Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Headquarters1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, New York, United States
No. of offices9
No. of attorneys1,020[1]
Major practice areasLitigation, corporate law
Key peopleBrad S. Karp, chairman
Revenue(gross revenue) $1,543,730,000 (2020)[1]
Date foundedPredecessor firm founded in April 1875
Company typeLimited liability partnership

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (often simply known as Paul, Weiss) is an American multinational law firm headquartered on Sixth Avenue in New York City. The firm maintains an all-equity partnership, with approximately 150 partners.[2]


Paul, Weiss's core practice areas are in litigation and corporate law.[3] In addition to its headquarters in New York, the firm has offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Wilmington, Delaware, Toronto, London, Tokyo, Beijing, and Hong Kong.

1875 – 1949[edit]

The firm that eventually became Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison was started in New York in 1875 by Samuel William Weiss and Julius Frank as a general commercial practice.[4][5] In 1923, Samuel's son, Louis Weiss, started his own firm with John F. Wharton.[4] That firm later merged with Samuel's firm, and the new firm became Cohen, Cole, Weiss & Wharton.[5] In the 1930s, the firm represented one of the Scottsboro boys.[4] In 1946, Lloyd K. Garrison[6] and Randolph Paul joined the firm,[7] bringing the firm up to thirteen lawyers.[5] The name changed to Paul, Weiss, Wharton & Garrison.[4]

In 1946, Paul, Weiss became the first major New York law firm to have a female partner, Carolyn Agger.[8][5] Agger worked in the firm's Washington office, which was established the year she was hired.[5]

William Thaddeus Coleman Jr. was the first black lawyer hired at the firm. When he was hired in 1949, it was the first time ever that a major New York City law firm hired a person of color as an associate.[9][10]

1950 – 2000[edit]

In 1950, Simon Rifkind joined the firm and it became Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.[4] At the time, the firm had 12 partners, only one of whom did trial work;[4] Rifkind wanted to change that and started to grow the firm's litigation department.[5] Then, in 1957, Arthur Liman joined the firm.[11] He later served as chief counsel in the Senate investigation of the Iran-Contra affair in 1987.[12]

Pauli Murray, a civil rights and gender equality activist, was an associate at Paul, Weiss from 1956 to 1960.[13] In 1966, Rifkind recruited Theodore Sorensen who became the firm's first international lawyer.[5][14] He drafted a constitution for Tajikistan in 1993 when the nation emerged from the former Soviet Union.[15][5]

Jeh Johnson, a lawyer and the fourth director and secretary of Homeland Security, was hired by Paul, Weiss in 1994 as the firm's first African-American partner.[16] After he stepped down from Homeland Security in 2017 he rejoined the firm's litigation department.[16]

2001 – present[edit]

On October 10, 2007, Paul, Weiss was included in a ranking of Manhattan law firms by the national law student group Building a Better Legal Profession.[17][18] The organization ranked firms by billable hours, demographic diversity, and pro bono participation. For diversity among partner attorneys, the firm was ranked in the 61st to 80th percentile for Black, Hispanic, Asian, and LGBT categories. Paul, Weiss was also ranked number 52 out of the 74 firms evaluated, for opportunities for advancement for female attorneys.[19][17] In 2019, the nonprofit group Lawyers of Color reported that Paul, Weiss had the highest percentage of black lawyers of the 400 firms it ranked.[20] In 2020, women comprised 26% of Paul, Weiss' partnership, all equity partners.[21] This is slightly higher than the average for law firms (23.6% as reported by the National Association for Law Placement).[21]

In 2018, the firm was criticized when it released a photograph on its LinkedIn of recently promoted partners, all of whom were white.[22] The photograph also included only one woman.[23] Although Paul, Weiss had a reputation for being more diverse than other elite big-law firms, the announcement drew criticisms that even "diverse" big-law firms still partook in racist and sexist methods of employment and promotion. The photograph served as a "lightning rod" for the growing frustration that elite law careers are still largely reserved for white men.[24]

Loretta Lynch, the first black woman to serve as United States attorney general, joined Paul, Weiss in 2019 as a litigation partner.[20]

In 2020, Paul, Weiss said it wanted to unite law firms and public-interest organizations across the U.S. in a pro-bono effort to root out racism.[25] Attorney Jeh Johnson of Paul, Weiss was assigned to serve as New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore's Special Advisor on Equal Justice in the Courts.[26]

