Latham & Watkins

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Latham & Watkins LLP
Limited liability partnership
Industry Legal services
Founded 1934
Headquarters None (first office was in Los Angeles, California)
Key people
Rich Trobman, Chair and Managing Partner
Products Full legal services
Revenue Increase US$ 3.064 billion (2018)[1]
Number of employees
2,475 attorneys [2]
Website www.lw.com

Latham & Watkins LLP is an American law firm founded in 1934. As of 2018, it is the world’s second highest-grossing law firm, with US$3.064 billion in annual revenue, and is widely considered one of the most prestigious law firms in the world.[3][4][5]

Latham currently employs approximately 2,200 attorneys in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.[6][7] The firm was founded in Los Angeles and has extensive Californian roots, with Latham's largest office now in New York City, with nearly 400 lawyers.[8] The firm claims it is the only fully integrated multinational law firm with no single headquarters.[9] In 2007, Latham & Watkins became the first American law firm to attain more than $2 billion in yearly revenue, and in 2015, the firm surpassed the likes of DLA Piper, Baker & McKenzie and Skadden to become the highest-grossing law firm in the world for the first time.[10][11] Since then, Latham was the first law firm to report surpassing US$3 billion in gross revenue in 2018 but lost the spot as the world's top-grossing law firm that same year to Kirkland & Ellis.[12][13]

History[edit]

Dana Latham and Paul Watkins founded Latham & Watkins in January 1934 in Los Angeles, California. Latham's practice focused on US state and federal tax law and he eventually served as Commissioner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service under President Dwight Eisenhower. Watkins' practice focused primarily on labor. Although Latham & Watkins began with a focus on labor and tax law, the firm has grown into an international, full-service law practice with highly regarded practices in transactional, disputes and regulatory areas.[14]

When Latham & Watkins was founded, the firm consisted of three attorneys. The firm grew slowly, and, in 1960, there were 19 attorneys. The firm grew significantly in the 1960s, increasing the attorney headcount to 46 in 1970.[14]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Latham & Watkins utilized a system of internal committees to run the firm and allowed associates to participate in the majority of these committees. The Associates Committee was founded in 1971 and governs the career development of the firm's associates. The Associates Committee includes both associates and partners. Through this committee, Latham & Watkins includes associates in the promotion process. Associates are also involved in the Diversity Committee, Recruiting Committee, Pro Bono Committee and TACE (Training and Career Enhancement) Committee.[14]

Jack Walker became the firm's managing partner in 1988 and set out to grow the firm. Latham & Watkins expanded into San Francisco, London, Moscow, Hong Kong and New Jersey. Robert Dell took over as managing partner in 1994. Dell's tenure has been marked by the firm's international growth.[14] In 2009, the firm gained unpleasant notoriety in the midst of the global recession when they laid off 190 lawyers and 250 paralegal and support staff, representing twelve percent of the firm's total associates and ten percent of the support staff. [15] At a time when many firms were conducting layoffs, the term 'Lathamed' became legal slang for being 'laid off'.[16] Dell retired at the end of 2014, and was succeeded by William Voge, a long time project finance partner at the firm.

In 2018, chairman & firm managing partner William Voge announced that he would step down after engaging in a pattern of reckless behavior beginning with sexually explicit communications with a woman he had never met.[17] After the pair consensually exchanged explicit sexual text messages, the relationship spiraled into mutual accusations of harassment and intimidation, threats of legal action and unsuccessful attempts at a truce, spread out across scores of correspondence with Voge's attorney, his colleagues and friends, the woman's husband, and several others.[18] Voge's departure came in the midst of the Me Too movement; however, legal experts have been quick to point out that while distasteful, Voge's personal conduct was neither unlawful nor employment related.[19] Critics have emphasized that his actions serve more as a warning on how personal misbehavior can derail an attorney's career rather than a turning point for how BigLaw tackles sexual harassment.[20] Following the news, Latham announced that current vice-chairs Ora Fisher and Richard Trobman would take over as interim co-chairs of the firm.[21] On June 29, 2018, the firm announced that Rich Trobman was elected Chair and Managing Partner.[22]

Political contributions[edit]

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Latham & Watkins was the eighteenth largest law firm donor contributing to federal candidates during the 2016 election cycle, donating $1.08 million, 83.2% to Democrats.[23] By comparison, during that same period law firm Jones Day (second on the list and general counsel to the Donald Trump campaign) donated $2.38 million, 78.8% to Republicans,[23] and oil conglomerate Chevron Corp donated $4.78 million, 74.9% to Republicans.[24] Since 1990, Latham & Watkins has contributed $7.21 million to federal campaigns.[25]

Reputation and compensation[edit]

Latham was ranked as the #1 firm in the Am Law 100 rankings for 2017.[3] In 2015, the firm received 31 top ten rankings across a range of corporate and finance categories in The American Lawyer's 2015 rankings. The results included four #1 rankings in the areas of high-yield debt, IPOs and equity investments, with strong results in other practices, including M&A, project finance, bankruptcy and REITs.[26] Dubbed an "A-List All-Star" by The American Lawyer, the firm is one of three firms to appear on the A-List each year since its inception in 2003.[27] The A-List recognizes "the most well-rounded" law firms based on financial performance and firm culture. Latham garnered the most Tier 1 rankings in the US market, across its transactional, disputes and regulatory practices in The Legal 500 US 2014.[27] The Legal 500 US rankings are based on work achievements, depth and experience of the practice, and client and peer feedback.[26] Vault.com, named Latham one of the top ten most prestigious firms in the United States.[28]

