Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
|Headquarters||1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York City
|No. of offices||8|
|No. of attorneys||~850|
|Major practice areas||Antitrust, Bankruptcy & Corporate Reorganization, Communications & Technology, Corporate, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Entertainment, Environmental, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Personal Representation, Real Estate, Tax|
|Revenue||(Gross revenue) $934,500,000 (2014)|
|Date founded||Predecessor firm founded in 1875|
|Company type||limited liability partnership|
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (Paul, Weiss) is a law firm headquartered on Sixth Avenue in New York City. The firm practices corporate, personal representation, entertainment law and litigation practices, and won the honor of having the "litigation department of the year for 2006", according to The American Lawyer The firm is also noted for corporate work in mergers and acquisitions (especially in the private equity arena), capital markets regulation, investment funds formation, high-yield debt offerings, bankruptcy and corporate reorganization, employee benefits and executive compensation, finance, intellectual property, real estate and tax law. In addition to its headquarters in New York, Paul, Weiss maintains offices in Washington, D.C., Wilmington, Delaware, Toronto, London, Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong.
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Paul, Weiss traces its roots to a firm founded by Samuel Weiss, father of name partner Louis S. Weiss, in 1875, and to this day continues to represent descendants of the clients of Samuel Weiss. When Samuel Weiss died in 1910, his eldest son William Weiss joined with one of Samuel Weiss's associates Charles B. Cole and two others to continue his father's practice under the name of Goldsmith, Cohen, Cole & Weiss. In 1914, the firm moved to 61 Broadway, where it remained for the next 37 years. In 1925, Goldsmith having retired, the name of the firm became Cohen, Cole & Weiss. Two years later, William's younger brother Louis S. Weiss and his law partner John F. Wharton joined the firm, which became Cohen, Cole, Weiss & Wharton. The firm practiced under this name until June 1946, when former Treasury Department General Counsel Randolph E. Paul and onetime National War Labor Board Chairman Lloyd K. Garrison joined the firm, which became Paul, Weiss, Wharton & Garrison. In 1950, former U.S. District Judge Simon H. Rifkind joined the firm, which assumed its current name of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. In 1950, it was the first Wall Street firm to move to midtown. It was also the first major firm to admit a female partner, Carolyn Agger, the future wife of Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas and a black associate, William T. Coleman, Jr., future Secretary of Transportation. The firm opened a Chicago office in 1957 under the direction of Adlai Stevenson. The office closed in 1960, when each of the Chicago partners assumed positions in the Kennedy Administration. In 1967, former Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg joined the firm. He joined the ranks of such notables as Theodore Sorensen, Ramsey Clark and Morris Berthold Abram. The firm briefly took on Goldberg's name, though it was dropped when the former justice left the firm in 1971 to set up his own practice in Washington, D.C.. The firm was known for its defense litigation work and had strong ties to the powerful Democratic Party establishment. Paul Weiss litigators represented Spiro Agnew in his nolo contendere plea bargain after the Watergate scandal. Other notable litigation clients in the 1970s included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bruce Bromley, Curt Flood (in his unsuccessful lawsuit against Major League Baseball's reserve clause), and the white shoe firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore in a discrimination suit.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Paul Weiss was one of the top law firms contributing to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle, donating $1.23 million, 81% to Democrats. By comparison, during that same period Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld donated $2.56, 66% to Democrats, while oil conglomerate ExxonMobil donated $2.66 million, 88% to Republicans. Since 1990, Paul Weiss contributed $5.44 million to federal campaigns.
Principles of equality and diversity
On October 10, 2007, Paul, Weiss was included in a ranking of law firms by the national law student group Building a Better Legal Profession. The organization ranked firms by billable hours, demographic diversity, and pro bono participation. Paul, Weiss was noted as being in the top fifth of firms researched in number of Asian, female, and LGBT associates, and in all other categories it was rated in the 61st to 80th percentile except female partners (40th to 59th percentile) and Hispanic associates (21st to 40th percentile).
- Paul, Weiss represents detainees who have been held by the U.S. military at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. While in Guantanamo, a number of the detainees went on a hunger strike to protest alleged inhumane conditions. In response, prison authorities force-fed detainees using feeding tubes allegedly shoved through the detainees' noses and stomachs without anesthesia or sedatives. Paul, Weiss attorneys filed an emergency application demanding that the government immediately provide defense lawyers with information about the condition of the detainees. In a history-making ruling in October 2005, Judge Gladys Kessler of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the government to provide the detainees' lawyers with 24 hours' notice before initiating a force-feeding, and to provide lawyers with the detainees’ medical records a week before force-feeding. The U.S. military attempted to ban all Paul, Weiss attorneys from Guantanamo after the discovery that attorney and partner Julia Tarver Mason was alleged to have illegally used "legal mail" as cover to pass inflammatory newsletters to detainees, an allegation later proved untrue; the decision to ban the firm was rescinded after a period of court filings.
- Paul, Weiss issued the report in the Deflategate football inflation controversy in 2015.
- Paul, Weiss advised the casino operating unit of Caesars Entertainment in its bankruptcy proceedings, taking over the role from O'Melveny & Myers in 2011. It later became known that Apollo Global Management, a private equity sponsor of Caesars, was also a Paul Weiss client. Paul Weiss was found to have a conflict of interest in the matter, although an investigation found no actual harm to Caesars or its creditors.
- The American Lawyer. Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison Law Firm Profile Accessed January 9, 2015
- "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: Paul, Weiss et al". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- Amir Efrati, You Say You Want a Big-Law Revolution, Take II, "Wall Street Journal", October 10, 2007.
- Adam Liptak, In Students’ Eyes, Look-Alike Lawyers Don’t Make the Grade, New York Times, October 29, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/29/us/29bar.html?em&ex=1193889600&en=4b0cd84261ffe5b4&ei=5087%0A
- Thomas Adcock and Zusha Elinson, Student Group Grades Firms On Diversity, Pro Bono Work, "New York Law Journal," October 19, 2007, http://www.law.com/jsp/nylj/PubArticleNY.jsp?hubtype=BackPage&id=1192698212305
- Debra Burlingame; Thomas Joscelyn (March 15, 2010). "Gitmo's Indefensible Lawyers". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- Wells, Theodore V., Jr.; Karp, Brad S.; Reisner, Lorin L. (May 6, 2015). "Investigative report concerning footballs used during the AFC Championship game on January 18, 2015" (pdf). Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- Randles, Jonathan (March 16, 2016). "Paul Weiss Missed Caesars Conflict, Examiner Says". Law360.
- Anemona Hartocollis, The New York Times, Highest Court in New York Confronts Gay Marriage, June 1, 2006
- Mark Fass, New York Law Journal, N.Y. High Court Ends Same-Sex Marriage Fight, July 7, 2006
- Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison on LinkedIn
- "Inside the Minds: Leading Litigators" with a chapter by Martin Flumenbaum, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Co-Chair Litigation - "Keys to Success as a Litigator", ISBN 1587621592