Cravath, Swaine & Moore

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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Headquarters Worldwide Plaza
New York City
No. of offices 2
No. of attorneys 433 [1]
Major practice areas General Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities and Banking, Litigation, Tax, Executive Compensation, Trusts and Estates
Key people C. Allen Parker
Evan R. Chesler
Revenue Increase US$ $614 million [2]
Date founded 1819
Founder Richard M. Blatchford [3] 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 ranks second among the most prestigious law firms in the United States.[4] [5]


The firm arose from two predecessor firms, led by Richard M. Blatchford in New York City, and William H. Seward in Auburn, New York, respectively.[6] In 1854, these firms merged to form the firm of Blatchford, Seward & Griswold. Named partner Samuel Blatchford had been appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1822 by President Chester Arthur, and served for 11 years until his death. Named partner Seward later served as both Governor and then Senator from New York. As Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln, Seward kept Britain and France from intervening during the Civil War by threatening war,[7] supported the 1865 passing of the Thirteenth Amendment, and in 1867, under Andrew Johnson, he negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in a transaction contemporaries derisively called "Seward's Folly." Paul Drennan Cravath, who joined the firm in 1899, developed and instituted the "Cravath System", which 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.[8]


Cravath was ranked #2 in the 2013 Vault law firm "overall rankings." The firm consistently ranks within the top 3 on numerous specialty rankings, including Antitrust, Corporate, Litigation, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities and Tax.[9] 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.[5]

In 2014, Cravath was ranked sixth in The American Lawyer's annual listing of highest profits per partner.[10][1]


The firm is known for focusing its hiring on associates straight from law school; lateral hires are rare at any level. In 2005, Cravath hired Andrew W. Needham, formerly a tax partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher,[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

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  1. ^ a b "Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP - Company Overview". Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  2. ^ "American Lawyer Profile". Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  3. ^ Charles Lanman (1876). Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States: During Its First Century. From Original and Official Sources. J. Anglim. pp. 38–. 
  4. ^ "Rankings & Review - 2015 Inc.". Vault. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  5. ^ a b Chambers and Partners
  6. ^ Robert T. Swaine (April 2012). The Cravath Firm and Its Predecessors, 1819-1947. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-1-58477-713-7. 
  7. ^ Michael Burlingame (September 14, 2012). "The Patriot-Statesman". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 6, 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP profile
  10. ^ "The Am Law 100, Firms Ranked by Profits Per Partner". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  11. ^ Cravath Hires Tax Partner, Its First Lateral in Decades
  12. ^ Cravath starts a bankruptcy practice
  13. ^ Lattman, Peter (February 6, 2013). "Cravath Hires a 2nd Official From Obama Administration". New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  14. ^ Hampton Lawrence Carson (1891). The Supreme Court of the United States: Its History. Supplement. J.Y. Huber Company. pp. 526–. 
  15. ^ Dictionary of American Biography. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1936. pp. 359–. 
  16. ^ Pace, Eric (1996-03-17). "Roswell L. Gilpatric, Lawyer and Kennedy Aide, Dies at 89". New York Times. 
  17. ^ "Where is Devin Wenig now?". Crains. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  18. ^ Victor Morawetz (1886). A Treatise on the Law of Private Corporations. Little, Brown. 
  19. ^ Morton J. Horwitz Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History Harvard Law School (16 July 1992). The Transformation of American Law, 1870-1960 : The Crisis of Legal Orthodoxy: The Crisis of Legal Orthodoxy. Oxford University Press. pp. 90–. ISBN 978-0-19-972908-1. 
  20. ^ "Lawyer makes history as youngest SNU professor". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  21. ^ "Alan Hruska on Creating Content Without the Fear of Judgment". Backstage. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 

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