Latham is also recognized as one of the highest-paying law firms in the world with profits per partner in the most recent year exceeding US$2.9 million.[29] First-year associates are paid a salary of US$190,000, with additional merit-based bonuses bringing total compensation to approximately $205,000. Summer associates are paid the same salary as first-year associates, although their compensation is prorated over ten weeks (amounting to US$3,958 per week).[30]

Notable clients and cases[edit]

Notable attorneys[edit]

Offices & administration[edit]

Latham's first office was in Los Angeles. The New York office is currently the largest. Latham is the only global law firm with no corporate headquarters, and no Latham office reports or is subordinate to another. Only personnel designated as "partners" have ownership interest or control of the firm. Those with the title of "officer" or "director" do not have authority to control the firm.[41] Latham currently has over 2,200 attorneys located in 31 offices in 13 countries, covering 9 other regions.[42][7]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2018/03/21/kirkland-overtakes-latham-as-worlds-biggest-firm-by-revenue/. Retrieved on 2017-05-1.
  2. ^ Rhodes, Adam (22 September 2017). "Global 20: Latham & Watkins". Law360. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  3. ^ a b Lat, David. "The 2017 Am Law 100: A Turning Point For Biglaw?". 
  4. ^ "US law firms beat their British peers on pay". June 17, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Kirkland Overtakes Latham as World's Biggest Firm by Revenue | The American Lawyer". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 2018-03-21. 
  6. ^ "ILRG Largest 350 Law Firms in the US". 
  7. ^ a b "Find Our People". Retrieved 2016-08-21. 
  8. ^ https://www.lw.com/offices/newyork
  9. ^ http://lw.com/upload/pubContent/_pdf/pub2219_1.pdf
  10. ^ Ashby Jones, "Latham & Watkins Breaks $2 Billion Revenue Barrier", Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2008.
  11. ^ Jones, Ashby (27 April 2015). "Latham & Watkins Tops the AmLaw 100 For the First Time". WSJ Law Blog. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  12. ^ "Kirkland Overtakes Latham as World's Biggest Firm by Revenue | The American Lawyer". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 2018-03-21. 
  13. ^ Rubino, Kathryn. "Behold: The First Firm To Crack $3 Billion In Revenue". Above the Law. Retrieved 2018-03-21. 
  14. ^ a b c d Latham.com, Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  15. ^ Haynes, V. Dion (28 February 2009). "Latham & Watkins Cuts 190 Lawyers". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 Feb 2009. 
  16. ^ Mystal, Elie (14 June 2010). "How Did Latham Become the Poster Child for Layoffs?". Above the Law. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  17. ^ Reisman, Sam (20 March 2018). "EXCLUSIVE: Behind The Downfall Of Latham's Chairman". Law360. Retrieved 20 March 2018. 
  18. ^ Reisman, Sam (21 March 2018). "Latham Chair's Road From 'Christian Reconciliation' To Ouster". Law360. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  19. ^ Rodriguez, Natalie (21 March 2018). "Why Latham's Sex Scandal Isn't BigLaw's #MeToo Moment". Law360. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  20. ^ Rodriguez, Natalie (21 March 2018). "Why Latham's Sex Scandal Isn't BigLaw's #MeToo Moment". Law360. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  21. ^ Reisman, Sam (20 March 2018). "EXCLUSIVE: Behind The Downfall Of Latham's Chairman". Law360. Retrieved 20 March 2018. 
  22. ^ "RICH TROBMAN ELECTED CHAIR AND MANAGING PARTNER OF LATHAM & WATKINS". Latham & Watkins. 29 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018. 
  23. ^ a b "Lawyers & Lobbyists: Top Contributors to Federal Candidates, Parties, and Outside Groups". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. 
  24. ^ "Energy/Natural Resources: Top Contributors to Federal Candidates, Parties, and Outside Groups". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  25. ^ "Organizations: Latham & Watkins". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  26. ^ a b "Latham & Watkins LLP - About Us - Awards & Rankings - Firm Receives Most Tier 1 Rankings in US Market". 
  27. ^ a b "Latham & Watkins LLP-Company Profile-Vault.com". 
  28. ^ "Vault.com|Vault Law 100". Retrieved 2016-07-25. 
  29. ^ "The Am Law 100: Growth Slows at Latham & Watkins". Retrieved 2016-07-25. 
  30. ^ "Latham Joins the Market for Associate Compensation". Retrieved 30 June 2018. 
  31. ^ "$4.84 billion acquisition". International Law Office. September 13, 2004. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Rise of Latham & Watkins" (PDF). Vol. 7, No. 1. M&A Journal. March 31, 2007. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  33. ^ "India Awards". Asia Law. December 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  34. ^ Reckard, Scott (November 8, 2006). "Scientology groups to pay back $3.5 million". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 24, 2008. 
  35. ^ Gray, Tyler (2008-03-31). "Anonymous on Trial? Scientology Steps Up Skirmish". Radar. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  36. ^ Lat, David (2008-04-01). "Latham & Watkins to Free Stress Tests?". Above the Law. Archived from the original on 2008-04-05. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  37. ^ Lee, Lisa; David Marcus; Amy Wu (2008-10-10). "Latham gilds Lilly's ImClone offer". The Deal. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  38. ^ "Yahoo-Maktoob.com acquisition". Mideast Legal Business Online. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  39. ^ Ingram, David (October 24, 2011). "A big gift for Bybee: Latham & Watkins gives judge $3.2 million worth of legal aid". The National Law Journal. 
  40. ^ "Homeland Security -". 
  41. ^ "Administration". Retrieved 2016-08-21. 
  42. ^ "Latham Around the World". Retrieved 2016-08-21. 

External links[edit]