Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel

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Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
Kramer Levin Logo.jpg
HeadquartersNew York City
No. of offices3
No. of attorneysabout 375
Major practice areasGeneral practice
Revenue$387 million
Date founded1968 (New York City)
FounderArthur Kramer

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, (known as Kramer Levin), is a law firm with offices in New York City, Silicon Valley and Paris. The firm is headquartered in New York City, where it has its largest office. With more than 375 lawyers in 60-plus practice areas, its clients range from Fortune 100 companies to family offices. [1] The firm prides itself in its culture of extensive involvement in public and community service, with many of its attorneys having served as directors of leading nonprofit legal service providers, such as the Legal Aid Society, as well as other community-based nonprofits. [2]


The firm was founded in New York City in 1968, as Kramer, Lowenstein, Nessen & Kamin.[3] Founding members include Arthur Kramer, Louis Lowenstein, Maurice Nessen, and Sherwin Kamin.[citation needed]

When Eugene Nickerson, a descendant of President John Adams, joined the firm, its name changed to Nickerson, Kramer, Lowenstein, Nessen & Kamin. The firm's current name, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, resulted from personnel changes over a number of years, including Nickerson leaving to join the federal bench of the Eastern District of New York; Lou Lowenstein joining the faculty of Columbia Law School; Gary P. Naftalis and Ezra G. Levin becoming a name partner; and Marvin E. Frankel, a former Southern District of New York judge, joining the Firm.[4]

Each department at Kramer Levin, according to a study of the firm by Chambers Associates, has an assigning partner. There is "no formal rotation through the different sub-practices," meaning that lawyers at the firm can choose their direction. The juniors that Chambers spoke to had opportunities to work directly for partners.[5] It has offices in Paris and Silicon Valley, but 95% of its attorneys are based in New York.[citation needed]


In 2019, first-year associates of the firm were scheduled for $205,000 annual base compensation, before bonus.[6]


Kramer Levin has an office in Paris, France, which it acquired in 1999 from the legacy US firm Rogers & Wells which did not want to merge with the rest of the firm to London-based Clifford Chance. The firm maintains relationships with other firms throughout the world. There are 35 lawyers at the Paris office, which focuses on finance and corporate law.[5] In September 2011, Kramer Levin opened its Silicon Valley office in Menlo Park, California, expanding on its intellectual property practice.[7]

BLP association[edit]

Kramer Levin was the exclusive US referral firm to UK firm Berwin Leighton Paisner from 2000–2007, when the alliance was changed to "preferred firm" status[8] meaning that the two firms would still collaborate but without exclusive referrals. The association had been intended as the prelude to a full merger, but ended because of dissatisfaction on the part of BLP.

Practice areas[edit]

As of 2011, the firm had nearly 375 lawyers, with 20+ practices including in the areas of white-collar defense, securities litigation, corporate, real estate and land use, intellectual property, Lanham Act litigation, business immigration, employment law, financial services, tax, trust and estates, and bankruptcy.[citation needed]

In 2014, Kramer Levin hired Jeffrey Mulligan, former executive director of New York City's Board of Standards and Appeals and a former official of the Department of City Planning, as a planning and development specialist in the firm's Land Use practice.[9]

  • Intellectual Property Group — Kramer Levin announced in 2014 that it had expanded its Intellectual Property Group by hiring Christine Willgoos as special counsel. The firm has "nearly 60 attorneys" working in Intellectual Property.[7]
  • Drone Group — In 2013, in response to a suggestion by special counsel Brendan Schulman, Kramer Levin became the first law firm with a drone practice.[12] One of the first clients of the firm's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Practice Group was Raphael Pirker, who had been fined $10,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration for allegedly flying his drone too low and too close to people while making an aerial video. In April 2014, the Group represented Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team, which uses camera-bearing drones to find missing people, in a challenge in the Washington, D.C., circuit to a Federal Aviation Administration directive prohibiting this use of drones.[12][13][14]
  • Pro Bono — The firm has a pro bono program, co-chaired by James Grayer and Eric Tirschwell.[citation needed] The firm challenged New York State's Domestic Relations law and served with Lambda Legal as co-counsel petitioning the New York Court of Appeals to recognize the rights of same-sex couples to marry. This legal challenge was not successful. In 2010 the firm represented a lesbian high-school student who was denied the right to attend her prom with her girlfriend, wearing a tuxedo.[5]


The Best Lawyers website listed over 70 Kramer Levin lawyers as being among the best in their categories.[15]

In 2013, Chambers USA placed Kramer Levin in its highest category, Band 1, for its Advertising (Nationwide), Bankruptcy/Restructuring (New York), and Immigration (New York) practices, in Band 2 for Litigation (New York) and Real Estate (New York), and Band 4 for Capital Markets (Nationwide), Corporate/M&A (New York), Investment Funds (Nationwide), and Tax (New York).[5]

U.S. News and World Report ranked the firm's national office in Tier 1 nationally in Advertising Law, Banking and Finance Law, and 14 other categories, Tier 2 in eight categories, and Tier 3 in two. The New York office was ranked in Tier 1 in 22 categories, Tier 2 in five categories, and Tier 3 in 2 categories.[15]

In the website's ratings for 2015, Kramer Levin was named #84 in the Vault Law 100. It was #10 on Vault's list of Best Law Firms for Real Estate Law, #13 on Best Law Firms for Bankruptcy, and #14 on Best Law Firms for White Collar Defense and Internal Investigations.[16]

Spencer event[edit]

Author Robert Spencer was scheduled to speak in April 2012 at the offices of Kramer Levin about his book Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry Into Islam's Obscure Origins, but the firm canceled the event in response to pressure by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).[17]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [://]
  3. ^ Arthur B. Kramer, Lawyer and Brother of Playwright Larry Kramer, Dies at 81
  4. ^ "Early Years and Founders". Kramer Levin. Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  5. ^ a b c d "KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL LLP". Chambers Associate. Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  6. ^ Vault Salary Listing
  7. ^ a b Segall, Eli. "Kramer Levin opens Silicon Valley law office". Silicon Valley Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Chambers Associate". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  9. ^ Salinger, Tobias. "Former BSA Director Joins Kramer Levin". Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  10. ^ Alden, William. "Coffey to Join Kramer Levin in a Return to Law Practice". New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  11. ^ Smith, Jennifer. "New York Trial Lawyer Sean Coffey To Join Kramer Levin". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  12. ^ a b Rosen, Ellan. "Kramer Levin Adds Group on Drone Issues: Business of Law". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  13. ^ Beckett, Samantha. "When What Goes Up Can't Come Down: Who Pays For Climbing Misadventures?". Above The Law. Above The Law. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  14. ^ Weiss, Debra. "Kramer Levin forms drone practice group; one client is accused of flying model plane too low". American Bar Association. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  16. ^ Dalton, Brian (2007). Vault Guide to the Top New York Law Firms (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Valut Inc. p. 190. ISBN 978-1-58131-500-4. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Good News: NY Law Firm Drops Anti-Islam Speaker Robert Spencer – CAIR – Council on American-Islamic Relations". Retrieved 2020-12-21.

External links[edit]