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Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft

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Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
Headquarters200 Liberty Street, New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
No. of offices5
No. of attorneysApproximately 400[2]
Key peoplePatrick Quinn, managing partner[2]
Revenue$608.9 million (2021)[3]
Date founded1792; 232 years ago (1792)
FounderJohn Wells
Company typeLLP

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP (known as Cadwalader) is a white-shoe law firm, and is New York City's oldest law firm[4][5] and one of the oldest continuously operating legal practices in the United States.[6] Attorney John Wells founded the practice in 1792. Cadwalader's Lower Manhattan headquarters is one of five offices in three countries. In 2022, the firm had approximately 400 attorneys.[7]


New York City's oldest law firm,[4][5] Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is headquartered at 200 Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan.[1] The firm's managing partner, Patrick Quinn, oversees approximately 400 attorneys as of 2022.[2] It operates out of five offices across the United States and Europe. In addition to its Wall Street location, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has offices in Washington, D.C., Charlotte, London and Dublin.[8] In 2021, Cadwalader generated $608.9 million in revenue, with profits per partner of $4.38 million.[6]


The offices of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft at 200 Liberty Street in New York City

In 1792, attorney John Wells, a Princeton graduate who was one of approximately 80 lawyers in New York City at the time, founded the law firm that ultimately became known as Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.[9] The firm became a partnership called Wells & Strong[10] in 1818 when George Washington Strong joined Wells' practice.[9]

Wells' death in 1823[5] prompted Strong to bring in George Griffin as partner. Griffin then left in 1838 and George Washington Strong partnered with Marshall Bidwell.[11] George Washington Strong's son, George Templeton Strong, a lawyer and noted diarist, joined the firm in 1844. The firm became known as Strong, Bidwell & Strong.[12] The firm became Bidwell & Strong in 1855 after George Washington Strong's death.[11] Charles E. Strong, George Templeton Strong's cousin, became the firm's chief in the 1870s. During his tenure, he considered shuttering the firm and moving from law to banking.[9] In 1878, Strong partnered with John Lambert Cadwalader, who was assistant secretary of state during President Ulysses S. Grant's administration.[9]

Corporate law and civic responsibility[edit]

Cadwalader's global headquarters at 200 Liberty Street in New York City

George W. Wickersham, an antitrust lawyer, joined the firm in 1883[5] and made partner in 1887.[9] Wickersham was named U.S. Attorney General under President William Howard Taft.[9] Henry W. Taft, President Taft's brother, began working at Cadwalader in 1889.[5] He became partner in 1899 and served as special assistant to the U.S. Attorney General from 1905 to 1907.[13] The firm became known as Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in 1914.[9]

In the 1930s, Cadwalader was involved with the custody trial determining the guardianship of Gloria Vanderbilt.[9][14] Catherine Noyes Lee became Cadwalader's first female partner in 1942.[9]

Cadwalader expanded its footprint as the firm opened an office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1996,[8] established a London presence in 1997[15] and opened its first office in China, located in Beijing, in 2005.[16]

In the mid-1990s, a group of young partners formed what some at Cadwalader referred to as Project Rightsize, an effort from 1994 to 1995 to remove less productive partners.[17] The group shuttered Cadwalader's office in Palm Beach, Florida, and reduced a branch in Los Angeles, California. In all, 17 partners, nearly 20 percent, left the firm.[17] Critics said the move was driven by individuals' financial interests and two former partners successfully sued Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft for violating its partnership agreement.[17]

Following the September 11 attacks, Cadwalader assisted families of those killed,[18] including immigrant families.[19] A portion of the firm's post-9/11 work occurred when attorneys learned there was no central resource for families seeking benefits; as a result, Cadwalader lawyers put together the "Handbook of Public and Private Assistance Resources for the Victims and Families of the World Trade Center Attacks", which was released in November 2001.[18] The firm released an expanded version the following year.[18]

During the financial crisis of 2007–2008, Cadwalader reduced its number of lawyers by about 20 percent in 2008. A reporter for The Wall Street Journal suggested the move was meant to lower operating costs as demand for its services decreased. Then-Chairman W. Christopher White stated, "There was a bubble, we rode that bubble, it contracted, and we adjusted".[20] Also during the fiscal crisis, Cadwalader attorneys served as advisers for the U.S. Treasury as Chrysler and General Motors restructured.[21] Cadwalader expanded in China with a Hong Kong office in 2010.[22] In 2011, it opened offices in Houston[23] and Brussels.[24]

In 2013, James C. Woolery left JP Morgan Chase for Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. The next year, Woolery was selected to take over as the firm's new chairman starting in 2015.[25] In January 2015, when the chairman-elect was slated to take the chairman's post, the firm announced Woolery had left Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft to launch a hedge fund.[2] The firm eliminated the chairman position and Managing Partner Patrick Quinn began overseeing the firm.[2]

Areas of practice[edit]

Cadwalader's practices cover varying areas of law, including: antitrust, capital markets, corporate, energy and commodities, finance, financial restructuring, financial services, health care/not-for-profit, intellectual property, litigation, tax and private wealth, and white collar defense and investigations.[26] The firm has long-standing client relationships with premier financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, government entities, charitable and health care organizations, and private clients.[27] The firm also takes on pro bono assignments, providing attorneys for non-profit organizations, including those assisting women, children and immigrants.[28][29]

One of the firm's highest-profile pro bono clients was Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.[30] Cadwalader began representing the female education activist in 2012, while she was seventeen years old and still hospitalized by a Taliban shooting. The firm continued to represent her for two years, ultimately establishing the Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization advocating for women's access to education.[30]

