Martin Lipton

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Martin Lipton
Martin Lipton, McGraw Hill lawyer, cropped.jpg
Lipton defending McGraw Hill from a hostile takeover in 1979
Born (1931-06-22) June 22, 1931 (age 91)
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania (BS)
New York University (LLB)
Susan Lytle
(m. 1982)

Martin Lipton (born June 22, 1931) is an American lawyer, a founding partner of the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz specializing in advising on mergers and acquisitions and matters affecting corporate policy and strategy. From 1958–1978 he taught courses on Federal Regulation of Securities and Corporation Law as a lecturer and adjunct professor of law at New York University School of Law.

Early years[edit]

Martin Lipton was born June 22, 1931 in Jersey City, New Jersey, to a family of Jewish background. He graduated from Jersey Preparatory School in 1948.[2] Lipton received his a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, originally planning on becoming an investment banker.[3] However, he eventually enrolled at New York University School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the New York University Law Review (1954–1955) and earned a LL.B. in 1955.[4] He also did further study under Adolf A. Berle at Columbia Law School.[5]

In 1956, Lipton clerked for Edward Weinfeld at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.[5] In the fall of 1958 he practiced law at Seligson, Morris & Neuburger, a ten-lawyer firm of Charles Seligson and J. Lincoln Morris, where he teamed with Leonard Rosen and George Katz, fellow NYU Law graduates.[5] Shortly thereafter Lipton began a 20-year period as a lecturer and adjunct professor teaching corporate law and securities regulation at NYU School of Law.[3] While at NYU Law School, Lipton joined Rosen and Katz, as well as Herbert Wachtell, to form Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in 1965.[6][7]

Later career[edit]

Lipton works as a partner of Wachtell Lipton representing and advising with respect to many of the largest merger transactions, change-of-control contests and boardroom crises of the past 40 years.[3] The firm was founded as a handshake among four friends and to this day does not have a written partnership agreement.[8] The current 84 partners share equally on a seniority basis.[9] Concurrently he has served as adjunct professor, alumni leader, trustee from 1972 to now and Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1988 to 1998 of NYU School of Law and from 1976 to now as trustee of NYU and Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1998 to now.[6] In October 2015, Lipton retired as Chairman when his term ended.[6]

In 1975, Lipton represented New York City in several financial transactions, including a temporary $2.5 billion U.S. Government loan, the rollover of the then short-term City debt held by banks and the placement of $500 million of City bonds with City pension funds, that resolved the two-year financial crisis and saved the City from bankruptcy.[8][10] Also, in 1975, as a trustee of the NYU School of Law, Lipton played a major role in saving NYU from its financial crisis by selling the Mueller Macaroni Company.[11]

In 1979, Lipton was asked to take a leave of absence from Wachtell Lipton and voluntarily serve as special counsel to the Energy Department, and then in 1980 to serve as the acting first general counsel of the Synthetic Fuels Corporation.[12][13]

In 1988, Lipton was elected Chair of the NYU School of Law Board of Trustees.[3] Also in 1998, Lipton was elected Chair of the NYU Board of Trustees and for the following two decades he worked first with President L. Jay Oliva and then starting in 2002 with John Sexton, who Lipton had appointed NYU President, to complete the work of making NYU the first global network university, with major campuses in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and Florence and schools in ten other cities, with at least one on every continent.[6][14][15] In addition in 2013 NYU completed the merger of Polytechnic University to create the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.[16]

Publications and works[edit]

In 1976, Lipton authored "Corporate Takeovers: Tender Offers and Freezeouts" (American Bar Association, National Institute on Corporate Takeovers).

In 1979 Lipton authored "Takeover Bids in the Target's Boardroom",[17] the seminal article advocating the right of a board of directors to take into account the interests of all the constituencies of the corporation, a position adopted by the Delaware Supreme Court in 1985, and in more than thirty other states by statute or judicial decision and in the Companies Act 2006 of Great Britain.

In 1982 Lipton created the Shareholder rights plan or poison pill, which has been described by Ronald Gilson of the Columbia and Stanford Law Schools as "the most important innovation in corporate law since Samuel Calvin Tate Dodd invented the trust for John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil in 1879."[18] In 1992 Lipton served on the Subcouncil on Corporate Governance and Financial Markets of the United States Competitiveness Policy Council which resulted in his co-authoring with his fellow member of the Subcouncil, Jay Lorsch of Harvard Business School, an article "A Modest Proposal for Improved Corporate Governance",[19] which became the template for much of the basic corporate governance principles that were adopted in the 1990s.

