Debevoise & Plimpton
|Debevoise & Plimpton|
|Headquarters||919 Third Avenue
New York City
|No. of offices||8 Total, 6 International|
|No. of attorneys||644 (2011)|
|Major practice areas||General practice|
|Key people||Michael W. Blair Presiding Partner|
|Revenue||$675.5 million (2011)|
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (formerly Debevoise, Plimpton, and McLean) is a prominent international law firm based in New York City. The firm is regarded as one of the most prestigious and selective in the nation, and ranks among the most successful firms globally. Founded in 1931 by Eli Whitney Debevoise and William Stevenson, Debevoise has been a long established leader in corporate litigation and large financial transactions. In recent years, its practice has taken on an increasingly international component. The firm currently employs approximately 650 lawyers in eight offices throughout the world.
Reputation and Rankings
Debevoise & Plimpton is consistently among the most profitable large law firms in the world on a per-partner and per-lawyer basis according to the American Lawyer’s annual AmLaw 100 Survey. The firm and its lawyers have also been recognized in various other surveys, including Vault.com’s 2011 review of the 20 Best Law Firms to Work For.
- Debevoise was ranked fifth in the 2011 A-List and the only firm included among the top seven in each of the nine years of the survey. In 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, Debevoise & Plimpton was named as America's Best Law Firm by the American Lawyer in its A-List rankings.
- For 2011, Debevoise & Plimpton was ranked #12 on The Vault’s Top 100 Most Prestigious Law Firm Rankings.
- Recognized in 54 categories, including 8 practice areas in the top band, in Chambers Global 2011: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business.
- Recognized in 49 categories, including 9 practice areas in the top band, in Chambers USA 2011: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.
- Recognized in 28 categories, including 8 practice areas in the top tier in The Legal 500 United States 2011.
- Ranked in the top 20 on various Avery Index rankings, including No. 20 Most Family Friendly Firms, No. 11 Happiest Associates, No. 16 Highest Paid Associates, No. 4 Most Dedicated to Pro Bono Work, and No. 5 on the Perfect Law Firm.
Debevoise & Plimpton is a sponsor of the Louvre Museum in Paris and a founding member of the Cercle Louvre Entreprises.
Debevoise & Plimpton is mentioned several times in the TV show The West Wing. In the show, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman's father was a partner at Debevoise. Additionally, an assistant attorney general in the show was a summer associate at Debevoise and a prospective White House counsel candidate was interviewing for a position as an associate at Debevoise.
Controversial Georgian businessman, Badri Patarkatsishvili spent six hours of his final day at the offices of Debevoise & Plimpton, meeting his lawyer Lord Goldsmith QC, shortly before being driven to Boris Berezovsky's office in Mayfair and then to his country mansion in Leatherhead, Surrey where he collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of 52.
Some of Debevoise's clients include: AIG, American Airlines, American Express, AXA, BNP Paribas, The Carlyle Group, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, The Coca-Cola Company, CNN, Delta Air Lines, Deutsche Bank, Gap, Goldman Sachs, Hasbro, International Paper, JPMorgan Chase, Kelso & Company, MetLife, National Football League, National Hockey League, NBC, The New York Times Company, Providence Equity Partners, Prudential Financial, Polyus Gold, Siemens, Shell Oil Company, Sony Corp., Universal Music Group, Verizon, Yahoo!.
- Provided American, English and German law advice to Air Liquide in a number of acquisitions in Germany totaling €2.68 billion.
- Represented Chrysler in 1980, serving as a lead counsel to get governamental financing.
- Represented Alibaba.com in sale of 40% stake to Yahoo for $1 billion.
- Represented American Airlines after the September 11 terrorist attacks
- Counseled The Hartford in a $1.95 billion capital offering of common stock and debt.
- Legal adviser to the Phelps Dodge mining corporation in its $25.9 billion merger with Freeport-McMoRan.
- Legal service provider to French company Pernod Ricard in its €5.6 billion purchase of the Absolut Vodka brand from the Government of Sweden's holding company, the V&S Group.
- Advised AIG in its agreement to sell its share of Nan Shan Life Insurance Company, Ltd. to a consortium for approximately $20.15 billion, the biggest deal in the history of the Taiwan financial sector.
Assistance to Guantanamo Prisoners
Attorneys from Debevoise & Plimpton worked on behalf of prisoners held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba. Jeff Lang, of Debevoise & Plimpton, was one of the first Guantanamo Bay attorneys to file an appeal in the Federal appeal court in Washington DC of prisoners' Combatant Status Review Tribunal proceedings. The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 included provision for prisoners to challenge whether the Tribunals' decisions complied with the Tribunal's mandate.
Charles "Cully" Stimson, then Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, stirred controversy when he went on record criticizing the patriotism of law firms that allowed employees to assist Guantanamo prisoners: "corporate CEOs seeing this should ask firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists."  Stimson's views were widely criticized. The Pentagon disavowed them and Stimson resigned shortly thereafter.
- New York (1931)
- Paris (1964)
- Washington, D.C. (1982)
- London (1989)
- Hong Kong (1994)
- Moscow (1997)
- Frankfurt (2001)
- Shanghai (2002)
- White shoe firms
- The Magic Circle
- Mary Jo White
- Peter Goldsmith, Baron Goldsmith, former Attorney General for England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and current head of European litigation practice at Debevoise & Plimpton.
- Michael Mukasey
- Edward Cochrane McLean
- "Debevoise 2011 results show increase in turnover to $675.5m". Retrieved 2012-02-28.
- Shayana Kadidal (May 16, 2007). "Getting Rid of Lawyers at Guantanamo: An Update". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- "The Pro Bono Tradition at Debevoise". Debevoise & Plimpton. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- Emma Schwartz (May 15, 2007). "The Latest Guantanamo Debate". Legal Times. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- Lewis, Neil (2007-01-13). "Official attacks top law firms over detainees". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-17.