Rankings and recognition[edit]

Law associates surveyed for the Vault 100 law firm rankings placed Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft at No. 56 on its 2022 list of most prestigious firms to work for.[31] Also in 2015, U.S. News & World Report named Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft "Law Firm of the Year" for derivatives and futures law.[32] Cadwalader was ranked No. 1 on the Commercial Mortgage Alert's top issuer counsel[33] and top underwriter counsel[34] tables for commercial mortgage-backed securities in 2015. Additionally, the firm has received recognition for its business culture[35] and diversity.[36][37]

In 2021, The American Lawyer ranked Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft No. 85 on the Am Law 100,[38] an annual ranking of U.S. firms by gross revenue.[39] The publication also classified Cadwalader as one of only twenty-four "Superrich Firms" in the United States, categorized as those generating at least $1 million in revenue per lawyer and $2 million in profits per partner.[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Al Barbarino (22 January 2014). "Law firm renews nearly 60,000 SF at Brookfield Place complex". Commercial Observer. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Beck, Susan (3 May 2015). "A challenging year at Cadwalader". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Cadwalader Saw Partner Profits Soar by 70% as Revenue Grew More Than 30% in 2021". Law.com. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b Bagli, Charles (5 October 2003). "Home Front: At home in Lower Manhattan for 211 years". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Noted New York law firm donates historical records". Yale Bulletin & Calendar. 29 September 2000. Archived from the original on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b Jackson, Dylan (21 January 2022). "Cadwalader Saw Partner Profits Soar by 70% as Revenue Grew More Than 30% in 2021". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  7. ^ "cadwalader.com".
  8. ^ a b Gordon, Michael; Rothacker, Rick (25 February 2015). "US Attorney Anne Tompkins heading to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Moody, Sid (27 September 1992). "Venerable law firm looks back 200 years". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  10. ^ Swain, Robert T. (2012). The Cravath Firm and Its Predecessors, 1819-1947, Volume 1. The Lawbook Exchange. p. 7. ISBN 9781584777137.
  11. ^ a b "George Washington Strong Legal Records". Syracuse University Libraries. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  12. ^ Linden, Glenn M. (1 January 2001). Voices from the Gathering Storn: The Coming of the American Civil War. Rowman & Littlefield. p. xxiii. ISBN 9780842029995.
  13. ^ "Obituary record of graduates of Yale University during the year 1945-1946" (PDF). 1 January 1947. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  14. ^ Barbara Goldsmith (2011). Little Gloria. Knopf. p. 650. ISBN 9780307800329. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  15. ^ "U.S. Law Firms in London Earn More Than U.K. Peers, Poll Finds". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  16. ^ Raymond, Nate (22 August 2008). "Cadwalader to lose Beijing managing partner". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  17. ^ a b c Barrett, Paul (17 August 1998). "Ousting partners for big profits, Cadwalader's new image sizzles". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  18. ^ a b c "Public service in a time of crisis: a report and retrospective on the legal community's response to the events of September 11, 2001". Fordham Urban Law Journal. 2003. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  19. ^ Navarro, Mireya (6 May 2002). "For illegal workers' kin, no paper trail and less 9/11 aid". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  20. ^ Jones, Ashby (6 August 2008). "Cadwalader's layoff strategy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  21. ^ De La Merced, Michael J. (25 July 2009). "2 lawyers on the G.M. case tell their story". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  22. ^ Zanki, Tom (9 January 2015). "Cadwalader Nabs 3 Partners From Latham's Hong Kong Office". Law360. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  23. ^ "Firms ramp up Houston energy practices". Houston Business Journal. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  24. ^ Lipman, Melissa (28 April 2011). "Cadwalader launches Brussels base with antitrust vet". Law360. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  25. ^ De La Merced, Michael J. (9 January 2014). "Cadwalader Picks Woolery as Next Chairman". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  26. ^ "Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP". Chambers & Partners. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  27. ^ "Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP Profile". The National Law Review. 2 January 2016. ISSN 2161-3362. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Kids in Need of Defense KIND welcomes founding executive director". Women's Health Weekly. 29 January 2009. Archived from the original on 22 February 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  29. ^ Bormann, Emily. "Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft's Women's Leadership Initiative Launches Housing Clinic in Partnership with The Legal Aid Society". Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  30. ^ a b "Cadwalader Hails Nobel Prize-Winning Pro Bono Client Malala Yousafzai". The American Lawyer. 24 October 2014.
  31. ^ "Vault Law 100". firsthand.co. Vault.com. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  32. ^ ""Law Firm of the Year" Awards". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  33. ^ "Top issuer counsel for US CMBS". Commercial Mortgage Alert. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  34. ^ "Top underwriter counsel for US CMBS". Commercial Mortgage Alert. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  35. ^ Triedman, Julie (29 May 2015). "Arnold & Porter, others make Best Firms For Families list". The Am Law Daily. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  36. ^ Maniace, Len (30 March 2015). "Diversity Initiative Honorees 2015: Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  37. ^ Randi Roberts (30 October 2014). "Recap: 12th Annual Difference Matters Magazine Awards Gala To Support Nontraditional Employment For Women Honors Top Corporate Allies For Diversity". Ask Miss A. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  38. ^ "Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft Law Firm Profile". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  39. ^ "Cadwalader". Law.com. 30 March 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  40. ^ Johnson, Chip (27 June 2015). "Am Law 100 Analysis: The Superrich Firms Pull Away". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 22 November 2015.

External links[edit]