Boards, memberships and awards[edit]

Lipton has served as Chairman of Prep for Prep, Chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation, Chairman of the Lawyers Division of UJA-Federation, Trustee of Temple Emanu-El of New York, member of the Council of the American Law Institute, director of the Institute of Judicial Administration, trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, member of the International Advisory Council of the Guanghua School of Management of Peking University and member of the Corporate Governance Committee of the U.S. Commission on Competitiveness.[11][20][21][22] Lipton served as special counsel to the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee in connection with the Utah Winter Olympics, and Co-Chair, with former N.Y. Chief Judge Judith Kaye, of the N.Y. Chief Judge's Task Force on Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century.[23][24]

Lipton has received honors from organizations, including the Wharton School, New York University School of Law, New York University, the Legal Aid Society, and the NYU Langone Medical Center.[25][26] Since 1985 Lipton has been on each list of the National Law Journal of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.[27]

Lipton served as counsel to the New York Stock Exchange Committee on Market Structure, Governance and Ownership (1999–2000), as counsel to, and member of, its Committee on Corporate Accountability and Listing Standards Corporate Governance (2002) and as Chairman of its Legal Advisory Committee (2002–2004).[21] Lipton is a Member of the Executive Committee of the Partnership for New York City and served as its Co-Chair (2004–2006).[28]

He is a member of American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.[21][28]

Selected works[edit]

  • Lipton, Martin; Savitt, William (2007). "The Many Myths of Lucian Bebchuk". Virginia Law Review. 93 (3): 733–758.


  1. ^ Who's Who in American. Vol. 2 (53rd ed.). Marquis Who's Who. 1999. p. 2700. ISBN 0-8379-0193-6.
  2. ^ Anna Schneider-Mayerson (December 19, 2005). "Marty Lipton". The New York Observer.
  3. ^ a b c d Dan Slater (2013). "Partner for Life". NYU Law Magazine.
  4. ^ Steinberger, Erica H.; Lipton, Martin (1978). Takeovers and Freezeouts. Law Journal Press. ISBN 9781588520050. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Cole, Brett (2008). "Godfathers—Flom and Lipton". M&A Titans: The Pioneers Who Shaped Wall Street's Mergers and Acquisitions Industry. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-12689-9.
  6. ^ a b c d Geraldine Fabrikant (April 11, 2014). "The Power Broker of N.Y.U." The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Executive Profile: Martin Lipton". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Timothy Harper (September 2013). "A Boardroom Lawyer". Super Lawyers.
  9. ^ Roben Farzad (April 28, 2011). "Law Firms Trim Their Ranks to Boost Profits". Bloomberg Businessweek.
  10. ^ Tiffany Kary, Phil Milford and Linda Sandler (April 17, 2014). "Leonard M. Rosen, Wachtell Lipton Co-Founder, Dies at 83". Bloomberg News.
  11. ^ a b John Beckman (October 7, 1998). "NYU Trustees Names Martin Lipton As New Chair of Board". New York University.
  12. ^ "U.S. energy department rejects pipeline recommendation". Ottawa Citizen. February 13, 1980.
  13. ^ "Wharton Economic Summit". Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. February 1, 2006.
  14. ^ Newman, Roger K. (2009). The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law. Yale University Press. p. 342. ISBN 9780300113006. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  15. ^ Kelly Weill (April 14, 2014). "Martin Lipton To Step Down As Chairman Of Board Of Trustees". NYU Local.
  16. ^ Vincent M. Mallozzi (February 18, 2014). "In N.Y.U. Merger, One University and, for Now, Two Teams". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Lipton, Martin (1979). "Takeover Bids in the Target's Boardroom". Business Lawyer. 35: 101. ISSN 0007-6899.
  18. ^ Gilson, Ronald J. (2001). "Lipton and Rowe's Apologia for Delaware: A Short Reply". Columbia Law and Economics Working Paper No. 197; Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 229. SSRN 299412. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. ^ Lipton, Martin; Lorsch, Jay W. (1992). "A Modest Proposal for Improved Corporate Governance". Business Lawyer. 48: 59. ISSN 0007-6899.
  20. ^ "Executive Profile: Martin Lipton". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  21. ^ a b c "Martin Lipton". Chambers and Partners. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  22. ^ "A True Partnership". Leaders Magazine. October 2012.
  23. ^ Alan Abrahamson (May 16, 2000). "IOC Decides Gosper Did Nothing Wrong". Los Angeles Times.
  24. ^ "Task Force on Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century". Harvard University. July 20, 2012.
  25. ^ "Lipton, Jones, and Cosby Honored by Brennan Center". New York University. 2004.
  26. ^ "The Legal Aid Society's Annual Awards Dinner - Previous Honorees". Legal Aid Society. 2011.
  27. ^ "A Tough and Inventive Corporate Lawyer". Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania . Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  28. ^ a b Franco, Beatriz (2008). International Business Transactions with Brazil. Juris Publishing. ISBN 9781578232406. Retrieved June 3, 2014.

External links[edit]