Michael Schler's impressive practice covers a variety of matters in the field of corporate tax, international transactions, M&A and corporate finance. His clients include the Linde Group and Goldman Sachs, and he is regarded by one client as "one of the top corporate tax lawyers in the USA: 100% accurate in his advice, pleasant and congenial in his rapport and a thought leader in the US tax profession."

Andrew Needham's practice is also marked by significant transactional expertise encompassing joint venture formation, spin-offs and M&A. In addition to a number of investment banking firms, his distinguished roster of clients features Johnson & Johnson, Weyerhaeuser and IBM. Interviewees describe him as "very approachable, and very highly regarded in the tax community."