Cravath, Swaine & Moore
|Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP|
New York City
|No. of offices||2|
|No. of attorneys||358 attorneys |
|Major practice areas||General Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities and Banking, Litigation, Tax, Executive Compensation, Trusts and Estates among others|
|Key people||Evan Chesler
C. Allen Parker
|Revenue||US$ $614 million |
|Founder||Samuel Blatchford and William H. Seward|
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP (known as Cravath) is an American law firm based in New York City, with an additional office in London. Cravath was founded in 1819 and consistently ranks first among the most prestigious law firms in the United States according to several surveys.  It is now one of the most profitable law firms in the world.
The firm arose from two predecessor firms, respectively located in New York City and Auburn, New York. In 1854, these firms merged to form the firm of Blatchford, Seward & Griswold. Named partner Samuel Blatchford later served on the United States Supreme Court. Named partner William H. Seward later served as both Governor and later Senator from New York. He then became Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In 1867, he negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in a transaction contemporaries derisively called "Seward's Folly." Paul Drennan Cravath joined the firm in 1899. He instituted the "Cravath System". The system combines a distinctive way of approaching the hiring, training and compensation of lawyers. In 1944, after a series of name changes, the name Cravath, Swaine & Moore was established and has not been altered since.
Cravath has represented high profile businesses, from United Airlines in its merger with Continental Airlines, the world's largest airline, to Unilever in its acquisition of Alberto Culver. In 2010, its litigation department won summary judgment for Morgan Stanley on its breach of contract claim against Discover Financial Services. In a subsequent settlement, Discover agreed to pay Morgan Stanley $775 million to resolve the litigation. In the same year they successfully represented Barnes & Noble in a landmark "poison pill" trial. Past clients ranged from Samuel F.B. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph to corporations such as IBM, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and CBS. It also performed the legal work necessary to form NBC. More recent decades have seen Cravath represent Netscape in its antitrust suit against Microsoft, resulting in a $750 million settlement; major merger and acquisition deals, such as the DuPont-Conoco merger, the Ford-Jaguar merger, the Bristol-Myers-Squibb merger, the Time-Warner merger, and the AOL-Time-Warner merger; and two famed libel suits: defending Time Inc. against Israeli General Ariel Sharon, and also defending CBS against U.S. Army General William Westmoreland.
Unlike others, Cravath has remained relatively small. Its approximately 500 lawyers are located primarily in the New York Office, with just a few dozen in the London office, which opened in 1973. Cravath drew attention to its bankruptcy practice on November 10, 2010 by offering free representation in advance of a likely Chapter 9 filing for Harrisburg, PA.
Cravath was ranked #2 in the 2013 Vault law firm "overall rankings." The firm consistently ranks within the top 3 on numerous Vault.com specialty rankings, including Antitrust, Corporate, Litigation, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities and Tax. Chambers and Partners ranks Cravath in its top tier for Banking & Finance, Capital Markets (Debt & Equity), Corporate/M&A, Environmental, Media and Entertainment, Securities and General Commercial Litigation and Tax.
Entry to the firm is highly selective, generally open to only the most academically successful students from the most elite law schools in the United States and Canada.
