Davis Polk & Wardwell

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Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk logo.gif
Headquarters 450 Lexington Avenue
New York City
No. of offices 10
No. of attorneys 916 (2015)[1]
Major practice areas Capital Markets, Corporate/M&A, Financial Services Regulation, Investment Management, Private Equity, Litigation, Insolvency/Restructuring, Antitrust, Credit and Tax, among others.[2]
Key people Thomas J. Reid Managing Partner
Revenue Increase $1.1 billion (2016)[3]
Date founded 1849
Company type LLP
Website https://www.davispolk.com

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, known as Davis Polk, is an international law firm, employing over 900 attorneys worldwide, with its headquarters in New York City. The firm represents many of the world's largest companies and financial institutions, and is best known for its corporate and litigation practices.[4][5] It is consistently ranked as one of the most prestigious law firms in the world and as one of New York's most powerful law firms.[6][7] The starting salary for first-year associates is $180,000.[8][9]


The firm traces its origins to Gunthrie, Bangs & Van Sinderen, founded in 1849 by Francis S. Bangs, an opponent of Tammany Hall.[10] The firm changed its name several times to account for new partners, using names such as Bangs, Stetson, Tracy, and McVeigh and Stetson, Jennings & Russell. Among other high-profile lawyers, Grover Cleveland served as a member of the firm during the interval between his two non-consecutive presidential terms.[11] Davis Polk was located at 15 Broad Street from around 1889 until 1959.

The firm takes its current name from three 20th century partners: John W. Davis, Frank Polk, and Allen Wardwell. Davis, a former U.S. Solicitor General and the 1924 Democratic presidential nominee, made 139 oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court, most infamously in Brown v. Board of Education, in which he represented South Carolina in defense of racial segregation. With Polk and Wardwell, Davis developed close ties between the firm and the J.P. Morgan companies, as well as the Guaranty Trust Company, the Associated Press, and International Paper.

In 1971, the firm promoted to its partnership at Davis Polk & Wardwell its first woman, Lydia Kess.[12]

The firm has represented numerous clients in the financial crisis of 2007–2008, with roles in the AIG, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and Citigroup matters.[13] It has also served as lead counsel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the U.S. Treasury’s $250 billion bank capital purchase program and the creation of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.[14] To bolster its financial regulatory practice, the firm recently hired three former Securities and Exchange Commission officials—Commissioner Annette Nazareth, Director of Enforcement Linda Chatman Thomsen, and Deputy Director of Trading and Markets Robert Colby—as well as former White House Staff Secretary Raul Yanes and former FDIC General Counsel John Douglas.[15] Among its partners are former FTC Commissioner Jonathan Leibowitz.[16]

Chambers Associate called Davis Polk the "Tiffany's of law firms".[5]

Davis Polk alumni in public service[edit]


Elected office[edit]

Law enforcement and financial regulation[edit]

Other government service[edit]

Other alumni[edit]


Media and entertainment[edit]



  • In 2012 and 2013, Davis Polk was named "Americas Law Firm of the Year" by the International Financial Law Review.[25]
  • In 2010, Davis Polk was ranked third in "Revenue per Lawyer" by the American Lawyer's top 100 National Firms.[26]
  • Individual Davis Polk insolvency & restructuring lawyers were named “Dealmaker of the Year” by The American Lawyer.
  • “Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyer” by Turnarounds & Workouts and “Lawyer of the Year” by Law Business Research’s Who’s Who Legal–International Who’s Who of Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers.[27]
  • Davis Polk ranked in the first tier among New York law firms in U.S. tax matters by Chambers USA, which commented that “with a ‘terrific team of excellent tax lawyers,’ the group successfully mixes M&A and finance, establishing itself as one of the premier law firms in New York, and indeed across the USA”.[28]
  • In October 2008, a Davis Polk team working with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund won a $4.6 million judgment[29] on behalf of immigrant workers who were being paid below the statutory minimum wage by their employer, a popular Manhattan restaurant.[30]
  • In March 2007, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) awarded Davis Polk its Heroes Honors 25th Anniversary Award for the corporate pro bono work the firm has done on the organization’s behalf.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.vault.com/company-profiles/law/davis-polk-wardwell/company-overview.aspx.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Davis Polk: Practices". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  3. ^ http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202755653526.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Law Firm Rankings: Vault Law 100". Vault.com. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  5. ^ a b "Firm Feature". Chambers Associate. Archived from the original on 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  6. ^ "Best companies to work for|Vault Law 100". Vault.com. Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  7. ^ "Best companies to work for|Best Law Firms in New York". Vault.com. Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  8. ^ "Guess Which Biglaw Leader Is Raising Salaries Now…". Above the Law. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  9. ^ "Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP |Company Profile|Vault.com". Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  10. ^ "Francis S. Bangs, Leading Lawyer, Dies". New York Times. March 3, 1920. 
  11. ^ Allan Nevins, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage, p.450.
  12. ^ Lat, David (2012-01-05). "Oy Vey! Milbank Mistakenly Touts ‘Only Orthodox Jewish Woman Partner’ in Biglaw". Above the Law. Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  13. ^ "Davis Polk: Making Bank « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News, Commentary, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law School, Law Suits, Judges and Courts". Abovethelaw.com. Archived from the original on 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 28, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  15. ^ Scannell, Kara (April 13, 2009). "Davis Polk Recruits Ex-SEC Aide". The Wall Street Journal. 
  16. ^ BRENDAN SASSO (May 11, 2015). "The 'Privacy Coalition' That Wants to Trim Data Regulations for Telecom Giants". Retrieved May 11, 2015. 
  17. ^ Peter Lattman, Davis Polk Lawyer Nominated for Federal Bench, New York Times, July 29, 2011
  18. ^ http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/nominations/113thCongressJudicialNominations/upload/Krause-Senate-Questionnaire-Final.pdf
  19. ^ Derek Jensen, Utah's Newest Senator - He's LDS, Liberal, and Rising Rapidly, Salt Lake Tribune, January 23, 2010
  20. ^ Ben Protess, Davis Polk Hires Former Antitrust Regulator, New York Times, August 18, 2011
  21. ^ Lawyers Who Mold the Shape of the CIty, New York TImes, February 25, 1996, https://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/25/realestate/lawyers-who-mold-the-shape-of-a-city.html
  22. ^ "CGI Leadership". Clintonglobalinitiative.org. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  23. ^ Francis L. Stetson, Lawyer, Dies at 74,' New York Times, December 6, 1920
  24. ^ "Crystal McKellar of Davis Polk & Wardwell". Davis Polk & Wardwell. Archived from the original on 2009-03-17. 
  25. ^ "Davis Polk Named "Americas Law Firm of the Year" by IFLR | News | Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP". Davispolk.com. 2012-03-30. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  26. ^ "The Am Law 100 2010 - Revenue Per Lawyer (RPL) Falls Again". Law.com. 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2012-10-09. 
  27. ^ Who’s Who Legal–International Who’s Who of Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers (2007).
  28. ^ Chambers USA (2007).
  29. ^ http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/files/saigon_grill_decision.pdf
  30. ^ Baxter, Brian (October 23, 2008). "Davis Polk Hands Big Tip to Saigon Grill Deliverymen". Law.Com(ALM/American Lawyer Magazine). Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Gay Men's Health Crisis to Commemorate 25 Years of Leadership in the Fight Against AIDS at GMHC Heroes Honors 25th Anniversary Dinner". PRNewswire. March 7, 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 

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