Latham & Watkins
|Limited liability partnership|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|William Voge, Chairman and Managing Partner|
|Products||Full legal services|
|Revenue||US$ 2.6 billion (2014)|
Number of employees
|Approximately 2,000 Attorneys|
Latham & Watkins LLP, founded in 1934, is the world’s highest-grossing law firm, with US$2.6 billion in annual revenue, and is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious and profitable law firms in the world.
Latham currently employs approximately 2,000 attorneys in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm was founded in Los Angeles and has extensive Californian roots, with Latham's largest office now in New York City. The firm claims it is the only fully integrated multinational law firm with no one headquarters. 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. The firm has historically been one of the highest-paying law firms in the world.
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' practise 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.
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.
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.
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. Dell retired at the end of 2014, and was succeeded by William Voge, a long time project finance partner at the firm.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Latham & Watkins was one of the top law firms contributing to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle, donating $1.24 million, 71% to Democrats. By comparison, during that same period Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld donated $2.56 million, 66% to Democrats, while oil conglomerate ExxonMobil donated $2.66 million, 88% to Republicans. Since 1990, Latham & Watkins contributed $6.31 million to federal campaigns.
Reputation and Compensation
Latham was ranked as the #1 firm in the Am Law 100 rankings for 2015, and received 31 top ten rankings across a range of corporate and finance categories in The American Lawyer's 2015 rankings. The results include 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. 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. 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. The Legal 500 US rankings are based on work achievements, depth and experience of the practice, and client and peer feedback. According to Vault, Latham is within the top ten most prestigious law firms in the country.
Latham is one of the highest paying law firms in the world. Profits per partner are US$2.9 Million. First year associates are paid a salary of US$180,000 with merit based bonuses available. Summer associates are paid the same salary as first years, although it is prorated over ten weeks (amounting to US$3,470 per week).
Notable clients and cases
- Represented LucasFilm in its sale to Disney
- Represented Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. in its $4.84 billion sale to the Sony Corporation in cooperation with Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Comcast Corporation (September 2004).
- Advised Bayer AG in its successful 2006 €16.4 billion white knight takeover offer for Schering AG pharmaceuticals.
- Legal counsel to bookrunners and arrangers Deutsche Bank Securities Inc, Goldman Sachs International and Merrill Lynch International in $2 billion Rule 144A/Regulation S notes offer for ICICI Bank Ltd, through its Bahrain branch (October 2007). This transaction was shortlisted for the Asia Law India award in the category capital markets.
- Represented the Church of Scientology in the Reed Slatkin Ponzi scheme, and in 2008 letters signed by David J. Schindler on Latham & Watkins stationery were hand-delivered to Anonymous protesters identified by Scientology, demanding cessation of unspecified "illegal activities against the church".
- Represented Eli Lilly & Co. in its $6.5 billion acquisition of ImClone in October 2008, in which Eli Lilly prevailed in an abortive price war with Bristol-Myers Squibb, a rival pharmaceutical company that had been seeking control of ImClone, a leader in the field of oncology medicine.
- Advised Yahoo! Inc. in the definitive agreement to acquire Arabic language online portal Maktoob in August 2009. Financial terms were not disclosed ($ 164 million).
- Donated $3.2 million in legal services to Jay Bybee, a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, during an investigation into allegations of professional misconduct resulting from Bybee's work for the U.S. Justice Department under President George W. Bush.
- Sean Berkowitz – Federal prosecutor in the trials of Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.
- John Kirby – Intellectual property attorney, after whom Nintendo may have named its "Kirby" character after a series of high-profile cases.
- Gregory G. Garre – Former Solicitor General of the United States.
- Maureen Mahoney – Former Deputy Solicitor General in 1991, represented the University of Michigan before the U.S. Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger.
- Philip Perry, was Dept. of Homeland Security General Counsel, now a partner in the litigation department and chair of the Public Policy practice group. He is married to Elizabeth Cheney, attorney, diplomat and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
- Bruce Babbitt – Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Bill Clinton and former governor of Arizona.
Latham was originally founded in Los Angeles, though its New York office is its largest today. The executive committee members are spread around the world, with the firm's current chairman being based in San Francisco. The incoming chair-elect is based in London. No Latham office reports or is subordinate to another as it is the only global law firm with no headquarters. Latham currently has over 2,000 attorneys throughout its offices located around the world.
- Bruce Babbitt, former Governor of Arizona and U.S. Secretary of the Interior
- Michael Chertoff, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
- Christopher Cox, former United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair
- Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy and Chair, Center for a New American Security
- Mark S. Fowler, former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair
- Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. former Partner and Commissioner of Internal Revenue at the Internal Revenue Service
- David J. Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior
- Carla Anderson Hills, former U.S. Trade Representative and United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary
- Roderick M. Hills, former SEC Chair
- Reed Hundt, former FCC Chair
- Garth Lagerwey, general manager of Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC.
- Kathryn Ruemmler, White House Counsel
- DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA
- Arne Sorenson, CEO, Marriott International
- James J. White, Robert A. Sullivan Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School and author of a treatise on the Uniform Commercial Code (with Robert S. Summers)
- Lance Wickman – General counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Beth Wilkinson – Prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing case, former General Counsel of Fannie Mae.
- The American Lawyer Firm Profiles: Latham & Watkins. Americanlawyer.com (2012-01-01). Retrieved on 2013-12-23.
- ILRG Largest 250 Law Firms in the US. Ilrg.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-15.
- ILRG Listing of the 250 largest law firms
- lw.com .
- Ashby Jones, "Latham & Watkins Breaks $2 Billion Revenue Barrier", Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2008.
- Jones, Ashby (27 April 2015). "Latham & Watkins Tops the AmLaw 100 For the First Time". WSJ Law Blog. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- Latham.com, Retrieved May 19, 2010.
- "Lawyers & Lobbyists: Top Contributors to Federal Candidates, Parties, and Outside Groups". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics.
- "Energy/Natural Resources: Top Contributors to Federal Candidates, Parties, and Outside Groups". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- "Organizations: Latham & Watkins". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- "Vault.com|Vault Law 100". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
- "The Am Law 100: Growth Slows at Latham & Watkins". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
- "Latham & Watkins LLP|Company Profile|Vault.com". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
- "$4.84 billion acquisition". International Law Office. September 13, 2004. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
- "Rise of Latham & Watkins" (PDF). Vol. 7, No. 1. (M&A Journal). March 31, 2007. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
- "India Awards". Asia Law. December 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
- Reckard, Scott (November 8, 2006). "Scientology groups to pay back $3.5 million". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
- Gray, Tyler (2008-03-31). "Anonymous on Trial? Scientology Steps Up Skirmish". Radar. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- 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.
- Lee, Lisa; David Marcus; Amy Wu (2008-10-10). "Latham gilds Lilly's ImClone offer". The Deal. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- "Yahoo-Maktoob.com acquisition". Mideast Legal Business Online. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- 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.
- "Latham Around the World". Retrieved 2014-06-15.