The firm is known for focusing its hiring on associates straight from law school; lateral hires are rare at the associate level and new partners are almost never taken on. In 2005, Cravath hired Andrew W. Needham, formerly a tax partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, as the first lateral partner since Herbert L. Camp, also a tax partner, from the now-defunct Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine in 1987. Camp, however, had previously been a Cravath associate and is therefore not considered a true lateral because he started his career there. Before that, Roswell Magill, a former Treasury Department official, became a Cravath tax partner in 1943. In 2007, the firm brought in Richard Levin from Skadden, Arps to boost its new bankruptcy practice. In 2011, Cravath hired Christine A. Varney, a former U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division for the Obama Administration. In 2013, the firm hired David Kappos, who served as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Notable current and former employees
- Deborah Batts, judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
- Samuel Blatchford, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
- William O. Douglas, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
- Katherine B. Forrest, judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
- John Gleeson, judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
- Elizabeth S. Stong, bankruptcy judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York
- Carol Bellamy, Director of the Peace Corps; New York State Senator; President of New York City Council
- Richard C. Breeden, activist hedge fund manager and former United States Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman
- Valerie E. Caproni, Federal Bureau of Investigation General Counsel
- Kenneth W. Dam, Deputy Secretary of Treasury, 2001–2003; Deputy Secretary of State, 1982–1985
- Patricia M. Geoghegan, Acting Special Master for Troubled Asset Relief Program Executive Compensation
- Roswell Gilpatric, Deputy Secretary of Defense, 1961–1964; Chairman, Task Force on Nuclear Proliferation, 1964
- David Kappos, former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Roswell Magill, Treasury Department official
- Timothy G. Massad, Acting Head of the Office of Financial Stability
- John J. McCloy, former Assistant Secretary of War, former president of the World Bank, former adviser to several U.S. presidents
- Alfred McCormack, Director of Intelligence of the Military Intelligence Service and Special Assistant to the Secretary of State
- G. William Miller, Chair of the Federal Reserve 1978-1979; United States Secretary of the Treasury 1979-1981
- Basil O'Connor, head of the March of Dimes
- Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr., New York City Corporation Counsel
- William Seward, former U.S. Senator and Governor of New York, and U.S. Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson
- Christine A. Varney, former U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division for the Obama Administration and Federal Trade Commissioner for the Clinton Administration
- John W. White, former SEC Director of Corporation Finance
- Dick Zimmer, former Representative for New Jersey's 12th congressional district and 2008 candidate for U.S. Senate
- Robert A. Kindler, Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley
- Adebayo Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner of Global Infrastructure Partners
- Ellen Pao, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
- Kevin Buehler, Director at McKinsey & Company
- Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner
- Bruce Wasserstein, Chairman of Lazard
- Devin Wenig, CEO-designate of eBay
- Thomas D. Barr, litigator who represented IBM in a 13-year antitrust case
- David Boies, litigator who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore, founding partner of Boies, Schiller & Flexner
- Bruce Bromley, famous litigator in the 1950s and 1960s
- Lloyd Cutler, founding partner of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
- Robert D. Joffe, antitrust and corporate law expert, key figure behind the AOL-Time Warner merger
- John H. Pickering, founding partner of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
- John B. Quinn, founding partner of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
- Anita L. Allen, Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Vice Provost for Faculty and professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
- Aditi Bagchi, professor at Fordham University School of Law
- Jack Balkin, professor at Yale Law School
- Royce de rohan Barondes, professor at University of Missouri School of Law
- John S. Beckerman, Associate Dean at Rutgers Law School-Camden
- Thomas J. Brennan, professor at Northwestern University School of Law
- Lawrence A. Cunningham, professor at George Washington University Law School, editor of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America
- John C. Coffee, professor at Columbia Law School, securities law expert
- John L. Diamond, professor at University of California, Hastings, Torts law expert
- Gary Francione, animal rights theorist and professor at Rutgers Law School
- Wulf A. Kaal, professor at University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minneapolis)
- John Leitner, the youngest professor in the history of Seoul National University
- Charles A. Reich, former Yale Law School professor
- Dana Remus, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law
- Catherine Struve, professor at University of Pennsylvania Law School, reporter to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules
- Suja A. Thomas, professor at the University of Illinois
- William H. Widen, professor at the University of Miami School of Law, contracts law
Publishing and cinema
- Thomas Hauser, author
- Carrie Kei Heim, writer, attorney and former child actress
- Alan J. Hruska, writer, director, and producer in film, theater, and fiction 
- Gerald Posner, journalist
- James B. Stewart, journalist and author
- Chambers and Partners
- "American Lawyer Profile". Retrieved 2015-02-24.
- "Rankings & Review - 2015 Vault.com Inc.". Vault. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
- "American Lawyer Profitability".
- Vault.com Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP profile
- "The Am Law 100, Firms Ranked by Profits Per Partner". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
- Cravath Hires Tax Partner, Its First Lateral in Decades
- Cravath starts a bankruptcy practice
- Lattman, Peter (February 6, 2013). "Cravath Hires a 2nd Official From Obama Administration". New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
- Pace, Eric (1996-03-17). "Roswell L. Gilpatric, Lawyer and Kennedy Aide, Dies at 89". New York Times.
- "Where is Devin Wenig now?". Crains. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "Lawyer makes history as youngest SNU professor". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
- "Alan Hruska on Creating Content Without the Fear of Judgment". Backstage. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
- Swaine, Robert T. (2007) . The Cravath Firm and Its Predecessors: 1819-1947. Clark, NJ: Lawbook Exchange. ISBN 1-58477-713-3.
- Stewart, James. "A Law Firm Where Money Seemed Secondary". New York Times.