A 2021 assessment singled out Paul, Weiss among law firms as engaging in the most litigation, lobbying and transactional work for fossil fuel companies.[27][28] The company received the lowest grade in a 2021 scorecard of law firms on climate change actions. The firm had represented fossil fuel companies in 30 cases over the five preceding years.[27] In January and February 2020, students at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, New York University School of Law, and the University of Michigan Law School protested the firm's recruitment events over its representation of Exxon Mobil Corporation.[29][30][31][32]

In 2022, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison was a founding member of the Legal Alliance for Reproductive Rights, a coalition of United States law firms offering free legal services to people seeking and providing abortions in the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overruled Roe v. Wade.[33]

In November 2023, amid a wave of antisemitic incidents at elite U.S. law schools, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison was among a group of major law firms who sent a letter to top law school deans warning them that an escalation in incidents targeting Jewish students would have corporate hiring consequences. The letter said "We look to you to ensure your students who hope to join our firms after graduation are prepared to be an active part of workplace communities that have zero tolerance policies for any form of discrimination or harassment, much less the kind that has been taking place on some law school campuses."[34]

Notable representations[edit]

Paul, Weiss represents detainees held by the U.S. military at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. A number of the detainees went on a hunger strike to protest alleged inhumane conditions. In response, prison authorities force-fed detainees. Paul, Weiss attorneys filed an emergency application demanding information about the condition of the detainees. In a 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.[35]

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.[36]

Paul, Weiss represented the China Medical Technologies (CMED) Audit Committee in investigating an anonymous letter alleging possible illegal and fraudulent activities by management, prior to CMED being discovered to have been the subject of a $355 million fraud.[37][38][39][40][41][42][43]

Paul, Weiss issued the report in the Deflategate football inflation controversy in 2015.[44]

In 2016, Fox News hired the firm to conduct an internal investigation about Roger Ailes,[45] leading to the end of Ailes' career.[46]

Pro bono[edit]

In 2018, Paul, Weiss worked pro bono to try and find over 400 parents who were separated from their families at the southern border of the United States and then deported.[47] The work was part of the federal American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit, which was brought against the Trump administration over its family separation policy.[48] ACLU asked Paul, Weiss to head the committee that worked with three nonprofits to find the parents.[48] By November, almost all of the 400 deported parents had been found.[48]

In 2019, Pablo Fernandez was released from jail after being wrongfully convicted of murder.[49] He had served over twenty-four years in prison.[49] Lawyers from Paul, Weiss were his pro-bono defense team.[49]

