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Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel

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Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
HeadquartersNew York City
No. of offices3
No. of attorneysabout 325
Major practice areasGeneral practice
Key peopleMarvin E. Frankel
Ezra G. Levin
Gary P. Naftalis
Eugene Nickerson
Revenue$387 million
Date founded1968 (New York City)
FounderArthur Kramer
Louis Lowenstein
Maurice Nessen
Sherwin Kamin

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP (known as Kramer Levin) is an American law firm headquartered in New York City with branch offices in Silicon Valley, California; Washington, D.C.; and Paris, France.[1] The firm has 324 lawyers.



The firm was founded in New York City in 1968, as Kramer, Lowenstein, Nessen & Kamin.[2] Founding members include Arthur Kramer, Louis Lowenstein, Maurice Nessen, and Sherwin Kamin.[3] When Eugene Nickerson, a descendant of President John Adams, joined the firm, its name changed to Nickerson, Kramer, Lowenstein, Nessen & Kamin.[4]

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 leaving to join the faculty of Columbia Law School; Gary P. Naftalis and Ezra G. Levin becoming name partners; and Marvin E. Frankel, a former Southern District of New York judge, joining the firm.[4]

From 2000–2007, Kramer Levin was the exclusive U.S. referral firm to U.K. firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), meaning BLP would exclusively refer its clients to Kramer Levin for U.S. cases. The alliance was then changed to "preferred firm" status, meaning that the two firms would still collaborate but without exclusive referrals.[citation needed] There was speculation that the referral relationship was intended to become a merger.[5]

In April 2012, anti-Muslim author Robert Spencer was scheduled to speak at the Kramer Levin offices 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).[6]



Kramer Levin has an office in Paris, France, which it acquired in 1999 from the legacy U.S. 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.[7] In September 2011, Kramer Levin opened its Silicon Valley office in Menlo Park, California, expanding its intellectual property practice.[8]

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.[7] While the firm has offices in Paris and Silicon Valley, 95% of its attorneys are based in New York.[9] In 2019, first-year associates of the firm were scheduled for $205,000 annual base compensation, before bonus.[10]

Practice areas


In 2021, the firm had 324 lawyers.[11] Many of the firm's attorneys have served as directors of nonprofit legal service providers, such as the Legal Aid Society, as well as other community-based nonprofits.[citation needed] The firm's areas of practice include: corporate law, white-collar defense, land use, and intellectual property.[12]

The firm has a pro bono program.[7] The firm served with Lambda Legal as co-counsel to petition 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.[citation needed]

In 2013, in response to a suggestion by special counsel Brendan Schulman, Kramer Levin began to practice drone law.[13] One of the first clients of the firm's unmanned aircraft systems practice was Raphael Pirker, who was fined $10,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for allegedly flying his drone too low and too close to people while making an aerial video.[14][13] In April 2014, Kramer Levin represented Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team, which uses camera-bearing drones to find missing people, in a challenge against a FAA directive prohibiting their use of drones.[15]

In 2013, Kramer Levin hired John P. "Sean" Coffey to run its complex litigation group. Coffey had attracted the firm's attention with his "aggressive" defense of Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre in a Manhattan case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.[16][17]

In 2014, Kramer Levin announced that it had expanded its intellectual property group by hiring Christine Willgoos as special counsel.[citation needed] In 2011, the firm had about 60 attorneys working in intellectual property.[8]

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.[18]



Gross revenue of $390,000,000 in 2020 placed the firm at 98th on The American Lawyer's 2021 Am Law 200 ranking. The publication also ranked Kramer Levin as the 131st highest-grossing law firm in the world on its 2021 Global 200 survey. The 2021 National Law Journal NLJ 500 also ranked the firm 134th in the U.S., based on size.[11]


  1. ^ "About Us".
  2. ^ Arthur B. Kramer, Lawyer and Brother of Playwright Larry Kramer, Dies at 81
  3. ^ "Early Years and Founders". Kramer Levin. Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  4. ^ a b "Early Years and Founders". Kramer Levin. Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  5. ^ "Chambers Associate". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  6. ^ "Good News: NY Law Firm Drops Anti-Islam Speaker Robert Spencer – CAIR – Council on American-Islamic Relations". 30 March 2012. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  7. ^ a b c "KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL LLP". Chambers Associate. Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  8. ^ a b Segall, Eli. "Kramer Levin opens Silicon Valley law office". Silicon Valley Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  9. ^ "Offices". Kramer Levin. Retrieved 2022-12-11.
  10. ^ Vault Salary Listing
  11. ^ a b "Kramer Levin" Law.com, ALM Global. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  12. ^ "Firm Profile - Chambers Associate". 2012-03-14. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2023-03-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ a b Rosen, Ellan (26 December 2013). "Kramer Levin Adds Group on Drone Issues: Business of Law". Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  14. ^ Weiss, Debra. "Kramer Levin forms drone practice group; one client is accused of flying model plane too low". abajournal.com. American Bar Association. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  15. ^ Beckett, Samantha. "When What Goes Up Can't Come Down: Who Pays For Climbing Misadventures?". Above The Law. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  16. ^ Alden, William. "Coffey to Join Kramer Levin in a Return to Law Practice". New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  17. ^ Smith, Jennifer (14 November 2013). "New York Trial Lawyer Sean Coffey To Join Kramer Levin". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  18. ^ Salinger, Tobias (October 2014). "Former BSA Director Joins Kramer Levin". Observer.com. Retrieved 29 December 2014.