Debevoise & Plimpton

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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton
Headquarters919 Third Avenue
New York City
United States
No. of offices9 Total
No. of attorneys631 (2017)[1]
Major practice areasArbitration & International Disputes, Capital Markets, Commercial Litigation, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy, Finance, Funds, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity, Restructuring, Tax, White Collar & Regulatory Defense[2]
Key peopleMichael W. Blair (Presiding Partner), Mary Jo White (Senior Chair)
RevenueIncrease $822 million (2017)[1]
Date founded1931
Company typeL.L.P.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (often shortened to Debevoise) is an international law firm based in New York City. Founded in 1931 by Harvard Law School alumnus Eli Whitney Debevoise and Oxford-trained William Stevenson, Debevoise specializes in strategic and private equity, M&A, insurance and financial services transactions, private funds, complex litigation, investigations and international arbitration.

Debevoise is consistently ranked as one of the most prestigious law firms in the world, one of New York's most powerful law firms[3] and has been described as very much the "Gentleman of the world of Big Law".[4]


Debevoise & Plimpton currently employs approximately 631 lawyers in nine offices throughout the world. The firm divides its practices into three major areas: Corporate, Litigation, and Tax. In recent years, the firm's practice has taken on an increasingly international component.

Debevoise is the only law firm in the world to have both a former US and UK Attorney-General simultaneously as partners (Michael Mukasey in the U.S. and Lord Goldsmith QC in the U.K.).[4]


Debevoise & Plimpton has a network of nine offices spanning three continents. This includes offices in New York City, Washington D.C., London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In 2016, Debevoise opened a new office in Tokyo.[5]

Reputation and rankings[edit]

Debevoise & Plimpton is consistently among the most profitable large law firms in the world on a per-partner and per-lawyer basis according to American Lawyer magazine's annual AmLaw 100 Survey. Debevoise placed No. 1 overall in The American Lawyer's "10-Year A-List," a ranking of the law firms who have earned the highest cumulative score on the A-List since its inception in 2003. The annual A-List ranks firms according to their performance in four categories: revenue per lawyer, pro bono service, associate satisfaction, and diversity.[6]

The firm has been regarded in branche-internal polls as one of the most prestigious firms to work for (in New York[7] and globally[8]), and ranks among the most elite[9] and successful firms globally.[10]

The firm and its lawyers have also been recognized in various other surveys, including’s 2011 review of the 20 Best Law Firms to Work For.


  • 1931: Debevoise and Stevenson from Davis Polk & Wardwell form partnership
  • 1933: Francis T. P. Plimpton joins to form Debevoise, Stevenson & Plimpton
  • 1936: Robert G. Page joins to form Debevoise, Stevenson, Plimpton & Page
  • 1943: Firm merges with Hatch, McLean, Root & Hinch
  • 1947: Firm renames as Debevoise, Plimpton & McLean
  • 1949: Firm loses Hiss Case
  • 1964: Firm opens in Paris
  • 1976: Barbara Robinson becomes first female partner
  • 1980: Firm advises on Chrysler debt restructuring
  • 1981: Firm renames as Debevoise & Plimpton for 50th anniversary
  • 1982: Firm opens in Washington
  • 1989: Firm opens in London[12]
  • 1994: Firm opens in Hong Kong
  • 1997: Firm opens in Moscow[13]
  • 2001: Firm opens in Frankfurt[14]
  • 2002: Firm opens in Shanghai[15]
  • 2007: Former Attorney General of the United Kingdom Lord Peter Goldsmith QC joins the firm's London office as a partner
  • 2009: Former Attorney General of the United States Michael Mukasey joins the firm's New York office as a partner
  • 2016: Firm opens in Tokyo[16]
  • 2017: Former Chair of the United State's Securities and Exchange Commission and United State's Attorney for the Southern District of New York Mary Jo White rejoins the firm's New York office as a partner and senior chair

Assistance to Guantanamo prisoners[edit]

Attorneys from Debevoise & Plimpton worked on behalf of prisoners held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.[17][18][19] 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."[20] Stimson's views were widely criticized. The Pentagon disavowed them, and Stimson resigned shortly thereafter.


  • Activision Blizzard in its $5.9 billion acquisition of King.
  • Anbang Insurance Group in its $1.57 billion acquisition of Fidelity & Guaranty Life.
  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in its $12 billion acquisition of GE Capital’s sponsor lending business, including Antares Capital, the leading lender to middle market private equity sponsors in the United States.
  • The Dolan family, controlling stockholders of Cablevision Systems Corporation, in Cablevision’s $17.7 billion sale to Altice.
  • Evercore Group as financial advisor to EMC Corporation in its $67 billion sale to Dell, and as financial advisor to DuPont in its $130 billion merger with the Dow Chemical Company.
  • Exor S.p.A. as insurance M&A counsel in its contested $6.9 billion acquisition of PartnerRe, a Bermuda-based reinsurance company.
  • Guggenheim Securities, Centerview Partners and Goldman Sachs as financial advisors to Pfizer in its $160 billion acquisition of Allergan.
  • Hussmann, a Clayton, Dubilier & Rice portfolio company, in its $1.5 billion sale to Panasonic.
  • Lannett in its acquisition for $1.23 billion in cash, plus additional contingent consideration, of Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals, the U.S. specialty generic pharmaceuticals subsidiary of global biopharmaceuticals company UCB.
  • P2 Capital, with Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, in its $1.6 billion sale of Interline Brands to Home Depot.
  • PharMEDium, a Clayton, Dubilier & Rice portfolio company and the leading national provider of outsourced compounded sterile preparations to acute care hospitals in the United States, in its $2.6 billion sale to AmerisourceBergen.
  • StanCorp Financial Group in its $5 billion sale to Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company.
  • Westfield Corporation in its $1.1 billion divestiture of five shopping centers in the United States to an investor group led by Centennial Real Estate Company of Dallas, Texas.

Defending Take-Two[edit]

Debevoise & Plimpton has the lead role in defending Take-Two Interactive Software against a lawsuit filed by actress Lindsay Lohan. In the lawsuit Lohan claims that Take-Two Interactive Software is in breach of her image rights after it based a character in Grand Theft Auto V without her consent. Claiming unspecified damages on privacy grounds, citing an "unequivocal" similarity between herself and the game's character "Lacey Jonas", alleging that her voice and items from her clothing label were lifted by the Take-Two Interactive.[21] In response Take-Two Interactive has accused Lohan of suing in order to gain publicity, and characterizes her claim as "legally meritless."[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Meghan Tribe (February 26, 2018). "Debevoise Hits Record High Revenue, Profits Per Partner". The American Lawyer.
  2. ^ "Practices - Debevoise & Plimpton".
  3. ^ "Debevoise & Plimpton LLP|Company Profile|". Vault. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "Debevoise Opens in Tokyo". Debevoise. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "London". Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Debevoise Plimpton History". Funding Universe. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Frankfurt". Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Frankfurt". Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Frankfurt". Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  17. ^ Shayana Kadidal (May 16, 2007). "Getting Rid of Lawyers at Guantanamo: An Update". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
  18. ^ "The Pro Bono Tradition at Debevoise". Debevoise & Plimpton. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
  19. ^ Emma Schwartz (May 15, 2007). "The Latest Guantanamo Debate". Legal Times. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
  20. ^ Lewis, Neil (2007-01-13). "Official attacks top law firms over detainees". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  21. ^ a b Cash, Justin. "Debevoise takes on Lindsay Lohan in Grand Theft Auto court battle". Legal Week. Incisive Financial Publishing. Retrieved 16 September 2014.

Further reading[edit]

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