Name partners[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Paul Weiss". Law. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ Scheiber, Noam; Eligon, John (January 27, 2019). "Elite Law Firm's All-White Partner Class Stirs Debate on Diversity". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  3. ^ "History of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison – FundingUniverse". Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Rosenberg, Rosalind (2017). Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-065645-4.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison". Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  6. ^ Newman, Roger K. (January 1, 2009). The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11300-6.
  7. ^ "Randolph E. Paul, Class of 1913, a Leading Member of the Firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison". Firm Founders, Partners and Leaders. January 1, 2000.
  8. ^ "Carolyn Agger (LL.B. 1938) – YLW". Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  9. ^ "The 2020 Pro Bono Scorecard: Average Hours and Commitment". The American Lawyer. July 6, 2020. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  10. ^ Perkins, Christine (April 4, 2017). "Counsel for the Situation: William T. Coleman Jr. '46 (1920 – 2017)". Harvard Law Today. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "THE MAN ASKING IRANSCAM'S TOUGH QUESTIONS Arthur Liman has been known to show up for a trial in a mismatched suit, but he is also the fellow whose testimony helped send Texaco into bankruptcy. - June 8, 1987". Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  12. ^ Barrett, Paul (July 29, 1997). "Paul Weiss Faces Future After Star Partner's Death". The Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ Rosenbaum, Leah. "Meet The Forgotten Woman Who Forever Changed The Lives Of LGBTQ+ Workers". Forbes. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "Sorensen, Theodore Chaikin ("Ted") |". Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  15. ^ Wetzler, Cynthia Magriel (April 23, 1995). "Theodore Sorensen Maintains Optimism (Published 1995)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  16. ^ a b "Former Homeland Security chief heads back to N.Y.-based Paul Weiss". Bizjournals. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Amir Efrati, You Say You Want a Big-Law Revolution, Take II, "Wall Street Journal", October 10, 2007,
  18. ^ Adam Liptak, In Students’ Eyes, Look-Alike Lawyers Don’t Make the Grade, New York Times, October 29, 2007,
  19. ^ Thomas Adcock and Zusha Elinson, Student Group Grades Firms On Diversity, Pro Bono Work, "New York Law Journal," October 19, 2007, [1]
  20. ^ a b Goldstein, Matthew (May 28, 2019). "Loretta Lynch, Former Attorney General, Is Joining a Top Law Firm Back in New York (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Paul Weiss Names More Diverse Partner Class After Past Blowback". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  22. ^ Scheiber, Noam; Eligon, John. "Elite Law Firm's All-White Partner Class Stirs Debate on Diversity". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  23. ^ Patrice, Joe (December 11, 2018). "Paul Weiss Press Release Captures Everything Broken About Biglaw In One Image". Above the Law. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  24. ^ Rhode, Deborah; Luban, David; Cummings, Scott; Engstrom, Nora (2020). Legal Ethics (Eighth ed.). Foundation Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-64242-689-2.
  25. ^ "Law Firms Call for Social Justice, Despite Own Diversity Issues". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  26. ^ "Jeh Johnson Tapped by New York Courts to Lead Racial Bias Review". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  27. ^ a b "Fossil fuel companies paying top law firms millions to 'dodge responsibility'". The Guardian. October 9, 2021. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  28. ^ Thomas, David (August 19, 2021). "Top law firms taking on more fossil fuel work as planet warms - report". Reuters. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  29. ^ Queen, Jack (February 12, 2020). "NYU Law Students Disrupt Paul Weiss Event Over Exxon Win," Law360.
  30. ^ Pontecorvo, Emily (February 10, 2020). "Calls for law firm to #DropExxon go national with law student boycott," Grist.
  31. ^ Irfan, Umair (January 16, 2020). "The surprising protest of Exxon’s law firm at Harvard Law," Vox.
  32. ^ Schachinger, Julia (February 19, 2020). "University Law Students protest Paul, Weiss recruiting event in support of #DropExxon campaign," The Michigan Daily.
  33. ^ Lancaster, Alaina (June 1, 2022). "20 Law Firms Offer Pro Bono Legal Services to Defend Abortion Rights". Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  34. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross; Mattu, Ravi; Warner, Bernhard; Kessler, Sarah; Merced, Michael J. de la; Hirsch, Lauren; Livni, Ephrat (November 2, 2023). "Law Firms Warn Universities About Antisemitism on Campus". The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2023.
  35. ^ Debra Burlingame; Thomas Joscelyn (March 15, 2010). "Gitmo's Indefensible Lawyers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
  36. ^ Randles, Jonathan (March 16, 2016). "Paul Weiss Missed Caesars Conflict, Examiner Says". Law360.
  37. ^ In Re China Medical Technologies, Inc., 522 B.R. 28 (2014),
  38. ^ Ryan, Lisa (April 30, 2015). "Paul Weiss Fights Med. Co. Liquidator’s Bid For Docs," Law360.
  39. ^ Scuria, Andrew (February 20, 2015). "Ch. 15 Liquidator Renews Push For Paul Weiss Docs," Law360.
  40. ^ "China Medical Technologies, Inc. Announces the Substantial Completion of an Independent Internal Investigation," AngloChinese Investments, July 30, 2009.
  41. ^ Coe, Abra (October 1, 2015). "Paul Weiss Must Pony Up Privileged Docs On Defunct Med Co.," Law360.
  42. ^ Michaels, Margarita (September 30, 2015) "Paul Weiss ordered to reveal privileged information from investigation on behalf of bankrupt Chinese medical company," Global Restructuring Review.
  43. ^ In Re: China Medical Technologies, Inc., Opinion and Order (S.D.N.Y. 2015).
  44. ^ 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.
  45. ^ "Report: Fox Retains High Profile Law Firm Paul, Weiss for Roger Ailes Investigation". July 12, 2016. Archived from the original on April 20, 2021.
  46. ^ Rutenberg, Jim; Protess, Ben; Steel, Emily (July 21, 2016). "Internal Inquiry Sealed the Fate of Roger Ailes at Fox". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 2, 2022.
  47. ^ Correal, Annie (November 21, 2018). "Why Big Law Is Taking On Trump Over Immigration (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  48. ^ a b c Correal, Annie (November 21, 2018). "Why Big Law Is Taking On Trump Over Immigration (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  49. ^ a b c Rosenberg, Rebecca (September 29, 2019). "Man wrongfully convicted of murder walks free after 24 years in jail". New York Post. Retrieved November 18, 2020.