Latham & Watkins
|Limited liability partnership|
|Headquarters||None (first office was in Los Angeles, California)|
|William Voge, Chairman and Managing Partner|
|Products||Full legal services|
|Revenue||US$ 2.823 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|Approximately 2,200 attorneys|
Latham & Watkins LLP is an American law firm founded in 1934. As of 2017, it is the world’s highest-grossing law firm, with US$2.823 billion in annual revenue, and is widely considered one of the most prestigious law firms in the world.
Latham currently employs approximately 2,200 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, with nearly 400 lawyers. The firm claims it is the only fully integrated multinational law firm with no single 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.
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 the eighteenth largest law firm donor contributing to federal candidates during the 2016 election cycle, donating $1.08 million, 83.2% to Democrats. 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, and oil conglomerate Chevron Corp donated $4.78 million, 74.9% to Republicans. Since 1990, Latham & Watkins has contributed $7.21 million to federal campaigns.
Reputation and compensation
Latham was ranked as the #1 firm in the Am Law 100 rankings for 2017. 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. 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. Vault.com, named Latham one of the top ten most prestigious firms in the United States.
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. First-year associates are paid a salary of US$180,000, with additional merit-based bonuses bringing total compensation to approximately $195,000. Summer associates are paid the same salary as first-year associates, although their compensation 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.
- Bruce Babbitt – Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Bill Clinton and former governor of Arizona.
- 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.
- Abid Riaz Qureshi, nominee to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
- Kathryn Ruemmler, former White House Counsel
Offices & administration
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. Latham currently has over 2,200 attorneys located in 31 offices in 13 countries, covering 9 other regions.
- 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
- Ivan Gazidis - CEO at Arsenal FC.
- 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.
- 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.
- . Americanlawyer.com (2017-04-26). Retrieved on 2017-05-1.
- ILRG Largest 250 Law Firms in the US. Ilrg.com. Retrieved on 2016-08-21.
- "Administration". Retrieved 2016-08-21.
- Lat, David. "The 2017 Am Law 100: A Turning Point For Biglaw?".
- "US law firms beat their British peers on pay". June 17, 2015.
- "ILRG Largest 350 Law Firms in the US".
- "Find Our People". Retrieved 2016-08-21.
- 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 27 November 2016.
- "Latham & Watkins LLP - About Us - Awards & Rankings - Firm Receives Most Tier 1 Rankings in US Market".
- "Latham & Watkins LLP-Company Profile-Vault.com".
- "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.
- "Homeland Security -".
- "Latham Around the World". Retrieved 2016-08-21.